Medical Drug & Alcohol Detox

What is Detox?

Detoxification, commonly known as detox, is a process aimed at eliminating or managing the withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual discontinues or reduces the use of drugs or alcohol. The primary goal of detox is to safely manage the acute physical effects of stopping substance use and to help individuals transition to a substance-free state.

Detox programs can vary in duration and intensity, depending on factors such as the type and amount of substances used, the individual’s overall health, and the presence of any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions. It is important to note that detox alone does not constitute comprehensive treatment for substance use disorders. Rather, it is typically the initial phase of a broader treatment plan.

Key components of drug and alcohol detox include:

  1. Evaluation: A comprehensive assessment of the individual’s physical and mental health, substance use history, and other relevant factors to determine the appropriate detox approach.
  2. Stabilization: Providing medical and psychological support to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure the individual’s safety and comfort during the detox process.
  3. Transition to Treatment: Following detox, individuals are often encouraged to continue their treatment through rehabilitation or other supportive programs to address the underlying issues contributing to substance use.
  4. Medical Supervision: In some cases, detox may be conducted under medical supervision, especially when withdrawing from certain substances can pose significant health risks. This may include the use of medications to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Detox is a critical step for those seeking recovery, as it helps individuals break the physical dependence on substances. However, long-term success in overcoming addiction typically involves ongoing treatment, counseling, and support to address the psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of substance use.

How Long Does Detox Take?

The duration of detoxification (detox) varies depending on several factors, including the type and amount of substances used, the individual’s overall health, the presence of any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions, and the detox protocol employed. Detox timelines can differ widely among individuals, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Here are general timelines for common substances:

  1. Alcohol:
    • Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within a few hours to a day after the last drink.
    • The acute phase of alcohol detox usually lasts around 5-7 days, but psychological symptoms may persist for longer.
  2. Opioids (e.g., heroin, prescription painkillers):
    • Acute withdrawal symptoms often start within 6-12 hours and peak within 1-3 days.
    • The intensity and duration of opioid withdrawal can vary, but the acute phase may last about a week.
  3. Benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Valium):
    • Withdrawal symptoms may begin within a few hours to a few days, depending on the specific benzodiazepine.
    • The acute phase of benzodiazepine withdrawal can last 1-4 weeks, and symptoms may persist for an extended period.
  4. Stimulants (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine):
    • Withdrawal symptoms may start within a day or a few days after discontinuation.
    • The acute phase of stimulant withdrawal is generally shorter, lasting about 1-2 weeks.

It’s essential to note that detox is just the initial step in the recovery process. The acute withdrawal phase addresses the physical dependence on substances, but ongoing treatment and support are crucial for addressing the underlying factors contributing to addiction. At Eden Recovery Center, we provide a seamless transition from our Medical Detox to our Residential Treatment Program.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Detox?

The side effects of detoxification (detox) can vary widely depending on the substances involved, the individual’s overall health, and the specific detox protocol used. Detox is the process of the body adjusting to the absence of a substance it has become dependent on, and withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Here are common side effects associated with detox from various substances:

  1. Alcohol:
    • Early Stage: Anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and abdominal pain.
    • Later Stage: Delirium tremens (DTs) may occur in severe cases, characterized by hallucinations, severe confusion, and seizures.
  2. Opioids (e.g., heroin, prescription painkillers):
    • Early Stage: Anxiety, sweating, yawning, runny nose, and muscle aches.
    • Later Stage: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, and increased heart rate.
  3. Benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Valium):
    • Early Stage: Anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.
    • Later Stage: Tremors, muscle spasms, hallucinations, and seizures in severe cases.
  4. Stimulants (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine):
    • Early Stage: Fatigue, increased appetite, and disturbed sleep.
    • Later Stage: Depression, increased craving, and vivid dreams.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the intensity may depend on factors such as the duration and extent of substance use, the presence of co-occurring conditions, and individual variability. Our Medical Detox program use medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and increase the likelihood of a successful detox.

Medical supervision is crucial during detox, especially for substances with potentially severe withdrawal symptoms, to manage complications and ensure the individual’s safety. At Eden Recovery Center, we tailor detox protocols to the individual’s specific needs and provide appropriate support throughout the process. Additionally, we provide ongoing treatment and support which are essential after detox to address the underlying causes of addiction and promote long-term recovery.

Is Medication-Assisted Detox Beneficial to Your Long-Term Recovery?

Medication-assisted detox can be beneficial for some individuals in achieving long-term recovery, especially when dealing with certain substances that have a high potential for severe withdrawal symptoms. Medication-assisted detox involves the use of medications under medical supervision to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, making the detoxification process more comfortable and safer. The goal is to stabilize the individual physically and emotionally during the initial phase of recovery.

Here are some potential benefits of medication-assisted detox for long-term recovery:

  1. Increased Comfort and Safety:
    • Medications can help alleviate the discomfort and potential dangers associated with severe withdrawal symptoms, reducing the risk of complications.
  2. Improved Treatment Engagement:
    • Individuals may be more likely to engage in and complete the detox process when medications help manage the challenging aspects of withdrawal.
  3. Reduced Cravings:
    • Medications can help reduce cravings, making it easier for individuals to focus on the psychological and behavioral aspects of recovery.
  4. Enhanced Focus on Treatment:
    • With the physical symptoms under control, individuals can better engage in therapy, counseling, and other components of a comprehensive treatment plan.
  5. Prevention of Relapse:
    • Medication-assisted detox may reduce the likelihood of relapse during the early stages of recovery, providing a foundation for sustained abstinence.

It’s crucial to note that medication-assisted detox is not a standalone treatment for substance use disorders. It is typically one component of a broader treatment plan that may include counseling, behavioral therapies, and ongoing support. The effectiveness of medication-assisted detox can vary based on individual needs and the specific substances involved.

The decision to use medications during detox should be made on an individual basis, considering factors such as the type of substance used, the severity of dependence, and the presence of co-occurring conditions. Medical professionals, including addiction specialists, can assess and tailor treatment plans to meet the unique needs of each individual, maximizing the potential for successful long-term recovery.


Nearly 49M people experienced a substance use disorder within the past year, yet only 12% received treatment.