What Is Detox?

Detox is a general term for the removal of toxins from the body. Regarding substance abuse, detox refers to the duration it takes the body to metabolize or process any alcohol or drugs present and consequently clearly their toxic influence.

A formal detox program can offer various interventions to help you clear your body of any unwanted substances safely and comfortably while managing acute withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, you can get the encouragement you need to pursue ongoing disorder treatment for your specific substance.

Types and Stages of Detox

Depending on the substance in question, your extent of physical dependence to it and your need for medically assisted techniques or lack thereof, you may undergo either of these detox programs:

  • Medically Supervised/Assisted Detox This treatment happens under the supervision of mental and medical health professionals. Competent medical professionals help ensure that you are safe and comfortable throughout the entire detox process, especially if you are at risk of experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms from sudden substance deprivation. Health professionals may administer medications to make the process easier and ward off intense drug cravings.
  • Clinically Managed/Social Detox This treatment is often short-term and follows a non-medical strategy. While some social detox facilities only offer a room for its patients to detox, others employ a more hands-on approach to treatment that may include professional support and peer encouragement during detox.

Regardless of the program you choose, your detox journey will likely follow these steps:

  • Evaluation During the evaluation phase, your provider will assess you for the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system through various tests, e.g. breath, urine or blood tests, then check your current state of mental health. Depending on the results of the assessment and your history of medical issues, your provider will decide the most suitable plan of action.
  • Stabilization This step will form the bulk of your detox process. It involves acclimatizing you to the detox program and providing the necessary psychological and medical support to treat your symptoms.
  • Developing Willingness for More Treatment The last step involves preparing you for a thorough treatment program since detox on its own is barely enough for addiction treatment. The health professionals will likely begin to familiarize you with the process of treatment and what to expect as your withdrawal symptoms subside during detox. Promoting further treatment helps to boost your prospects of sustained recovery after detox.

Who Needs Detox?

Detox is the most recommended initial step towards treatment for a broad spectrum of addicted individuals. Generally, anyone with a dependency on a particular substance can benefit from a detox program. Dependency refers to the body’s adaptation to persistently elevated intake of a specific substance such that the individual feels a strong urge to take the substance in question to achieve normal functioning.

When such a substance is withdrawn, the dependent individual will likely experience various uncomfortable and potentially lethal mental and physical symptoms. If you have adverse withdrawal experiences, limited home support and severe psychological or physical health issues, you will most likely require medically assisted detox.

Medically supervised detox is recommended for people with dependencies involving alcohol, prescription pain medication, sedative/hypnotic drugs like benzodiazepines and opioids like morphine and heroin. The more dependent you are to these substances, the more uncomfortable or potentially fatal your withdrawal symptoms will be.

Detox may not need close medical management for other substances with less dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Instead, detox in a social setting might be more appropriate.

How Long Should Detox Take?

There is no specific timeframe for completing a detox program. While some people complete the process in hours, others take days or weeks to clear the drugs from their bodies entirely. Some factors that determine the length of your detox process include the substance of abuse, your duration of use, specific goals, health condition and previous detox attempts.

What’s Next after Detox?

After a successful detox program, your health provider will likely link you to specific follow-up treatments depending on your mental health and substance use concerns. This is one of the most crucial steps in substance abuse treatment and paves the way for a successful recovery.

However, it does not imply complete treatment for drug dependence or addiction. Your provider will refer you to the most suitable treatment based on:

  • Your commitment to recovery
  • Evidence of co-occurring medical or mental health concerns
  • Your success during the detox program
  • The level of home support they can provide
  • Their ability to afford and provide different treatment programs

Depending on these factors, your provider will refer you to residential rehab, a support group, outpatient therapy or a halfway house/sober living home. You can complete these treatment options independently or simultaneously.

Ready to discuss the best options for detox and substance abuse treatment? Call our offices at 833-497-3812 to schedule an appointment and begin your path to recovery.