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According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA), research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate lengths of treatment. Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited or no effectiveness, and treatments lasting significantly longer are often needed.


Drug & alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening unless medically supervised – so people should be medically detoxed. But it’s only the first step in the recovery process


Going to a short term treatment facility is also important and necessary for many of us to get sober. But staying sober requires a lot more work and support.


Intensive Outpatient Programs are a good option for people who go to work or school during the day. We encourage all our residents to join an IOP when possible.


Detoxification, or detox, generally refers to the process of removing toxins from the body. In the case of substance use, detox specifically refers to the period of time that the body is allowed to process or metabolize any drugs and alcohol in the system and, in doing so, clears their toxic influence. Formal detox programs can provide a number of interventions to assist with:

  • Safely and comfortably clearing the body completely of the unwanted substance.

  • Managing symptoms of acute withdrawal.

  • Encouraging ongoing substance use disorder treatment for the detoxing individual.

Who should go to detox?

Detox is a recommended initial step of treatment for a wide range of addicted individuals. Some form of detox is appropriate for anyone who has developed a substance dependency.

Dependency means that the body has adapted to persistently elevated levels of a substance in such as way that the individual begins to feel like they must take the drug in order to simply feel as if they are functioning normally. When the drug is withdrawn, dependent individuals will often experience a host of mental and physical health symptoms that are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

How long does detox take?

There is no set timeframe for detox to be completed. For some, the process will only take hours or days. For others, it may take weeks to completely clear the body of the drug. Factors that dictate the length of detox include:

  • The drug of abuse.

  • The rate, dose, and duration of use.

  • The presence of any poly-substance abuse.

  • The detox setting.

  • The goals of the patient.

  • Previous detox attempts.

  • The individual’s health condition.

What are the dangers of detoxing alone?

It is possible to detox alone; however, it is not always ideal. Complications may arise at any time based on the substance used and the person’s existing physical and mental health. Also, intense cravings and other significant discomforts may arise during the withdrawal process, weakening the resolve to quit and potentially contributing to the risk of relapse.

The process of withdrawal can result in a wide array of symptoms that, depending on the drug and the individual, may include:

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress.

  • Appetite changes.

  • Irritability and agitation.

  • Anxiety.

  • Depression.

  • Strong drug cravings.

  • Pain.

  • Disorientation.

  • Seizure.

  • Coma.

What happens after detox?

At the end of the detox, staff will generally try to link the patient to follow-up treatments for substance use and mental health concerns.

It is an important step in substance use treatment and sets the stage for recovery, but it does not represent complete treatment for addiction or drug dependence. Professionals will recommend and refer patients to appropriate treatments based on:

  • Their success during detox.

  • Their commitment to recovery.

  • The presence of co-occurring mental or medical health issues.

  • Their level of support at home.

  • Their ability to attend and afford various treatment programs.

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