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Drug Detox Centers

Medically Reviewed By: Benjamin Caleb Williams RN, BA, CEN

Written By: Michael Smeth

Article Updated: 01/25/2021

Number of References: 2 Sources

Are you or a loved one in search of a drug detox center? This process can be daunting and it's easy to get discouraged. To aid you in this difficult process, we've assembled a list of frequently asked questions and beginner guides that cover every aspect of choosing the right drug detox.

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Do I Really Need a Drug Detox Center?

Detoxing from drugs is commonly the first step towards lasting recovery. This process helps to rid the body of the drug and enable the regenerative abilities of the brain to begin repairing the damage done through drug use. Aside from being the first step towards treatment, drug detox centers can help make the withdrawal process much less uncomfortable and dangerous through medications and therapies.

Important Considerations

While there is no shortage of options for drug detox programs, there are certain criteria that may help direct someone towards one type or another. One type of detox may be preferable to others depending on someone’s use habits, living situation, mental health, the cost of detox, or past complications from drug withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the important things to consider include:

  • Which drug(s) someone used (some drugs produce worse or higher risk detox symptoms)
  • How someone used their drug of choice (for example, IV drug use can produce much worse detox symptoms)
  • If someone has tried a detox program in the past or tried to detox on their own and subsequently relapsed
  • If the detox will provide the right amount of care given someone’s specific needs
  • Someone who has co-occurring mental or physical health issues
  • Is psychotic or delirious, either from drugs themselves or withdrawal
  • Has a history of severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures

These considerations are a general guide and not a strict determinant as to whether or not someone should enter a drug detox. If someone has struggled with drug addiction, tried to get sober, and ended up relapsing then a drug detox may be the appropriate choice for them. Everyone is going to have unique needs when entering detox, so in the end, finding one which provides the most comprehensive and appropriate level of care is the most important factor to consider.

What Types of Drug Detox Facilities Are There?

Everyone has a unique experience with addiction and fortunately there are different types of detox programs to suit someone’s individual needs. That being said, all detox programs have a core component which is making it through the process of detoxification from drugs or alcohol in the safest and most comfortable way possible.

The Role of Medical Detox

Medical detox programs are almost always strongly recommended for people who experience moderate to severe drug withdrawal. These symptoms will be extremely uncomfortable, and possibly fatal if unsupervised. Additionally, these types of programs are also intended for people who may also have co-occurring mental health issues. Some of these types of drug detox centers include:

The main difference between these types is cost, convenience, and the level of care provided. They will all provide the same type of therapies, although the extent and degree of medical monitoring will differ. Inpatient and acute/higher care detox centers are 24-hour medical supervision programs, while outpatient will allow someone to come to the facility daily and return home each night. Depending on someone’s use habits, symptom severity, and drug of choice they may find it ideal to attend a medical detox center.

Non-Medical Detox

Non-medical detox is intended for people who will experience mild withdrawal symptoms and is typically not recommended for people who have co-occurring mental health issues or polysubstance abuse disorder. It is highly recommended to seek the counsel of a trained health professional on the expected severity of withdrawal symptoms before making the choice to attend non-medical detox. Using a variety of holistic therapies, spiritual practices, and counseling, these programs aim to use emotional support and stimulation to minimize the discomfort experienced. Some of these types of detox include:

  • Social Model Drug Detox: Typically held in an outpatient fashion, these programs are often held during the day with participants returning home every night. The length can vary, but many are around 30 days long and are fairly cheap compared to medical detox. Using individual and group therapies, counseling, educational courses, and relapse prevention classes these programs are mainly addressing the underlying psychological issues which lead to addictive behaviors. Withdrawal symptoms will still be monitored, but these programs usually have minimal medical supervision.
  • Religious Drug Detox: These programs are usually very low cost or even free and offer a variety of support services such as housing, meals, job training, and short term employment. The length can vary greatly, but they often use a combination of counseling and therapy, physical activity, with the addition of faith-based teachings and practices to help foster a sense of community and connection.

Are There Drug-Specific Detox Centers?

The typical length of detox programs can be anywhere from 7 to 14 days. The length of detox really depends on the withdrawal symptoms that someone is experiencing. The most common detox program length is 7 days, as most people will be through the worst of the symptoms by this time. This is common for detox from alcohol, opioids, along with a variety of other drugs. Depending on how long someone was using and what specific drugs they used, it may take longer than 7 days to get past the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

Detox programs will typically last until the dangerous symptoms have passed, and detoxing from different drugs follows different timelines. Note that these timelines are specifically for the physical detox phase, which is the most unpleasant. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may cause psychological symptoms to persist for many weeks and will require continuing treatment after detox.

Some common types of drug detox and their applicable timelines are listed as follows:

Opiate Detox Centers

Opiate addiction can produce very uncomfortable and painful symptoms when someone stops using these types of drugs. While rarely fatal on its own, opiate detox may be dangerous if someone were to have underlying health conditions. There are also many different types that result in different detox durations. While most opiates produce almost identical symptoms, the duration can vary, sometimes greatly. That being said, there are some outlier opiates that produce effects other than the standard opiate detox symptoms. The most common duration for acute detox from opiates is around 7 days, but again, some opiate drugs may result in longer or shorter detox durations.

We have in-depth guides that dive into the specifics of detox from some of the most dangerous and addictive opiates, including:

Heroin Detox Centers

Oxycodone Detox Centers

Fentanyl Detox Centers

Morphine Detox Centers

Methadone Detox Centers

Dilaudid Detox Centers

Opana Detox Centers

Hydrocodone Detox Centers

Vicodin Detox Centers

Codeine Detox Centers

Suboxone Detox Centers

Tramadol Detox Centers

Opiate Detox Centers

Benzodiazepine Detox Centers

Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, can produce very intense, and even dangerous, effects during detox. The changes the brain makes during benzo addiction result in potentially dangerous hyperactivity when someone stops using them. This can lead to delirium, seizures, and cardiac arrest if someone does not receive treatment from medical professionals. The duration for benzo detox can vary depending on several factors, including someone’s benzo use history and the specific benzo they were using. Benzo detox centers can reduce the risks and the discomfort through medications and medical monitoring, and due to the risks involved, it is highly recommended that if someone is trying to quit using benzos, please seek help from a benzo detox center.

For more comprehensive guides to detoxing from specific benzos, check out our articles below:

Xanax Detox Centers

Klonopin Detox Centers

Ativan Detox Centers

Benzodiazepine Detox Centers

Stimulant Detox Centers

Stimulants can produce strong and sometimes long-lasting effects when someone stops using them. While these are almost always psychological, and not physical, that does not mean they are harmless. Thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts are a real possibility during stimulant detox. If someone is trying to quit using stimulants, they would stand the best possible chance of succeeding if they enter a stimulant detox center.

The timelines and specific effects of detox from specific stimulants can vary, so we have unique guides for several stimulant drugs below:

Crystal Meth Detox Centers

Cocaine Detox Centers

Vyvanse Detox Centers

Adderall Detox Centers

Ecstasy Detox Centers

Depressant Detox Centers

Addiction to depressant drugs can result in a detox experience that may range from uncomfortable, to potentially life-threatening. Some depressant drugs like marijuana and kratom do not usually produce physically dangerous symptoms, but the detox process can still be very uncomfortable without help. Other depressants, such as GHB or alcohol may be fatal if someone who had used them for long periods suddenly quits. Untreated detox from these two drugs can result in seizures, heart attack, and delirium if someone does not receive help from a medical detox center. Aside from the effects, the timelines for detox from different depressants can vary as well. Alcohol and GHB may last for about a week, while marijuana or kratom could last longer. Regardless of the risks involved, someone will certainly stand a better chance at a successful and safe detox period if they seek the help available at medical detox centers.

For more information on the ways detox centers treat detox from different depressants, check out our articles on each drug below:

GHB Detox Centers

Alcohol Detox Centers

Marijuana Detox Centers

Kratom Detox Centers

What Should I Look For in a Program?

There can be many different factors to consider when looking for a detox center. These factors include the level of care, the drug in question, support services provided, and the accreditations or certifications held by any given facility. Depending on some of these variables, someone’s chances of successful recovery may be impacted, so asking questions and getting as much information as possible beforehand is crucial.

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