Preparing for Addiction Treatment
& What to Expect from the Treatment Process

Making the decision to seek professional help is never easy. In asking for help you are admitting to yourself that you have a problem you can’t solve on your own, which can be difficult to come to terms with. Rest assured, once you take this step the most difficult part of the process is over. At Guardian IOP we understand how difficult it can be to come to terms with the fact that drinking or drugging is no longer working for you. Many of us have been exactly where you are now. The good news is, recovery is always possible, regardless of how defeated you might feel in the present moment.

Once you make the decision to seek help, which steps should you take to prepare for addiction recovery? It can be scary to commit to something you don’t know very much about. At Guardian IOP we are available to answer any questions you might have while walking you through the addiction treatment process step by step. For more information on preparing for addiction recovery, contact us today.

Is Addiction Treatment Right for Me?

How do you know whether or not addiction treatment is right for you? Because addiction is a progressive condition, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as you recognize an issue. However, because addiction and denial frequently go hand-in-hand, it can be difficult to self-diagnose a substance use issue.

Signs & Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders

If you are still trying to figure out whether or not addiction recovery is right for you, there is a list of diagnostic criteria laid out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (also known as the DSM-V). If you have more than two of these criteria, there is a good chance that some degree of professional treatment has become necessary.

These criteria are as follows:

  1. Taking a substance in larger quantities than you meant to for longer periods of time than intended.
  2. Trying to quit the substance on your own but being unable to do so.
  3. Spending a significant amount of time obtaining the substance, using the substance, and recovering from its effects (for example, nursing a hangover for a full day after binge drinking).
  4. Experiencing frequent cravings for your substance of choice.
  5. Failing to fulfill personal responsibilities and obligations because of your drug or alcohol use.
  6. Experiencing issues in your interpersonal relationships as a direct consequence of your drinking or drug use (concern from family members, frequent fights with a spouse, frustrated coworkers, etc).
  7. Neglecting activities and hobbies you previously enjoyed.
  8. Engaging in more risk-taking activities as a result of your substance use (like driving while intoxicated or engaging in promiscuous sex).
  9. Continuing to use your substance of choice despite a worsening physical or psychological issue.
  10. Developing a physical tolerance, meaning more of the substance is required in order for the desired effects to be achieved.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when substance use is stopped abruptly.

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Getting Ready for Addiction Treatment

Once you determine that professional help has become a necessity, the next step is choosing the right level of care for your personal needs. In the vast majority of cases, a short stay in an inpatient detox center comes as a recommended first step. In medical detox, you undergo drug or alcohol withdrawal in a safe and structured environment under the close care of a team of licensed medical professionals. Once you have been physically stabilized you will transition into the next appropriate level of care, which might be inpatient addiction treatment or an outpatient program depending on your needs. If you have been struggling with a moderate or severe substance use disorder or if you have an underlying, co-occurring issues (like anxiety, depression, unresolved trauma or a behavioral addiction), entering a residential rehab program for between 30 and 90 days will likely come recommended.

At Guardian IOP, we offer a comprehensive and effective outpatient treatment program, which can serve as a step-down level of care for those who have recently completed inpatient treatment or as a standalone treatment option. How do you know which level of care is right for you? Our Treatment Advisors are standing by — as soon as you reach out, we will conduct a brief pre-assessment to help you determine whether our IOP program is the right fit.

Our Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services Include


What Should I Bring to Drug & Alcohol Rehab?

If you make the decision to enter a residential treatment program, what should you take with you? What are you allowed to bring along, and what is better left at home?

preparing for a life of addiction recovery

As a general rule of thumb, only bring along the necessities. Some examples of what to bring to drug and alcohol rehab include:

  • Comfortable clothing; bring along clothing without any graphics or offensive words. Be sure to pack some athletic clothing as well, seeing as many residential rehabs offer clients the opportunity to go to the gym or participate in other recreational activities.
  • Bring along a journal and writing utensils, but leave all electronics at home. Most rehab centers do not allow their clients to access their cell phones in an attempt to reduce outside distractions and allow for full focus on recovery.
  • If you are currently taking any medications, bring those along — but expect the clinical staff to hold onto whatever medication you bring and administer it as needed.
  • Bring along toiletries, including toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, a hair brush, etc. Avoid bringing perfume, cologne, mouthwash, or any other alcohol-containing product.

Keep in mind the fact that you will be engaged in intensive therapy and group workshops for the majority of your stay in drug and alcohol rehab. You will not have an excessive amount of downtime, so you don’t need to worry about entertaining yourself. You might choose to bring along a book to read in the evenings, though outside literature often needs to be approved by the treatment team. If you have any additional questions about what to bring to rehab, contact us today.

What Should I Expect After Rehab?

Once you complete medical detox and inpatient treatment, you will be faced with several options. First of all, you can continue your treatment journey and enter into a step-down level of care like OP, PHP or IOP. You might choose to continue with individual therapy and stay engaged in a 12 Step program of your choosing while living in a sober living home for several months. The good news is, you will not have to make this decision on your own. At Guardian IOP we are happy to help our clients determine the next step on their personal journeys of addiction recovery. Because everyone is different, no two journeys will look exactly the same. We cater to the individual needs of each client while setting them up for long-term success in sobriety.

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IOP, PHP & Aftercare

Most people who complete residential rehab will transition directly into a partial hospitalization program or an outpatient treatment program in order to continue with therapy and addiction education as they begin to navigate independent living.

preparing for a life of addiction recovery

At Guardian IOP we offer a flexible outpatient treatment program in Florida and New Jersey, ideal for those who are looking for increased accountability and continued support. While you’re in residential rehab, your clinical team will help you develop a personalized aftercare plan which will include IOP and other components which are essential to continued sobriety. However, not all of our clients come directly from inpatient treatment. IOP works as a standalone treatment option in some cases; for example, if you are struggling with a mild substance use disorder and no underlying issues, or if you work a full-time job, take care of dependents, or have another obligation you cannot easily step away from.

Benefits of IOP

There are many benefits associated with intensive outpatient treatment, whether you utilize IOP as a standalone treatment option or as a way to continue with therapy after rehab.

These benefits include:

  • Flexibility that you would not find in a residential inpatient treatment setting.
  • Increased accountability by way of regular drug testing.
  • Continued therapeutic intervention; clients are able to dive deeper into the emotional and mental barriers that have prevented long-term sobriety in the past.
  • Ongoing development of relapse prevention skills.
  • Life skills training, which includes vocational training and educational assistance.

If you would like to learn more about the services provided by Guardian IOP, contact us today.

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    Contact Us Today to Learn More

    If you or someone you love has been struggling with a substance use disorder of any kind, Guardian IOP is available to help. Our Treatment Advisors are always available to answer questions and to help you or your loved one get started with our simple and straightforward admissions process. As soon as you make the decision to reach out for help, we will be there. During our initial phone call we conduct a brief pre-assessment which helps our clinical team determine which combination of treatment methods are going to be the most beneficial for each unique case. We also offer a free, no obligation insurance benefit check for those who are looking into potential coverage options. If you or your loved one is not currently covered by a major national provider or regional provider in New Jersey or Florida, we offer additional options including self-pay and private pay. Once the finer details are sorted out we help arrange local travel to one of our facilities, which are located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Hoboken, New Jersey and Delray Beach, Florida. All you have to do is make the initial phone call and we will take care of the rest. Contact us today to begin.

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    Anna-Barrett

    Clinically reviewed for accuracy by our Executive Director:

    Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.