How Does a Typical Detox Program Work?

The goal of any rehabilitation center is to help drug/alcohol addicts fight their addictions. Each center has several programs that help their patients achieve this goal. However, they do have one common program—detox.

What Is a Detox Program?

A detox program involves the removal of all traces of drugs and alcohol in your system. This process prepares your mind and body for therapy or addiction treatment. The excessive use of drugs results in addiction, which then turns to dependence. Dependence is where your body cannot function well if you are not under the influence of those substances. A detox program reduces your overdependence on the drugs by removing them from your system. It also enables your brain to adjust to the abrupt drop of these chemicals.

Despite the benefits that addicts acquire from this program, detox comes with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience are:

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting and nausea

• Bone pain

• Headaches

• Shivering and sweating

Types of Detox Programs

There are two types of detox programs:

Social Detox

Social detox or non-medical detox does not require the use of medication to stop the use of drugs. This method requires patients to give up the use of drugs entirely while under the supervision and care of experts. The patients receive round the clock psychological and emotional support from professionals during the withdrawal process. However, they do not administer medication to manage the complications. Despite the success this approach has, it does come with several challenges like unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Medical Detox

The medical detox program involves the use of medical treatment or medicine to address or prevent the complications that come with drug or alcohol withdrawal. With this detox method, professionals are only able to control the effects, but not get rid of the symptoms entirely. For instance, if you are exhibiting violence, a medic might give you a particular medication to control that symptom.

What Happens During a Drug Detox Program?

Drug detox happens in several stages. Each of these stages prepares you for everything you will go through during the entire process.

Medical Assessment

The first step in any drug detox program is to assess every patient medically. The assessment will help the doctor and therapist build a clear picture of what you require during your stay in the rehabilitation center. This stage enables the doctor to gather all the patient’s details and the history of their addiction. Using the information they acquire, the expert can come up with a detox plan fit for the patient.


The second stage of the detox program is the withdrawal stage. It is one of the most challenging phases patients go through to beat their addiction. This happens as their bodies try to cope with the reduction of drugs or alcohol in their systems.

The severity of their withdrawal symptoms depends on a range of factors which include;

• The duration of their addiction

• The substance of addiction

• The drug consumption amount

• Their physical and mental health

Every patient experiences withdrawal differently. It does not matter whether a patient has gone through the program; the experience will still be unique. Patients will experience both physical and psychological symptoms while going through withdrawal.


Once the patient successfully copes with the withdrawal stage, they move to the medication stage. In this stage, patients are given appropriate medication as part of their detox process. It is important to note that no medication can help prevent withdrawal symptoms. However, some medications can help ease the psychological symptoms most patients experience while detoxing. This stage is not applicable for patients using the social detox program.


Compassionate and supportive care has proved to be as effective as medication during the detox process. This is why rehab centers offer round the clock support for all their patients. Once the detox program is complete, patients can also start therapy. Therapy sessions allow them to develop the willpower to recover from their addiction. It also helps patients locate their triggers, and this is a necessary step in preventing a relapse. The average duration of a detox process is between seven to ten days.

However, this is subject to several factors like:

• The severity of the withdrawal symptoms

• The duration of the addiction

• The mental and physical functioning

Remember, the success of any detox program depends on you. Despite the challenges you face, the result makes the process worthwhile. If you are ready to get started, do not hesitate to contact us today at 302-842-2390 for further assistance.

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Essentials mission is to renew lives impacted by addiction through personalized and complete behavioral healthcare. Our main purpose is to provide services and education to the client and family that will support long lasting recovery of mind, body, and spirit.