What is Drug Detox Process Like?

Learn how long drug detox treatment takes and which rehab is right for you

Anyone who is abusing or is addicted to drugs and wants to get help to recover may have many questions about the recovery process. You may be wondering if you should enter a drug rehab, how long the treatment program lasts and what is the drug detox process like? Drug rehab facilities offer many different psychological counseling and therapies after the patient has completed the detox process.

Detox is usually the first phase of treatment for the patient and it weans the body off of any offending drugs that the patient was using. When addicts use drugs for awhile, their body and brain are physically and chemically altered by the inclusion of the drug in their body. During the detox process, as the drug is being removed from the body, the brain and body will struggle to find balance without the presence of the drug. The severity of the impact that the drug has made on the body, may determine how severe the withdrawal effects may be as the drug is being removed. Alcohol and some drugs may cause dangerous and severe withdrawal symptoms that can be life threatening.

Withdrawal symptoms will begin once the addict stops taking the drugs or tries to reduce his intake. Some substances are dangerous if stopped abruptly and that is why patients are slowly weaned off of drugs in a drug rehab center. During the detox process the patient is monitored to determine how the body is reacting to the loss of drugs in the body. If withdrawal symptoms begin to cause serious side effects, the process is slowed down and an alternate drug similar to the one that the addict was taking is given to the patient. This allows the body to stabilize itself and then the process begins at a slower pace. This detox process is called a medically managed detox. How long does drug detox take depends on what drugs the patient was using and how his body responds to being weaned off of the drugs. Medications are available to medically managed detox from opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives, barbiturates and nicotine.

Before the detox process begins, the patient should first be physically stabilized so that he is strong enough to endure the detox process. Once that is accomplished, the detox process begins and the patient receives physical support throughout the process as his body struggles to re-adjust to not having the drugs. This is how a medically managed drug detox treatment is performed in a drug rehab center. There are different types of withdrawal symptoms depending on what substances the addict was using. Below is a list of what some of these substances are and their withdrawal symptoms may be during the drug detox treatment:

  1. Opiates – anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, runny nose, muscle aches, depression, mood swings, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.
  2. Stimulants – depression, cognitive impairment, mood swings, drug craving, extreme fear, trouble speaking, fatigue and sleep problems.
  3. Depressants – anxiety, tension, panic attacks, sweating, heart palpitations, sleep problems, muscle pain, irritability, tremors, hypertension and irregular heartbeat.
  4. Cocaine – exhaustion, trouble concentrating, strange dreams, anxiety, depression, chills, increased appetite, tremors, nerve pain, suicidal thoughts and actions.
  5. Hallucinogens – erratic behavior, mood swings, anxiety, depression, weakness, tingling in the extremities, paranoia, rapid heart rate, disorientation and convulsions.
  6. Alcohol – tremors, agitation, anxiety, irritability, seizures, insomnia, disorientation and delirium tremons.

The detox programs in a drug rehab center monitor and treat the physical and psychological effects that the patient may experience. The medical staff may administer medications to help ease many of the withdrawal symptoms. The patient is kept stable and safe and also as comfortable as possible. If you are struggling with drug addiction and want to quit, a medically supervised detox process at a drug rehab center is the best place to receive drug detox treatment. It is also advisable that you remain in the program for the minimum ninety days to become physically and mentally stable and prepared to begin a life of sobriety.





If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.