The Process of Medically Assisted Detoxification

Many Individuals Will First go Through Medical Detox: Phase one of Recovery

For patients who suffer from moderate to severe drug or alcohol addiction, a period of medically supervised and assisted detoxification is essential. This process typically takes between four to seven days in length where patients will be given detox and anti-craving drugs as part of the detox procedure.

The core objective behind medical detox is to safely and effectively wean the body off of the substance of abuse while also helping to control cravings and to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Detox is almost always required as going ‘cold turkey’ has immense negative and risky side effects and could even be life-threatening.

Detox works to address only the physical dependency, not the psychological addiction; this is completed through therapy.

There are several different types of medical detox that patients may go through such as:

  • Rapid Detox: This sort of detox involves putting the patient to sleep through general anesthesia. The process quickly removes the toxic substance from the body and is generally used for extreme opiate addictions. The worst stages of withdrawal are not necessarily felt by the patient as it occurs while they are asleep.
  • Alternative Detox Support: This type of detox utilizes holistic means of detox such as massage therapy or acupuncture in order to help patients manage their addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Medical Detox: This type of detox involves administers detox drugs/medication to help manage the withdrawal symptoms that are occurring. It is a gradual process that can last up to one week long.
  • Tapering: Tapering is generally used for those who are addicted to prescription medications. In this method, the patient reduces the amount of the substance they take over a period of time, slowly ‘tapering’ and ‘weaning’ their body off of the substance.

Substitute Drugs

There are a host of substitute drugs that are used when going through medical detox. While some patients may be administered methadone, others are a better candidate for suboxone or benzodiazepines. Through a patient assessment, addiction specialists will determine which detox drug is most ideal for you.

The safe and monitored environment that individuals will be in during their time in detox will set the stage for a successful recovery. Although they will be given strong prescription drugs, they are given them in a controlled setting where there is no opportunity for abuse or misuse.

Addictions That Require Detox

There is a vast range of substances that require a period of detox in order to recover from. Some of the substances of abuse that will require detox are:

  • Alcohol
  • Prescription opioids
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Heroin

Through a steady and controlled detox period that is monitored with around-the-clock supervision, patients can feel safe and secure knowing that they are in the care of professionals. Although detox is not an easy thing to go through, it is a necessary step in the overall recovery undertaking. Although the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with detox are mitigated and lessened, patients may still experience some degree of discomfort during this time.

Treatment After Detox

Detox alone is not the answer to long-lasting sobriety. This is because addiction is a disease that requires treatment in order to fully recover from. Detox lays the foundation for a successful recovery as your mind and body are free of the substance of abuse and ready for the treatment process.

After the individual has completed their medical detox, they will begin their inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Here, patients will work with counselors and therapists in order to work through their addiction, working toward achieving sustained sobriety.

There is hope for healing. Addiction is a treatable disease that can be managed and medical detox is an imperative stage in the road to recovery.


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.