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For millions of people, the opioid epidemic isn?t just about the media headlines, but their own experience. Drug and alcohol addiction have reached epidemic proportions. Many people who want to quit may feel nervous at the thought of going to a rehab facility. However, the drug detox process and the treatment that follows can be administered on an outpatient basis as well by medical clinics, and even by your family doctor. For severe withdrawal symptoms and for certain types of drugs, medical supervision is necessary during detox.

An epidemic of addictions
The problem of drug and alcohol addiction has reached epidemic proportions, affecting millions of people and their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers. As of 2015, over 20.5 million Americans over the age of 12 had a substance abuse disorder. Of these, 2 million were addicted to prescription pain relievers and 591,000 heroin.
As a result, the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. is now drug overdoses. In 2015 alone, there were 52,404 lethal drug overdoses. Among the different types of drugs, opioid addictions are the leading cause of death. In 2015, 20,101 of all overdose deaths were due to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 were due to a heroin overdose. These numbers can?t convey the devastating impact of addictions and deaths due to overdoses on families and communities.

Deciding to get treatment
For those with a substance use addiction, deciding to get treatment can be a difficult choice. Sometimes they are under a court mandate or have received medical advice to undergo the drug detox process and rehab. In other cases, they may have been persuaded by family members or friends. More rarely, people choose to get treatment because they can see the mess their lives have become and they want to turn things around.
The detox process can also be intimidating, and it is necessary to go through it before beginning rehabilitation. Detox can be conducted in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and each has its pros and cons. In outpatient settings, it can be by administered by a family practice doctor or walk in clinics. Withdrawal can be a difficult process, with symptoms like goosebumps and fever indicating a more severe detox process.

The detox process and what to expect
The detox process is the first stage of any treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. During this time, the toxins are allowed to leave the body while withdrawal symptoms are monitored and managed. Severe withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even sometimes fatal. For some times of withdrawal, including for alcohol, opiate or benzodiazepine, medical supervision is necessary.
Outpatient detox can be less costly and gives the patient more flexibility. However, inpatient detox processes have the advantage of having medical personnel at hand in case of an emergency. The three stages of the detox process are evaluation, stabilization and finally the transition to treatment. Rehabilitation and treatment follow detox, and take anywhere from a few days to two weeks.

The problem of drug and alcohol addiction has reached epidemic proportions. The numbers of people addicted to drugs is in the tens of millions and accidental overdoses have become the leading cause of accidental death. The detox and rehabilitation process is a difficult one, but can be achieved with medical and family support.