Outpatient Drug Treatment

Outpatient Drug Treatment

outpatient drug treatment

Recall the first time you experimented with drugs or alcohol! Maybe it was due to peer pressure. Maybe you wanted to look cool. You always thought you were too smart to be “hooked” on drugs. You always believed you could quit having fun with drugs or alcohol whenever you wished. Little did you realize that your life would be taken over by addiction and turned on its head. Your education, career, health, relationships and finances have been battered and your future looks bleak!

The reason you are addicted to drugs or alcohol has everything to do with chemistry and nothing to do with your good intentions or will power. Addiction sets in when constant use of drugs and alcohol rewires the chemical pathways in your brain to sustain the addiction. Before you first used alcohol or drugs, recall that you felt a rush of pleasure when you saw delicious food, indulged in your hobbies, or thought of sex. That is because the brain released a pleasure neuro transmitter called dopamine in response to such stimuli. Drugs or alcohol stimulate the brain to release much larger quantities of dopamine than usual day-to-day activities. Over time your brain gets used to receiving a stimulus from drugs or alcohol to release large quantities of dopamine instead of releasing dopamine in response to daily activities. Now, previously pleasurable daily activities no longer seem pleasurable and stimulus from alcohol or drugs is “needed” to feel normal. This change in the chemical pathways serve to sustain addiction and make it a chronic disease, as the addicted individual now needs drugs or alcohol to just feel normal! That is why alcohol or drug treatment is needed as it is hard to just “give up” abusing substances.

Although dulled by drugs or alcohol, there is a persistent little voice in your head that keeps telling you that your life is spinning out of control and that you need help. However, you are apprehensive about taking that first step – you have to confide to your loved ones about your issue, although they likely know you do; you have to give up your trusted “companion” who has provided an escape as life’s problems came at you; you are afraid of withdrawal, which you know is painful; you are unsure of where to begin alcohol or drug treatment, as it all seems so intimidating.

The old adage holds true: Begin at the beginning! First take your loved ones into confidence and enlist their support. You will be surprised at how supportive they are once they know you are willing to enter alcohol or drug treatment. Second, work with your loved ones to find a facility that provides good addiction treatment. The clinical team should be led by an ASAM certified physician which means the physician is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. This will ensure that you experience minimal withdrawal symptoms as you go through the alcohol or drug detoxification process. There should also be a psychiatrist on staff to address any mental health issues that surface or re-surface during treatment. The alcohol or drug treatment team should also provide supportive therapy – cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT and Motivational Interviewing, or MI. This will help address psychological issues, and provide coping skills to deal with the loss of a “go to” coping mechanism (drugs or alcohol) and relapse prevention techniques. Treatment should continue after alcohol or drug detox and the longer the length of treatment, the better, as addiction is a chronic disease.

You are also apprehensive about alcohol or drug treatment, as you have seen many of your friends being sent away to inpatient treatment far removed from their living environment – sometimes to another state. While it is true alcohol and drug detoxification, the most acute phase of addiction treatment, was delivered exclusively in an outpatient setting in the past, outpatient detoxification now offers a safer and more effective option. For a few years now, ambulatory, or outpatient detoxification has been licensed for alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines and anesthetics. It delivers better outcomes relative to inpatient detoxification due to better integration with the patient’s home environment. Find out how outpatient drug treatment could make accessing treatment less daunting by scheduling a substance abuse evaluation, if you are looking at options for drug rehabilitation or alcohol rehabilitation in New Jersey.

Like for all other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension or even contagious HIV, treatment is almost always provided on an outpatient basis. Outpatient alcohol and drug treatment allows you to access high-quality treatment while living at home. As treatment integrates your home living environment, the learning that happens in therapy and drug counseling sessions can be applied to the activities that make up your daily routine and tested. The duration of treatment depends on your individual needs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA recommends up to 30 hours a week of programming. In case you experience a crisis at home, outpatient detox treatment providers are reachable 24X7.

Drug Counseling

Group and individual substance abuse counseling is an integral part of rehabilitation. SAMHSA lists various types of therapy to achieve long-term sobriety and may include the following: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, group counseling, medication, case management services, lectures and educational programs and, most importantly, family support. Some specialized forms of treatment:

  • Partial Hospitalization Programs: This is suitable for individuals with severe medical conditions or psychological issues. Usually, people enrolled in these programs meet for 3-5 days each week for periods of four hours or more in a hospital or clinic but can go home at night.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs: Patients receive intensive treatment for a minimum of nine hours a week and typically meet 3-5 days a week. The frequency of the sessions decreases as one progresses and achieves milestones in the rehab program. Such programs are suitable for individuals with severe issues, co-occurring or dual disorders, or those who have multiple relapses but do not require round-the-clock supervision.

Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Rehab in NJ

Outpatient alcohol and drug rehab is gaining popularity due to its higher efficacy. The advent of new medications over the past few years that address withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol more effectively has played a major role. The second most important factor, in our view, is that science has proven that addiction is a chronic disease as it causes changes in the brain. These changes take years to revert back to normal and patients cannot be quarantined in an inpatient setting for this long a period of time! They have to learn to live in their home environment through therapy. Other chronic diseases such as diabetes HIV or hypertension hardly ever call for inpatient treatment, let alone being carted off to far off locales.

Inpatient alcohol and drug treatment is based on the belief that addiction is a behavioral problem and the individual involved needs to be isolated from his/her living environment in order to learn modified behaviors. This is akin to incarceration and reduces motivation to seek treatment. Outpatient detoxification, on the other hand, reduces the stigma associated with addiction as it normalizes addiction to a chronic disease. Ambulatory detoxification also increases access to treatment as individuals afflicted by the disease of addiction often find it difficult to “drop” their lives and go away for treatment. This is especially true for homemakers with school going children or individuals with high pressure jobs such as lawyers.

drug rehab in NJ

“Reach NJ” is an initiative launched by Gov. Christie (now getting an overhaul by the Murphy administration with a $5 million budget) to help find facilities that provide treatment for addiction. It is generally preferable to find facilities that are in-network with your health insurance provider as costs to you are likely to be the lowest possible. One such facility is Center for Network Therapy (RecoveryCNT.com) that is in-network with all major private health insurance providers in the North East.

Find a center close to you and avail of addiction treatment tailored to your needs and personal circumstances. Call us now and we can help! CNT has 3 addiction treatment centers in New Jersey.

The Dangers Of COVID-19 And Substance Disorders

The Dangers Of COVID-19 And Substance Disorders

As the coronavirus pandemic threatens our way of life, everything is changing and everyone is adapting. Remember, individuals suffering from substance use disorders are at higher risk of contracting Coronavirus due to comorbid conditions and urban/suburban demographics. If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, it is critical that treatment is accessed immediately!


  • Opioids, meth, alcohol, smoking/vaping, etc. can suppress respiratory function, restrict blood vessels and aggravate respiratory distress caused by COVID-19.
  • Risk of overdose is greater, as life-saving measures such as CPR or the administration of naloxone may not be as effective.


Individuals who need urgent withdrawal management or detoxification services may be unable or unwilling to go inpatient due to a higher perceived risk of infection. Luckily, there is a more effective outpatient option for detoxification from alcohol, anesthetics, benzos and opiates.


The Center for Network Therapy is the first licensed ambulatory or outpatient detoxification program (all substances). Outpatient detox works better due to the integration of the patient’s living environment into treatment, customization of medication protocols and longer length of stay. CNT has 3 locations – West Orange, Middlesex and Freehold. We adhere to CDC hygiene standards during the ongoing pandemic. CNT is in-network with all major health insurance plans – Aetna, AmeriHealth, Cigna, Horizon BCBS (EPO, HMO, PPO), BCBS family, United Healthcare/Optum/Oxford, MagnaCare, Qualcare, Oscar, etc.


All of CNT’s locations are open and accepting patients immediately. Please call now for admission today: 732 484 9661.


Exploring Optimal Approaches to Treat Addiction to Alcohol or Drugs

Exploring Optimal Approaches to Treat Addiction to Alcohol or Drugs

Drugs Addiction

Alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency is one of the most significant issues still plaguing our modern society. The excessive consumption of or dependency on alcohol can give rise to many social and personal problems. Over the long term, it can have significant detrimental effects on the mind and body. Individuals addicted to alcohol or those who abuse alcohol face several issues due to their addiction, and yet the biggest challenge they face is when it comes to quitting alcohol. This is because quitting alcohol is not just about kicking a bad habit, it involves putting your entire system through what is known as alcohol withdrawal.

If you or somebody you know is planning on quitting alcohol, you should be aware that you’re in for a bit of a challenge. Before you opt for alcohol detox or rehab of any sort, you should be aware of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and how to seek appropriate medical help so that you do not experience seizures or stroke caused by withdrawal.

Understanding alcohol withdrawal

Let’s first start with the basics and then dive deeper into the concept of withdrawal. In simple terms, alcohol withdrawal can be defined as the changes your entire system goes through when you quit drinking. The most important thing to understand here is that even though alcohol consumption appears to have a temporary effect on your body, its impact can last for years and can potentially modify the way your system functions and behaves. This is because alcohol affects your central nervous system. It primarily acts as a depressant and suppresses some significant neurotransmitters in your brain. The result is that you end up feeling relaxed and more at ease.

However, excessive alcohol consumption gets you used to the depressant effect. You develop a dependency on it over time and this is the most damaging aspect of alcohol abuse. However, if you suddenly stop consuming alcohol, your neurotransmitters are kicked into overdrive. Your body struggles to adjust to the change and you will end up experiencing numerous physical and mental effects. It is this readjustment phase that is referred to as alcohol withdrawal. This can be very uncomfortable physically and carries the risk of seizures or even stroke.

Here, it’s also important to understand that withdrawal could work differently for different people. One size does not fit all and there are no simple answers to questions like what are the exact withdrawal symptoms, how long will they last and so on. It all depends on several factors like level of addiction, frequency of consumption, age, sex, lifestyle, etc. For many people, the sheer thought of undergoing withdrawal scares them away from quitting. In general, there is a fairly low level of awareness about the issue and, as a result, people either don’t quit at all or randomly go cold turkey and then face the adverse effects of withdrawal. A bad withdrawal experience often prompts people to start drinking again so it is important for you to educate yourself well before embarking on this journey.

Symptoms of withdrawal

While withdrawal symptoms might manifest themselves very differently for different people, here are a few pointers that should act as guidelines for you and give you an idea of what to expect in the days to come. Withdrawal symptoms can range from something minor like hand tremors and palpitations to life-threatening conditions like delirium tremens. Seizures, or even stroke. The first 48 hours are the most crucial though it is important for you to keep monitoring yourself throughout the withdrawal process. Let’s break down some of the common symptoms for you –

First 24 hours

● Nausea

● Feelings of anxiety

● Restlessness

● Tremors

● Dizziness

● Feelings of agitation

24 to 48 hours

This is the most crucial phase of withdrawal since it’s also the time when the most severe symptoms might kick in. Alcohol cravings reach a crescendo and your body struggles to cope with the changes. This is also the time when many heavy drinkers might end up facing what is known as acute alcohol withdrawal. Here are some of the ways in which withdrawal will manifest itself at this stage –

● Perspiration

● Hallucinations

● Spikes in blood pressure

● Raised body temperatures

● Seizures

● Delirium tremens

Delirium tremens is a serious condition which needs immediate medical attention. Besides these symptoms, it can also cause irregular blood flow in the brain leading to seizures or stroke.

In general, the worst manifestations of withdrawal usually resolve within five to six days. Again, it all depends on the level of addiction, age, and other such factors. In extreme cases, some people experience what is known as acute withdrawal symptoms.

Acute withdrawal symptoms

Acute withdrawal can occur even weeks after quitting alcohol and can be potentially life-threatening. Severe symptoms like delirium tremens and seizures are common and require immediate attention. It is not possible to deal with acute symptoms without medical treatment. This is also why heavy drinkers and those who mix drugs with alcohol are advised to opt for medically-supported withdrawal.

Let’s explore the treatment options for alcohol withdrawal and see how medication can play an important role in it.

Alcohol withdrawal treatment

Alcohol withdrawal is a serious and complicated issue, one that is regularly discussed in medical circles. During this phase of withdrawal, one needs to not only deal with the symptoms which can be potentially life-threatening but also ensure that the patient doesn’t slide back into drinking as a result of those symptoms. There is always a fear of acute withdrawal symptoms kicking in as well. Which is why WHO and the NHS have put in place specific guidelines when it comes to dealing with something like this.

Supported withdrawal

First, let’s begin by diving deeper and understanding the concept of supported or medically supported withdrawal. It is a well-known fact that alcohol withdrawal will cause drastic changes in your body and will affect your day-to-day life. Besides changing the way your brain reacts and functions, it also results in a number of deficiencies that have to be addressed to avoid further complications. To this end, doctors recommend a course of medication to go along with your withdrawal process. Why is this necessary? Let’s explore.

Alcohol withdrawal completely throws your body out of balance. This includes pulse rate, base temperature, blood pressure, and more. A doctor treating alcohol withdrawal will first seek to stabilize all these fluctuating physical aspects. The aim is to keep your system running as normally as possible. Maintaining water balance in the body is also a very important factor. Withdrawal can cause a number of issues like vomiting and diarrhea which further lead to acute dehydration.

In such cases, intravenous fluids might be required to maintain the smooth functioning of the liver and kidneys. Electrolyte imbalances can also occur from dehydration: reports indicate that low levels of magnesium can, in fact, give rise to seizures and delirium. IV fluids can, once again, help address this problem. Alcoholics are also at risk of developing something known as Wernicke’s Syndrome. This is a condition that manifests in the form of extreme confusion, weakening of muscles, and ocular abnormalities. This mainly happens due to the depletion of thiamine in the body. Most doctors recommend starting the withdrawal period with a dose of thiamine with subsequent lower doses at regular intervals.

Treatment options

However, don’t let all this medical jargon scare you. The aim of detox or assisted withdrawal is to provide the patient with comfort and care. All you need to do is follow medical instructions, take your medication and focus on the healing process. What’s more, you can also choose your method of treatment and opt between outpatient treatment or inpatient care. Let’s explore both alternatives.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient care for alcohol withdrawal is a more recent trend, based on the belief that addiction is a disease and not a behavioral issue. In the past, people had no other option but to book themselves or their family members into rehab, as addiction was viewed as a behavioral problem. Now, more and more people are opting for outpatient care and it has proved to be remarkably effective. Some reports indicate that almost 70% of people receiving withdrawal treatment are doing so in an outpatient capacity.

In general, no specific statistics exist to indicate whether this form of treatment is better or worse than getting admitted to a treatment facility; and, in general, outpatient care is easier and more convenient. Besides, it also helps patients stay committed since they don’t need to isolate themselves from their friends or family.

There are no specific criteria used to determine whether or not somebody qualifies for outpatient care. More recently, only people who do not have a modicum of family support are recommended for inpatient detox. Even individuals with a history of seizures or delirium tremens, can choose to receive outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment works better when the patient has some support at home. The family can also monitor their physical symptoms and ensure they are safe.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is the traditional option when it comes to alcohol withdrawal, though it is not necessary for most people. Only those people who do not have any familial support need inpatient treatment. Also, people experiencing active delirium tremens or seizures may be good candidates for inpatient treatment. In an inpatient treatment facility, patients are given the same medical detox protocols as in an outpatient setting.

Support at home is not needed as the patient is isolated from his living environment and monitored 24 hours a day. The withdrawal phase is not easy and monitoring helps. Inpatient treatment isolates the patient from external influences. Although for a temporary period of time.

Coping and living with alcohol withdrawal

While medical intervention is absolutely necessary, dealing with alcohol withdrawal calls for several significant lifestyle changes. While your first step should be to seek medical advice, these pointers could help you deal with your alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Stay hydrated

The importance of staying hydrated cannot be overstated when it comes to dealing with alcohol withdrawal. During the withdrawal period, your body constantly loses fluids and essential minerals along with it. So make sure you are not only drinking plenty of water but also loading up on electrolytes. Instead of opting for electrolyte-rich juices or drinks, you can always consume fruits by including them in your daily diet.

Prepare for the cravings

Alcohol is a highly addictive substance. If you are at the point where you are facing withdrawal symptoms, you should know that you will constantly crave alcohol. It goes beyond a simple mental craving and becomes an overarching physiological need akin to thirst, hunger or the need to sleep. Be prepared for the cravings and have your strategy in place beforehand. Many people take up hobbies to keep them distracted, while others prefer to surround themselves with friends or family.

If you feel you cannot do it by yourself, seek out the help of counselors. These counselors will handhold you through your withdrawal process and you will always have somebody to call in times of intense cravings. Whatever method you feel will work for you, make sure you have a plan in place well in advance.

Identify somebody you can count on

Dealing with alcohol withdrawal should never be a solo effort. Find a close friend or family member who you can rely on and let them handhold you through this journey. Confide in them and don’t be ashamed to share everything you are going through. They can not only help you through the journey but also act as an emergency contact in case you feel you might start drinking again. Very often, isolation and loneliness are the main causes of people giving up on their detox process.

Seek group therapy

AA meetings are an essential part of the recovery process. Surround yourself with people who are undergoing the same ordeal. Hear their stories and share your own. This will make you feel less lonely. On the other hand, this also helps instill a sense of community and common purpose. Alcoholics and people suffering from withdrawal often feel alienated and misunderstood.

Group therapy sessions help them to form a bond with other such people – and an individual struggle turns into a group effort. Many community centers offer self-help groups for people suffering from a dependence on alcohol. Go to a meeting and try to participate. Be vocal about your struggle and don’t be afraid to talk about the problems you face on a day-to-day basis. This will also help you deal with your cravings through positive reinforcement within the support group.

Avoid triggers

Every recovering alcoholic or person suffering through withdrawal will have certain significant triggers that might push them to consume alcohol. For some people, it could be something as simple as hanging out with a particular group of friends on weekends, while for others, stress could be an important trigger. You need to ask yourself one simple question – when do you feel like drinking the most? Then, make a list of all the things that might push you to have a drink and avoid them completely. If you have a social group that insists on drinking regularly, politely decline to spend time with them. If you know that work or personal stress might push you towards drinking, you need to find new ways of dealing with those stressors. Again, having a friend or family member who you can rely on can be of great value.

Meditate and exercise

While this might sound like very generic advice, meditation can help calm your body’s agitation during the withdrawal process. Through guided meditation, you will be able to ease your breathing, calm your heart rate, and become more mindful of your system. Exercise, too, can positively impact your body during withdrawal. The release of endorphins after a workout can help negate a lot of the cravings. This is why many people choose to take long walks to calm their restless systems.

Simple exercises will also help your body heal from alcohol abuse. Setting a regular exercise routine is always recommended by doctors and is of special importance when it comes to coping with withdrawal.

Helping someone deal with alcohol withdrawal

If somebody you know is dealing with alcohol withdrawal or seeking to quit drinking, there are many ways in which you can be of assistance. First and foremost, urge them to seek professional help. The detox process will be more successful if guided by a medical professional and less dangerous. You can offer to act as a companion through the withdrawal process and be their point of contact. This might mean giving them a lot of your time and being available whenever they need you. You will have to understand that most individuals suffering from addiction cannot face withdrawal alone so it’s always a good idea to learn as much about the process as you can so you can give them the best possible support.

Alcohol withdrawal might be a painful and sometimes long process. But it is a step in the direction of a stronger and healthier life. If you are thinking about quitting alcohol, you should know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to seek help and always prepare for the worst.


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