drug and alcohol detox with medication and scheduled treatment drugs

Drug and Substance Detox

Posted: September 30, 2020
Updated: October 5, 2020

Addiction treatment begins with detox. It is a carefully supervised process of removing the addictive substances from your body. 

During detox, you may have to take specific medicines to relieve the undesirable effects of abstinence. Such a practice is a part of the MAT detox. MAT stands for medication-assisted treatment, which is primarily what we cover here.

Detox acts as a bridge between dependence and abstinence, it helps: Reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, manage serious withdrawal symptoms, and ensure participation in long-term addiction treatment

There are two types of MAT detox, depending on the treatment settings. They are:

  • Inpatient Detox – 24-Hour monitoring in an addiction treatment facility. 
  • Outpatient Detox – Stay at home but have to visit the treatment center regularly. 

Detox: What Is It and Why Is It Important for Addiction Recovery?

Choosing to stop opioids and alcohol is no mean feat. But unfortunately, quitting these substances on your own leaves you to the mercy of the infernal withdrawal symptoms. The anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and tremors often discourage people, leaving no choice but to take another sip or swallow another pill. 

That’s where the detox process comes in handy. With certain procedures, the medical personnel can provide a safe clearance of the abused drugs from your body to facilitate the overall treatment.

What are the types of Detox Services?

Medically Assisted Detox

Medically assisted detox or MAT detox uses medicines while detoxing. These medicines help:

  • Reduce the risk of relapse 
  • Prevent fatal complications
  • Relieve withdrawal symptoms

That way, MAT detox ensures a smooth transition into long-term addiction treatment. You may also need counseling and behavioral therapies during medical detox. 

Not all drug dependence needs medical detox. That said, if you are addicted to highly addictive substances, you will need it. Some most common addictive substances include:

  • Prescription opioids
  • Hallucinogens
  • Synthetic opioids like heroin and fentanyl
  • Sleep medications

Inpatient Detox

Outpatient Detox

Non-MAT Detox

Non-MAT detox, which is detoxing without using any medicine, is not recommended. It may be harmful or even life-threatening. 

Abrupt discontinuation of substances causes many uncomfortable symptoms. Some of them may be fatal. For example, deaths have occurred from opioid withdrawal. Thus, make sure to consult a doctor before you consider self-detoxing.

What Are the Steps of the Detoxification Process? 

Just like the majority of medical procedures, detoxification can’t be outlined into a clear, one-size-fits-all plan. The process is laid out by medical professionals in accordance with the health status of the patient. 

However, the detox process oftentimes includes the following steps: 

1. Evaluation

Before starting the actual treatment, the medical staff carries out various tests to evaluate your mental and medical state. This is a crucial step that determines the subsequent plan, including whether you’ll need to receive certain medications. 

2. Stabilization

This step aims to stabilize your body until it reaches a 100% substance-free state with little to no discomfort. To achieve this, the treatment team establishes medical and psychological plans. 

The medical plan might necessitate the use of certain drugs. Naturally, the drug of choice will considerably vary according to the abused substance. For instance, Suboxone can be highly effective in treating opioid addiction, yet it can pose a significant risk if mixed with alcohol. 

On the other hand, the psychological plan is usually more straightforward. The inclusion of the family in the intervention program serves as a significant encouraging factor to the patient. Also, the medical team must familiarize the patient with the expected side effects, thereby avoiding premature despair. 

3. Transitioning to Treatment

Contrary to common belief, detox is just the first step in addiction treatment. The patient must be admitted to a rehabilitation program to prevent future relapse. 

How Long Does It Take for the Body to Detox? 

Again, we can’t set a specific timetable for the detoxification process. This information is likely presented by the medical team at the beginning of the treatment. 

For the purpose of illustration, you can refer to the following timelines:

Heroin

Heroin withdrawal typically needs 5 to 7 days to complete. The symptoms start early — usually within 12 hours of the latest intake. Expect the symptoms to aggravate within the first 3 days. 

Alcohol

Just like heroin, alcohol withdrawal worsens during the first 3 days. But the good news is, most people fully recuperate within 4 to 5 days. 

Cocaine 

Cocaine is one of the hardest substances to detox. Symptoms may appear within a few hours, and they may persist for weeks. 


cycling in the sunrise ready for drug treatment

Ready to Change Your Life?

If you already decided to change your life, we’re happy to say that you’re halfway there! Reach out to us so that we can determine the proper center with the best suited detox plan to make the recovery process easier and more successful.