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What is drug detox? Process and types



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Drug addiction recovery can be an easy process if one takes the right steps at the right time. Drug detox and drug rehab are two crucial preliminary steps that need to be taken for counseling and psychological therapy to bear fruits. These processes have various forms depending upon the patient requirements and complexity of the addiction.

As we move into rehab, the main goal is to treat addiction without causing withdrawal symptoms, which may require the gradual removal of the drug from the body. This asks for drug detoxification with professional help. If you are in the process of rehabilitation, you may want to know more about this process. The article includes everything there is to know about drug detox, including the process, timing, and types

What is drug detox?

Drug detox refers to the safe disengagement of an abusive substance from a person’s body to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Professionally drug detox is referred to as medically managed withdrawal, i.e., treating withdrawal symptoms with the help of drugs and other therapies. It can be a complex process and thus requires professional supervision. A professional setting may involve skilled individuals to manage the situation if anything goes wrong. In-house drug detoxification can be life-threatening since you don’t know how your body will respond to the therapy. With a surfeit of options to select from, Palm Beach Institute is one trusted facility safely carrying out drug detoxification in many patients with drug addiction.

The process of drug detoxification aims to minimize the chances of physical side effects that may arise by quitting a drug taken for long. It is different from drug addiction rehabilitation. It focuses more on physiologically stabilizing patients to minimize the potential risks of withdrawal syndrome. On the other hand, drug rehabilitation focuses more on psychologically strengthening a person suffering from drug addiction.

What does a drug detox process involve?

Drug detox is entirely based on a patient’s needs and can differ completely from other patients. However, a drug detox may consist of the following three phases; evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for the treatment.


Evaluation of physical and psychological health issues

The first and foremost step in drug detox is the evaluation of the patient’s mental and physical well-being and looking for signs of problems. This may involve different tests to measure the level of drugs in the body, such as blood or serum tests. This then identifies the level of medication and the extent of the severity of the treatment.

Stabilization of the patient using medical and psychological therapies

The patients are provided with necessary mental and physical therapies to bring them to a stable condition. This prevents further harm to the patients. The patient may be prescribed withdrawal management medications and encouraged to practice healing modalities like yoga and meditation.  

Preparation for the treatment

The final step in the drug detox is preparing the patient for any necessary treatment plan. This requires discussing the possible treatment plans and their pros and cons with patients and their families. 

How long does the drug detox take?

Drug detox programs are always designed based on the characteristics of the individual receiving them. The type of drugs used and the time taken to complete while managing the withdrawal symptoms hinge on several factors. These may include the type of substance of abuse that caused dependency in the patient, duration of intake of the drug, and method of intake. It also depends upon the dosage, family history of abuse or dependence, and medical health of the patient.

 Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse might mitigate in a week if drinking is the sole cause of dependency. Anti-psychotics like benzodiazepines may require a longer duration. 


What are the different types of drug detox?

A professional drug detox program employs the medical model of detox. This model involves a small crew consisting of doctors and nurses carrying out the drug detox process. Based on the patient’s clinical needs, there can be different types of drug detox.

Detoxification without on-site monitoring

This may be employed in less severe cases and can be taken at home under the supervision of a health care agency. It requires monitoring the patients after regular intervals.

Detoxification with on-site monitoring

This is a setting that requires the presence of professional nurses and monitoring of the patient for several consecutive hours. 

Clinically managed residential detoxification

This requires monitoring the patient 24/7, but this type of detox focuses more on cheering the patient psychologically. It is centered around peer support and less on medical oversight.

Medically monitored in-clinic detoxification

It is a more restrictive setting and involves proper medical supervision of patients suffering from withdrawal symptoms.



When a psychoactive substance is used for a long time, there are higher chances of the body developing a dependency on it. The dependence can be both physiological and psychological. Physiologically the body will adapt itself to the presence of the drug and thus will require the drug for normal functioning. 

Psychological dependence is in the form of strong desire, mood swings, and altered thoughts, making you believe that the body necessarily needs the drug for proper functioning. Upon leaving the drug, the body reacts to its absence in the form of withdrawal symptoms. Drug detox provides a safe way to rid the drug out of the body without instigating a negative response.

Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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