These days, it can feel more difficult than ever to obtain quality and timely urgent medical care, especially if you’re struggling with addiction. It’s not like most people feel comfortable walking into their local family practice center and asking for a detox doctor, and even if they did, urgent medical care associated with addiction comes with a stigma few can easily shake off.

The thing is, if this situation describes you, you’re not alone. More people than ever are in need of urgent medical care related to addiction, particularly if you are looking to detox quickly and safely. Alcoholism is the third killer when it comes to life-threatening diseases in the U.S., and fully 80% of modern heroin users started out on prescription pain medicine. This dependency on heroin and pain medicine leads to a vicious cycle of opioid addiction that ensnares 23% of users, and trying to detox alone can be dangerous. Severe alcoholics, for example, can suffer from Delerium Tremens (or DTs), a problem with the nervous system that can occur as soon as two days after an alcoholic’s last drink, and can lead to heart failure and death.

The picture we are painting is one of an epidemic, and that’s why it’s so important to take that first step and reach out for the urgent medical care you need today. Nowadays, many family practice doctors are well-versed in issues related to addiction, detox, and rehabilitation, and can start you down the road to recovery. Generally, detox must happen before true “rehab” can start, and so a good doctor will monitor this process for you and will help you make the arrangements necessary in the meantime.

Medically monitored detox, especially for severe addicts, is crucial to the recovery process. Programs are typically three, five, or seven days depending on the condition of the patient. A safe, comfortable environment is provided to help ease the patient through the rough withdrawal symptoms and controlling mechanisms are put in place to monitor heart, liver, and kidney health. Pain management is also a critical part of medically monitored detox, but more than that, the emotional support and anxiety reduction that comes with having someone by your side, even just a trained professional, is invaluable.

If you are interested in this type of urgent medical care, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Hotline at 1 — 800 — 662 — HELP (4357). SAMHSA’s helpline is free, confidential, and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The trained call operators can link you to drug treatment information in your area and give you referrals so that you can begin your journey with a reputable detox professional.