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Drug Detox: How To Find The Right Center

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

Written By: Michael Smeth

Article Updated: 10/05/2020

Number of References: 2 Sources

Trying to find the right drug detox can be difficult, especially given the number of options available today. There are different levels of care, program structures, costs, and objectives for each different type of drug detox center. Read our in-depth exploration of the available options, get expert insight into picking the best program for you.

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What is Drug Detox?

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.

What Type of Drug Detox Center Do I Need?

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.

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.

Types of Detox Facilities

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.

Comprehensive Medical Detox Guide

What is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detox is a fairly new treatment option. It is by far the shortest option, lasting between 1 and 4 days depending on the particular program. Because of its newness, there is still a lack of standardization in the detox procedures and protocols. In summary, it involves putting someone in a light coma through anesthesia and giving them large doses of certain medications that will flush drugs from their brain and body. As with any procedure which requires anesthesia, there is quite a bad “hangover” during recovery, and the day(s) following the procedure may be rough.

Due to the high level of medical supervision, expensive medications, and the technical specialties required, these types of detox programs can be extremely expensive. With cost being a large factor for anyone seeking a detox program, this type of detox is going to be cost-prohibitive for some. Additionally, there is some concern as to the safety and effectiveness of rapid drug detox. This is a newer treatment option with less data to support it and treatment may not be well defined or standardized, making the risks higher. Anesthesia alone comes with certain risks and when this is coupled with possibly severe withdrawal symptoms, dangerous complications can and do occur.

Rapid Detox Guide

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.

Programs That Specialize in a Specific Drug

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 withdrawal symptoms from different drugs have different timelines. For more information on drug specific detox centers, click on the corresponding selection below:

Alcohol Detox Centers: 7 days on average (severe or possibly fatal withdrawal symptoms can cause detox to last up to 14 days)

Opiate Detox Centers: 7 days on average

Benzodiazepine Detox Centers: 10-14 days on average (severe or possibly fatal withdrawal symptoms can extend this timeline)

GHB Detox Centers: You can expect to stay for about 7 days.

Amphetamine Detox Centers: 7 days on average

Cocaine Detox Centers: 7 days on average

While there are many other drugs that people need to detox from, these are by far the most common today. 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.

Finding the Best Detox Center For You

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.

What to Look For in a Drug Detox Program

Can I Be Fired for Going to Detox?

This is a very important question that many people struggling with addiction may ask. The answer is not necessarily cut-and-dry. For the most part, no, someone cannot be fired for simply going to detox. There are legal protections for those battling addiction and so long as someone is being proactive in bettering themselves, they should have a good chance of keeping their job. There are certain caveats to this, however, and there are rules and procedures for leveraging these legal protections.

Can I Be Fired For Going To Detox?

Finding a Domestic Violence Focused Addiction Detox Center

A look at the co-occurrence of addiction and violence in relationships and an examination of the contributing factors. We also provide resources for someone experiencing domestic violence to find help and safety at specialized drug detox centers.

Finding a Drug Detox For Domestic Violence Victims

Are There Free Detox Centers?

Detox can be an expensive undertaking, and not everyone will have the money to pay for detox when they are ready and willing to enter one. Thankfully, there are free and sliding-scale detox centers that offer treatment to those with little or no money. Our guide features a variety of resources to assist in finding affordable (and free) detox options.

Guide To Finding Free Detox Centers

Luxury Detox

These types of detox are on the expensive side and may provide unique features compared to normal detox centers. This could include an extravagant location, special amenities such as animal therapy, yoga or massage classes, and a variety of other unique benefits that are lacking at other detoxes.

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