It's a scary word for some people. Some think detox and see themselves bathed in sweat and writhing in agony as they rid their body of an alcohol or drug addiction.
Detoxification is not an easy process, but the doctors, counselors and staff at Willingway want people suffering from alcohol or drug dependency to know there is help. And there is kindness.
Willingway in Statesboro has built its reputation as one of the premier alcoholism and drug dependency treatment centers in the nation. Willingway has treated more than 20,000 patients since 1971.
(Detox patients who come to Willingway) will be treated with kindness and care," said Dr. Shawn Williams, the Medical Director and Director of Medical Education at Willingway. "They'll be treated by a group of people who not only understand addiction from the textbooks, the literature and the science behind it, but (professionals) who also understand it personally. It's affected their lives in some way. I think that makes us uniquely qualified to give a certain extra special care to these patients because we understand personally."
Lasting recovery from addiction begins by taking the first crucial step. At Willingway, the Open Door Program is a medical detoxification program that offers individuals the help they need to begin recovering from addiction.
Experts agree that patients must be provided a safe, comfortable detox program by qualified addiction specialists. Willingway uses a team of addiction professionals who work with individuals to achieve a true mental/physical health baseline. Evaluations and assessments for further treatment options after detoxification are provided as a part of the program.
It is not until after the detox program, that mental health and other issues can truly be diagnosed and then treated properly, said Autumn Altamirano, Extended Care Program Manager at Willingway.
In fact, many detox patients, before they come to Willingway, are being treated with various drugs to address conditions that may or may not be directly connected to their drug or alcohol addiction.
"(When they) come to our facility, (we say) let's just treat your alcoholism or your addiction and let's see what happens," said Autumn Altamirano, Extended Care Program Manager at Willingway. "They have been told for many years that they have all these different things wrong with them and that this medication is needed or that medication is needed. (When they are free of physical addiction) they find that they are a lot happier because they're not chained to getting their medications."
Again, a complete detoxification program that cleanses the body of drugs or alcohol is the first step an addict must take towards recovery, Dr. Williams said.
"My primary concern with (detox) patients is that they are safe and that they are comfortable," he said. "At Willingway, preserving (a patient's) dignity by keeping them safe and comfortable are our primary concerns in our detox program."
This article is sponsored by Willingway, which was founded in Statesboro by Dr. John and Dot Mooney in 1971. Dot and John's four children: Dr. Al J. Mooney III, Jimmy Mooney, Dr. Bobby Mooney, and Carol Lind Mooney remain on the Board of Trustees and are involved in the operations of the rehab center. You can contact Willingway at (912) 764-6236 or (800) 242-9455.