Drug and Alcohol Detox

What Is Drug Detox? Frequently Asked Question

Drug detox is the process of eliminating drug or alcohol substances from the body. It is a medical intervention practice that carefully helps a drug addict through the experience of serious withdrawal. Detox is the first stage of drug cessation. It’s simply a means to end substance dependency and thus not an end in itself. After a successful detoxification, an addiction recovery patient enters and stays in a treatment plan until when the addiction stops and he gains sobriety.

Two Types Of Drug Detoxification

There are basically two types of drug detox. These are; medically-managed detoxification and non-medical withdrawal.

Medically-Managed Detoxification

This is the detox process where the drug recovery patient is provided with medical supervision and the doctors use specific medications to help ease the painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

In some cases, these withdrawal symptoms can be fatal and can result to death if specialized medication is not provided. Therefore, medically managed detoxification is the most preferred type of drug detox.

Non-Medical Withdrawal

This is the type of drug detox that does not involve medical supervision and the user is not provided with any medical assistance in the whole detox process. This approach is not highly effective and thus not recommended by most health care professionals. Considering the fact that withdrawal from drugs or alcohol can be very fatal, non-medical withdrawal is therefore not the best type of detox.

Therefore, in this content, we are going to discuss more about medically – managed detoxification since it the safest, healthiest and most effective drug detox method that guarantees high success rates.

Is Drug Detox A Drug Treatment?

No. drug detox is basically not drug treatment. Drug detox in itself does not guarantee complete drug recovery. Drug detox is the first stage for a successful recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Drug addiction recovery is a series of three key stages which are: detoxification, rehabilitation and maintenance. The key purpose of a drug detox is to flush out toxins and substance elements from the body. It is recommended for primary treatment since it is that period of time where the body is allowed to metabolize any drugs in the system and thus clear their toxic effects.

What Is Drug Detox All About? What Everyone Must Know About Drug Detox

If an individual is physically dependent to a drug, drug detox is the best intervention. Drug detoxification incorporates the treatment and the experience of drug cessation which is marked by a sequence of withdrawal syndromes for acute overdose.

For acute drug dependency, deciding to finally do a drug detox can be very overwhelming. If you are a drug dependent individual, many questions come across your mind whenever you think of drug detox. Fears of experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms are quite obvious. You may wonder whether you can manage to stay sober for long and whether it is really going to be worth the cost going to a rehab centre. Many people feel like life will be no better without drugs. All these are normal concerns and to overcome them, you need great support and help from addiction recovery specialists.

Which Is The Actual Length Of A Drug Detox?

There is no specific timeline of the length or duration of a drug detox. Detox varies depending on the substance you are addicted to and the duration of use. Normally, detox takes three to ten days.

What To Expect During Drug Detox

It is of great importance that you know what to expect during drug detox for you to be physically and psychologically prepared before you embark on a rapid detox program. This helps ease the pressure and anxiety to help you overcome any difficulty during detox.

Let’s Not Sugar Coat It – Detox Is Rough!

Any substance addiction can be very harmful to your body. During the period you stay in an addiction, you are not able to stick to a healthy diet and so your body becomes depleted of proper nutrition, leaving you less nourished. The body becomes so dependent on the substance you are using and therefore the withdrawal symptoms can be very severe.

Therefore, psychological burden of detox is obvious due to the possibility of the adverse physical, mental and emotional effects of the withdrawal.  Withdrawal syndromes normally occur when the body completely stops or receives less dosage of a substance it has been consuming for a long time.

Due to the complexity of withdrawal, consult medical professionals before you begin any course of detoxification. Consulting a detox specialist is the safest and healthiest way to addiction recovery. Medical supervision is required in throughout the entire process.

Effects Of Detoxification And Why Medically Managed Detoxification Is Recommended

During detoxification, uncomfortable and life-threatening withdrawal syndromes can be experienced. Due to the undesirable effects of withdrawal as discussed below, seeking help from medical experts proficient in detoxification treatment is a great idea.

Detoxification process incorporates medication to manage nasty withdrawal symptoms so as to make the process more tolerable for the user and ensure safe recovery. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the doctor recommends either out-patient or in-patient addiction recovery facilities.

Drugs / Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Drug withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe and they are very unpleasant especially in the first two days after the last dose. Mostly, the withdrawal symptoms are experienced depending on several factors like, the type of drug(s) being abused, duration of drug dependency, age, whether other drugs or alcohol are used and whether the user is suffering from other diseases or illness.

They include: –

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Profuse sweating
  • Running nose
  • Shakiness
  • Low energy
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pains
  • Stomach pains
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions / delirium tremens

Some of these symptoms, for instance delirium tremens DTs can be very fatal and thus the need for proper treatment. In order to suppress severe withdrawal syndromes, a doctor can prescribe alternative drugs for the patient.

Due to the fact that these supplementary drugs can be addictive, the doctors recommend that the patient use them in a short term while under supervision.

As much as these drug withdraw symptoms can be fatal and life threatening, they are controllable and can be managed medically.

Withdrawal Symptoms From Opioids

The following are common withdrawal syndromes from opioids: –

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pains
  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Amplified respiration

These withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening but they can be very rough if proper medical supervision is not offered. Though some people opt to go for cold turkey detox, the process can be very challenging and in most cases individuals give up along the way.

The Best Medications To Help You Detox From Drug Addiction

There exist various types of medications provided to help users relief severe withdrawal symptoms and help with safe and tolerable withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.

What To Expect When You Visit A Drug Recovery Clinic

Before you visit a drug recovery center, it is good to be psychologically, physically and mentally prepared on what to expect. It is good you fight the battle of addiction from a point of understanding.

Basically, there are three stages of detox.


When you visit a rehab center, the addiction specialist will open a forum whereby you can discuss your addiction history. He will ask you questions about your addiction condition and the challenges you are going through.

Then, you will go through several tests like breath, urine and blood testing. This is to detect the presence of alcohol and drugs in your body system. The doctor will also assess your current mental health condition and any other existing medical problems. This is to help him find the most appropriate treatment strategy that meets your specific needs.

In the evaluation stage, a lot of honesty is required. Tell nothing but the whole truth to help the doctor understand your condition and give you the prescription that is specific to your condition.


This is where majority of treatment takes place. The doctor acclimates you to the detox process. Due to the discomforting withdrawal symptoms, proper medical and psychological supervision is provided to make the process less painful and more tolerable.

Build Willingness For Further Treatment

At this stage, withdrawal symptoms will have resolved and since drug detox in itself is complete for a successful addiction treatment, the doctor will encourage you to go through the rehabilitation and maintenance stages for a sustained recovery.

Why is drug detox important – who should detox?

For anyone who has developed any substance dependency, drug detox marks the start of living a drug-free life. If you really want to bring your life back on track, talk to a professional doctor now.

Drug detox is a must do thing for a successful addiction recovery. It is the initial stage recommended to treat a wide range of addiction cases.

When we talk about drug dependency, we refer to an individual whose body has become used to persistent high levels of substance whereby the user loses control over the drug / alcohol use. The urge to have the drugs so as to feel as the person is functioning normally becomes so intense for one to control.

During detox, the drug is withdrawn and the addicted individual experiences painful and potentially dangerous mental and physical withdrawal symptoms but these symptoms do not last forever.

It is therefore important for the drug recovery patients to be committed to endure the withdrawal symptoms that are only intense during the first two or three days in their quest for a successful addiction treatment.

Is Medically – Managed Detox The Thing For You?

If you have substance dependency involving alcohol, opioids like heroin, prescription painkillers and morphine and sedative drugs like benzodiazepines, then you need to go for medically – managed detox.

Why Medically – Managed Detox?

This is due to the fact that ceasing use of these substances can lead to a wide range of painful and dangerous effects which are difficult to manage on your own. Some of the most fatal symptoms require that you be under complete medical supervision because they can be life-threatening. If you have a medical history of a chronic disease, talk to a doctor prior to the onset of the detox process.

If you are using other drugs that are associated with less fatal withdrawal symptoms, close medical supervision is not required during detox.

Risks Associated With Home Detox

Detoxing at home is possible but it can be very dangerous. Depending on the severity of the addiction and the type of substance being used, complication may arise at any time during detox thus badly affecting the physical and mental health of the user.

The following are some of the risk associated with home detox: –

  • The patient might find it difficult to overcome the intense cravings and other substantial uneasiness arising during the process of withdrawal. This may weaken the resolve for drug cessation resulting to relapse.
  • Excessive vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration which may result to death if not properly treated.
  • Severe anxiety and depression may result to a wide range of extensive mental disorders and a person may feel suicidal thus the need for medical support.
  • Convulsions and comma are possible effects of severe addiction and can result to loss of life if the user is not put under proper medical supervision.
  • Appetite changes can result to poor nutrition that can weaken the patient or even cause malnutrition. Medical attention is needed to help the patient experience improved feeding.
  • Without proper medical supervision and support, incidences of great pain, disorientation, seizures and hypersomnia can be very overwhelming to the victim and people close to him thus the need for professional supervision from an addiction recovery specialist.
  • High blood pressure if not medically supervised can result to heart failure leading to death.

Medical detox is therefore recommended for proper management and treatment of these discomforting symptoms to make the process bearable and safe.

Is There A Specific Timeline For A Drug Detox?

There are various factors that dictate the length of drug detox. Detox process can take days or weeks to clear the drugs out of the body and so there is no specific timeline given.

The following are some of the factors that determine the length of a drug detox

  • The substance of abuse
  • A persons health condition
  • Dosage, rate and duration of substance use
  • Previous relapse cases
  • Poly-substance use
  • Detox program
  • Individual detox goals

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), on average, detox duration takes less than eight days although some long acting drugs like methadone takes a longer period to clear.

Which Drugs Are Used In Drug Detox?

For proper drug detox management, doctors recommend the use of medication. This is meant to make the process more comfortable. With increased comfort, you can be assured of improved results. Doctors administer drugs more often to manage the fatal withdrawal symptoms associated with various types of drugs such as alcohol, opioids and sedatives.

The following are some of the common medications used in drug detox: –

  • Methadone
  • Clonidine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulphiram
  • Acomprosate

These drugs are prescribed to a drug recovery patient based on the withdrawal symptoms associated with the individual kind of substance abuse and the severity of addiction.

For instance, methadone is recommended to ease the symptoms resulting from opioid withdrawal by providing mild opiate effects. Though they are opioids in themselves, they do not result to full highs or deliberating lows contrary to drugs like heroin.

Benzodiazepines offer great relief to users detoxing from alcohol since they mainly prevent seizures related to severe withdrawal.

Clonidine medication is effective for lowering blood pressure and also good for relieving other fatal withdrawal symptoms since it does not produce full euphoric highs or any form of intoxicating effects common in opioid withdrawal.

Avoid Relapse At All Cost – It’s Dreadful

If proper supervision and support is not given to a drug detox patient, relapse becomes an almost common occurrence. This might sound less alarming but in real sense, relapse is dreadful and should be prevented at all cost.

What happens is that during detox, the body flashes out drugs elements in the body and the body starts adjusting to the state of functioning without drug dependency. If proper detoxification and treatment is not provided, it becomes hard for the patient to endure the severe mental and physical withdrawal symptoms and gets back to using the drugs again as a way of seeking relief from the fatal withdrawal syndromes.

During relapse, what used to be a normal dose becomes an extreme overdose to the user and the effects can be very dreadful.

That is why doctors recommend use of drugs like naltrexone and methadone among others along with the long-term treatment medication to help prevent relapse.

Seeking For A Confidential Drug Detox Program?

Drug dependency can be a very victimizing lifestyle. Due to the many messes associated with the nasty addiction such as neglecting personal, family and career obligations, poor grooming and loss of social status, you may feel the need of finding a confidential assistance.

To find a treatment program that meets your specific needs, call us now. We can help. The best time to seek help with substance dependency is immediately you notice that you are finding it difficult to control the use of a certain drug or alcohol. Why wait until it is too late while we can help?

Is Drug Detox Expensive?

There is actually no standard amount for drug detox. The cost mainly depends on the addiction treatment center of your choice and other factors like the severity of the addiction and presence of other medical issues.

Find out whether your health insurance company covers drug detox. This will help reduce the financial burden as you go through drug recovery.

No matter the amount charged, drug detox is an investment that is worth the cost. This marks the initial process of bringing your life back on track and ushers you to a drug-free life that you have been longing for.

What To Expect After A Successful Detox

It is very important to know what to expect after detox so as to approach the whole topic from a point of understanding. Remember we said that drug detox is not a complete drug cessation treatment, it is simply the initial stage of drug recovery. So, at the end of detox, what next?

At the end of the detox phase, the doctor will refer you to appropriate treatment based on your success during detox and your commitment to recovery. They also consider whether there are some co-occurring medical or mental health concerns and the level of support you’ve got at home. They will also check on your ability to afford various medical programs needed and then recommend the best rehabilitation program for your case.

After a close monitoring, the doctor can choose to refer you to a residential rehab, outpatient therapy, support groups or sober living which is also known as halfway house.

Do You Want To Live A Drug-Free Life? The Choice Is Yours

If you have been on substance addiction for a long time, your lifestyle does not affect you alone but your family, friends and the society at large. Your family and loved ones can do all they can to help you go through drug recovery. Doctors will definitely do their best to aid you with drug cessation but for a successful drug recovery, it all depends on you.

You’ve got to give up on your current state of addiction and eagerly desire to live a sober life. The process of withdrawal is not a bed of roses neither is it a silver on a plate, it is dangerous, fatal and uncomfortable – but remember all these bad effects last for a short while. Gaining sobriety does not come overnight, it can take longer than you expect but you’ve got to be patient and dedicated to your treatment program. Honesty and endurance are the main success tools in drug recovery. Do not give up if you didn’t succeed in your first attempt. Try again and again till you achieve your goals for drugs cessation.

Need Help?

Do you want to talk to a professional drug recovery specialist? Your help is just a call away. Call now and discuss your drug addiction concerns with someone who cares. For more information about drug detox, visit our website.