Detox is required in order to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. Learn more about what detoxification is, what to expect and detox options here.


What is Detox?

Detoxification is the process of withdrawal from alcohol or drug use, which most commonly occurs after a long period of substance abuse. Not all people who drink alcohol or consume drugs will require a detox, as this process occurs in people who have developed a dependence on the substance.

Depending on the substance and the severity of dependence, detoxification may take place in a residential rehab centre, at home, or in a facility such as a prison or hospital.

A drug or alcohol detox in rehab consists of the process of safely managing the withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone with an addiction stops using drugs or alcohol. The detox involves medical supervision and support to help individuals comfortably recover from the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal, as it is often a challenging process.

During drug or alcohol detox, healthcare professionals can prescribe detox medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, as well as monitor vital signs and provide nutritional support.

The primary goal of drug or alcohol detox is to remove the physical dependence and prepare for ongoing treatment and support to maintain sobriety. It’s crucial for individuals undergoing detox to seek professional guidance and support to ensure their safety and well-being throughout the process.


What to Expect During Detoxification

The detoxification period in residential rehab is medically assisted to ensure the safety of the person undertaking the detox. Detox will take place within the detox wing of rehab, which means that the process will take place in a quiet and safe area while detoxing from drugs or alcohol.

A person undergoing detox will be kept under constant review during the drug or alcohol detoxification phase to ensure that individuals are receiving the most comfortable and safe withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Medications may be prescribed to help withdrawal symptoms and ensure the process is as careful as possible.

Medical professionals will survey the withdrawal and check on the person’s wellbeing throughout the process, and after the first few days, the person will be moved to a room outside of the detox wing.

Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are commonly experienced during detoxification from drugs or alcohol as the body adjusts without the substance.

Common withdrawal symptoms during detoxification include:

  • Nausea
  • Strong cravings
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Sweating or cold chills
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia
  • Change in appetite
  • Delirium tremens
  • Poor mental health, such as depression or anxiety

Once detoxification has been completed and withdrawal symptoms have ended, individuals will then undergo a number of therapies to help them recover from addiction for good.


How Long Does Detoxification Last?

The detoxification period typically lasts for 5-7 days, but this varies depending on the substance being withdrawn from and the severity of the drug or alcohol addiction.

Prescription drug detox typically lasts longer than other forms of detoxification, as opioids cause severe withdrawal symptoms, but the length of detox varies from one individual to another.


Home Detoxification vs Inpatient Detox

Home detoxification and inpatient detox are two options for individuals seeking to undergo detoxification from drugs or alcohol.

Home Detoxification

Home detox involves detoxing from drugs or alcohol in the comfort of one’s own home, which may be suitable for individuals with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and a strong support system at home.

Home detox typically involves following a detox plan provided by a healthcare professional such as a GP, which may include medications, diet changes, maintaining hydration, and having a relative monitor symptoms during the detox.

While home detox may be preferable for some people, this option does not provide the same level of medical supervision and support as detox at an inpatient rehab. Withdrawal symptoms can be very serious and life-threatening, which is why those with severe or long term addictions should not attempt home detoxification.

Learn more about the safety of home detox here.

Inpatient Detoxification

Inpatient detox involves detoxing from drugs or alcohol in a residential facility under 24/7 medical supervision. This form of detox is recommended for individuals with severe withdrawal symptoms, a history of severe addiction, or people with co-occurring medical conditions.

Inpatient detox provides access to medical professionals who can monitor vital signs manage withdrawal symptoms and offer support and counselling throughout the detox process.

While inpatient detox requires staying at a facility for a period of time, it offers a structured and supportive environment that is the safest and most effective form of detox treatment. Relapse prevention techniques are also provided to help individuals who suffer from addiction remain sober long term.


Get in Touch for Help Today

It is important for individuals considering detoxification to consult healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment option for them. While home detox may be achievable for some, the safest treatment option is a residential detox with constant access to addiction professionals.

At Rehab Clinics Group, we can start the admissions process at a suitable detox centre as soon as possible to help people in need recover. We can refer individuals to rehab facilities across the country at convenient locations on a personal basis.

For more information about detoxification and to speak to an advisor, get in touch today by filling out our contact form or phoning 0800 470 0382.