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Drug and Alcohol Detox

Detoxification or detox is the process of clearing the body of drugs or alcohol before entering a substance use treatment center. The overall purpose of detox is to manage withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking drugs or alcohol.

Detoxification is critical because it mentally and physically prepares an individual for drug rehab.

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How Long Does Drug and Alcohol Detox Take?

Standard or clinical detox treatment does not take long as it does not involve little to any medical intervention. Most clinical detox programs last three to five days. It depends on the drug and addiction’s severity.

It is not uncommon for detox to last a couple of days, especially if a person is already sober or is misusing small amounts of certain drugs.

Is It Possible to Detox at Home

Detox at home is not always recommended because of the increased risk of relapse. However, some individuals choose to detox at home. But it takes a significant amount of planning and dedication.

Overall, there are too many triggers in a home setting to detox. And there is an increased risk of relapse. Moreover, attempting to detox from opioids or alcohol at home is dangerous and can lead to serious complications.

Our experts recommend that detox should take the time it takes to become ready for counselling and therapy.

The Process of Drug and Alcohol Detox

The detoxification process is different for each person, yet there are general procedures at most detox centers across the country. This generally includes evaluation, stabilization, and preparing entry into treatment.

    • Evaluation—A clinical team screens each incoming patient for physical and mental health issues. There are drug tests done to confirm what substances have been used. In addition, comprehensive reviews are done to explore dug and medical history.
    • Stabilization—The goal of stabilization at a clinical detox center is to ensure the patient successfully overcomes the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms connected to their addiction. This is done in various ways, whether medically or holistically. Detox centers aim to make the patient comfortable during their stay at the facility.
    • Preparing Entry for Treatment—The final step is preparing to enter an outpatient or residential drug rehab. Detox does not provide counselling or therapy and should not be considered a well-rounded rehabilitation. The patient is prepared physically and mentally to enter whichever drug rehab program they have arranged.

Does Detox Prove Adequate for Substance Use Counselling?

No. Drug and alcohol detox programs are not meant to counsel people or provide therapy. Some detox centers may offer 12-step meetings, yet clinical detox is a short stay.

A patient should not rely on a detox to treat their addiction; it is merely the first step along the recovery pathway.

Additionally, there is a common misconception that most people can receive detox and be fine after that. However, what many people forget is the risk of relapse increases. Someone who has completed detox and relapsed may experience more severe overdose effects.  

Detox By Drug Type

Detox can be more difficult for some people and easier for others, yet this depends on the drug and the person’s tolerance. Clinical drug detox programs treat mild to moderate addiction. For example, it can include cocaine, methamphetamine, club drugs, and marijuana.

Withdrawal symptoms generally vary in severity for each person and depend on the drug type, amount, and length of time they have been using the substance.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:

    • Anxiety and depression
    • Sleeplessness
    • Irritability
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Muscle aches and pains
    • Headaches and general discomfort

Withdrawal symptoms are managed in different ways. But there is generally no medical intervention with a drug and alcohol detox as opposed to a medical detox.