Detoxification Considerations for Certain Populations

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Much like therapeutic and counseling strategies in recovery, detoxification is not a one size fits all treatment protocol. As stated in previous articles concerning the subject, the detoxification process is an integral part of recovery in its earliest stages. Detoxification is the controlled and safe environment of the rehabilitation facility, clinic or similar medical setting, detoxification helps rid the body of the toxins they have accumulated in the body after long periods of chronic substance abuse. However, there are certain considerations that need to be taken into account when working with certain populations within the recovery demographic.

In the Quick Guide for Clinicians regarding detoxification and substance abuse treatment published by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are four such groups that are highlighted as needed special considerations in regards to the detoxification process.

Adolescent Detoxification Therapy

One of those groups is adolescents. While they drink less volume wise in comparison to adults, adolescents are more likely to imbibe large quantities in short periods of time. It is important that medical staff is aware of potentially escalating alcohol levels in the bloodstream. Also, adolescents are more likely to mix several drugs with alcohol and not know the dosages they had consumed. Adolescents are also likely to hide their substance use from both parents, medical personnel and treatment staff.  Being able to relate to teens on their level, especially in the use of language and slang, may help open communication which will hopefully lead to positive outcomes.

Detoxification Therapy Groups for Families

Another group identified is parents with dependent children. Children of parents who are receiving detoxification treatments will need a safe place to stay. Treatment staff will need to secure that safe environment for those children, whether it is with supportive family or friends or through a temporary childcare arrangement. If there is uncertainty regarding the status of care for children, there should be a referral or consultation done by the social services staff at the treatment facility.

Domestic Violence Groups

Victims of domestic violence are another group that has special considerations when entering the detoxification process. Upon intake, staff should be able to recognize the signs of domestic violence and have a plan in place to ensure the safety of the patient. Staff that is trained in domestic violence issues need to work with the patient to establish a solid long-term safety plan or at least a solid referral to another qualified agency should be made.  Information concerning the patient should be kept confidential at the facility and the abuser should not be allowed to be in contact with the abused person while in treatment.

The fourth group identified are culturally diverse patients. The most important consideration with this group is cultural sensitivity. Expectations of detoxification and healthcare may vary widely across different cultural groups. Social structures, as well as how the community is structured, varies among various cultural groups. Treatment staff needs to be aware of avoiding labeling the patient through the lens of his or her own culture. Emphasizing the race or ethnicity of the patient can also be a detriment to quality care.

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