Detox is often the first step in the continuum of care for addiction treatment. When you or someone you care for is seeking rehab for substance abuse, you may have questions about what inpatient detox involves. Here we review the nature of the detox process, inpatient treatment, and other factors to consider in this path of recovery.
Whether it’s with alcohol, prescription medication or other drugs, ongoing substance abuse can create a physical addiction. The detox process involves managing withdrawal and other complications as you process remnants of the substance from your body. Depending on the nature of the addiction, common withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shaking or tremors
- High blood pressure
- Racing or irregular heartbeat
While long-term recovery involves addressing the behaviors and environmental factors that feed addiction, the focus of detox is on managing the short-term cleansing of the system. Safe, approved medications administered by professionals can minimize these complications.
What Happens During Detox
To better understand what happens when you go through detox, here is an overview of the process, timeframes and other common question patients have.
How Long Will Detox Take
The time for the detox process depends on the addict. While it is common for detox to take anywhere from a few days to two weeks, detox timeframes will vary depending on the recovering person’s unique circumstances.
Some factors that may affect the length of detox:
- The substance the patient is detoxing from
- Length and consistency of abuse
- Amount of substance recently consumed
- Severity of withdrawal symptoms
- Degree of medical assistance required
- Co-occurring disorders
Withdrawal from drug or alcohol addiction can cause varying degrees of physical symptoms. The goal of medically assisted detox is to minimize withdrawal issues and ensure a detox process takes place in safety and comfort.
Medically managed detox is customized to the needs of the patient. Unlike natural detox, treatment is overseen by expert medical professionals and involves the use of medication to minimize the often severe symptoms of withdrawal.
Can I Leave Detox?
If you’ve taken the step to pursue detox for your substance addiction, it is important to see the process through. Risks will vary by individual, but detoxification is a medical process that can have significant effects on your body if not properly managed. We encourage you to follow the direction of your trained recovery partners to ensure your safe recovery.
Therapy and Counseling
While detox addresses the immediate cleansing of the body, long-term recovery requires addressing factors beyond physical dependence. That is why individual counseling, group therapy or other therapeutic measures are introduced during or following detox.
These programs are designed to address mental well-being and provide the tools to manage addictive impulses and triggers for relapse. These are typically longer-term or ongoing programs that extend beyond inpatient treatment. The goal is that, as physical symptoms diminish, the focus turns to urges to use and controlling behavioral factors.
Inpatient detox centers are facilities where patients live while they pursue the detox process. These residential patients enjoy 24-hour care and are surrounded by medical staff who can attend to any urgent health needs immediately.
Inpatient vs Outpatient
Some facilities offer outpatient detox programs. While outpatient care is an option for some, it is not generally recommended for those suffering from severe addiction, long-term abuse, or other health complications. Whether to choose inpatient or outpatient detox will depend on your particular medical circumstances.