What to Expect When You Undergo Detox


Substance use disorder continues to be an ongoing issue in the country. A 2017 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 19.7 million American adults struggle with substance use disorder. However, treatment is available with 14,500 facilities in the United States. 

Most facilities offer outpatient and inpatient treatment, just like Orlando drug rehab centers and other Florida-based rehab facilities. Depending on the severity of your addiction, medical professionals will determine the treatment program you will need. For inpatient treatments, detox is one of the initial steps in your recovery. The process of detox can be painful and takes a lot of work and commitment, which is why it is done as part of an inpatient program in a treatment facility. It’s also important to understand what happens during this process to better prepare you. Here are some things you can expect to happen while you undergo detox.

Patient Assessment

Before you start substance detox, you need to complete a medical assessment. You will be evaluated based on your substance abuse history, which may include questions about the types of drugs or alcohol you used. Other questions may include your medical status and if you have co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression. You may also need psychiatric and nutritional evaluations to better understand what you will need during your stay in rehab.

The medical evaluation is completed before entering the rehab, so a program can be customized for you. But in some cases, you may also go through an additional biopsychosocial assessment once you are admitted.


The objective of detox is to remove all traces of drugs or alcohol in your system and prepare your body for therapy. In your treatment program, detox helps so that the physical side of addiction is dealt with before proceeding to address the psychological aspects of substance use disorder.  A detox facility like the Scottsdale Arizona Drug Detox Center will be a perfect place to get the help you need.

When you become dependent on alcohol or other illicit substances, your body becomes used to their presence, and when you reduce or remove them, your brain will need to adjust. This is what essential detox does. However, your body may react to the absence of addicting substances and may experience different symptoms of withdrawal. There’s no need to feel worried because your treatment team won’t just let you go through detox; they will also help lessen the negative symptoms of withdrawal.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medically-assisted detox manages the symptoms of withdrawal safely under the supervision of trained professionals. During this process, you will be given medication to help ease or relieve any symptoms of withdrawal. Some medications used while in detox are:

  • Methadone – It is a full opioid agonist administered orally to reduce the cravings of opioids while alleviating symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Buprenorphine – This is a partial agonist that produces less of an opioid effect than methadone. Doctors can prescribe this to treat opioid addiction.
  • Naltrexone – This is another opioid antagonist that prevents you from getting the satisfying effects of opioids.

During your treatment, these medications are administered following a schedule. The frequency and amount of medication you receive will be changed over time. In some cases, your detox involves weaning off drugs until you are drug-free. Medication can also be prescribed as part of maintenance management.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Depending on the severity of your drug abuse and the substances you took, the symptoms of withdrawal will vary. Some are more manageable compared to others. Here are some of the physical symptoms: 

  • Headaches or nausea
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills, shaking, and shivering
  • Sweating
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle and bone pain

You may also experience these psychological symptoms while undergoing detox:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression

In some cases, you may also experience more serious symptoms such as hallucinations, delirium, and seizures. This is why 24-hour medical care is available for inpatient programs. Also, attempting to detox on your own is not advised because there is no way to tell how mild or severe the withdrawal symptoms will be.

How Long Will Detox Take?

Normally, you would be in detox for at least seven days and can last until 10 days, but this would still vary depending on several factors. These factors include the severity of your substance use, the symptoms you are experiencing, and the current state of your body and mind. Other factors that will affect how long your detox will take are your age and gender. Every person is different, and therefore, every detox reaction will also be different.

Once you have completed your detox, your treatment will progress to psychological therapy where you will explore the cause of your illness through counseling.

Detox doesn’t completely treat substance abuse; it is just one part of it. What you do after completing your inpatient program plays a big factor in your recovery. It is a long-term process but by removing the physical effects of addiction, you are one step closer to a substance-free life.

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