When undergoing a drug or alcohol addiction treatment, your first process is detox, a critical step in the treatment program. Drug or alcohol detox is based on the underlying principle that it is hard to overcome mental health problems when the physical body is unwell. The primary purpose of detoxification in an alcohol or drug addiction treatment is to handle the physical aspect of the addiction so that the individual is well prepared to manage the psychological effects of the addiction recovery.

What is detox?

Alcohol or drug detox eliminates all the toxic substances from the body to ensure that you’re physically stable to start the rehabilitation process. When you get used to excessive alcohol or drug abuse, your body gets used to this toxic substance. The brain adapts to them, which makes it hard for an addicted individual to function well without using alcohol or drugs.

When these toxic substances are eliminated from the system through detoxification, your brain must adjust to the drop of chemicals and function without them. That is what causes people to experience the very unpleasant side effects known as withdrawal symptoms. A medically supervised detox program aims to minimize the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms to help you overcome the addiction safely and comfortably.

Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and life-threatening, which is why it is not advisable to detox by yourself. Trained specialists in a rehabilitation facility offer all the medical support you need during this challenging period.

What to expect during a drug or alcohol detox process

There are several steps involved in a detox process to ensure it goes well. They include:

Medical examination

The first step of a drug or alcohol detox is to undergo a medical assessment so that the doctor can establish your actual needs. The doctor gathers information about your medical and addiction history to help them develop an individualized addiction treatment plan.


When you undergo a detox process, you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The severity of the symptoms depends on how long you have been on drugs or alcohol, the substance you are addicted to, how much you have been taking, and your general physical and mental health. While some people have mild symptoms, others experience severe and even life-threatening symptoms. Therefore everyone undergoes detox in their own way.

Withdrawal results in physical and psychological symptoms like:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Sweating.
  • Fever.
  • Tremors.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Mood swings.
  • Anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Paranoia.
  • Insomnia.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of focus.
  • Intense craving for the substance.
  • Seizures.
  • Delirium.

Medication and support

Medical support and compassionate care are an integral part of the detox process to enable successful outcomes. Doctors usually prescribe medication to help individuals safely cope with withdrawal symptoms. No medication prevents all the withdrawal symptoms, but some drugs help manage anxiety, depression and enable one to get sufficient sleep. Therefore an individual should be monitored around the clock during the detox process.


Detox is the process of removing toxic substances from your body during addiction treatment. It comes with unpleasant symptoms that last up to 10days, so it is best to undergo a medically supervised detox process.

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