Most people think of a drug treatment center as the start of recovery, but often the journey begins at a medical detox center. Most inpatient treatment centers will require that potential clients undergo a detoxification period prior to treatment. This means that the person must be completely free of drugs in their system before entering the program. Why is this?

There are several reasons. First, it is difficult to focus on recovery during a detox period. You may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms that would make it impossible to participate in daily program activities.

The safety of other residents in treatment is an issue. Being around a person who is detoxing or has drugs in their system may trigger others or cause unsafe situations.

The detox process will vary for each individual. Some factors that will affect the process include:

  • Type of drugs used: Opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine or other stimulants, alcohol, etc.
  • How long has the person been using?
  • How much of the drugs were used on a daily basis?
  • Other factors including weight, age, gender and individual chemistry.

For many people, the detox period can be challenging both physically and emotionally. There may be physical symptoms of withdrawal, intense cravings, mood swings and other issues.

A medical detox can help people get through this process safely and comfortably. This allows the person to arrive in treatment, healthier, rested and clearer-headed. This is important because treatment will require focus and attention.

In addition, a person who is detoxing from drugs creates an unsafe environment for others in the treatment facility. It may trigger cravings or other feelings.

What Is Medical Detox?

A medical detox center is a dedicated clinic specifically for patients who are detoxing from drugs or alcohol. While hospitals may have detox services, they don’t specialize in this type of treatment, and so may not be able to provide the much-needed compassion and support that a person would receive in a medical detox facility.

In a medical detox setting, patients are assessed to evaluate their physical and mental health and see if there are any immediate needs that should be addressed prior to or in addition to detox. Depending on the type of drugs used and other factors, medications will be prescribed to help the person detox more comfortably and safely.

The patient is monitored throughout the process to make sure there are no problems and to ensure that they are hydrated and comfortable.

Why Is A Medical Detox Better Than Detoxing At Home?


Some people try many times to detox from drugs in the comfort of their homes. While this may be appealing, it often doesn’t work. And, it can be dangerous. Some questions to ask yourself when considering detoxing at home:

  • Is this a safe, drug-free environment? If there are people using, or drugs available, it is going to be almost impossible to follow through, especially when things get rough.
  • Is someone going to be there to take care of me? Will someone be able to monitor you in case there is a problem? Will someone be available round the clock to see if you need anything? In a severe withdrawal, you may not be able to keep yourself hydrated, or fed or clean.
  • Will you have moral support, or will you be on your own?
  • What if something goes wrong? What is the plan?

These are important questions to keep in mind. Also, if you are detoxing from heavy alcohol use or benzos, abruptly quitting the substance can be extremely dangerous and should not be done without supervision from a doctor.

Why Is Residential Treatment Still Necessary If You Have detoxed?


After the detox process is complete, your body is mostly rid of the substances in your system. You are officially clean and sober, why go to treatment now?

While physical dependence on drugs and alcohol is a tough thing to beat, it is not nearly as difficult as overcoming psychological addiction. Just getting the drugs out of your system is not enough. Addiction is a complex disease that involves brain chemistry, habits, and underlying issues that don’t just go away.

Many people go through the process of detox only to return to using days, weeks or months later because they did not address their actual addiction. Drug treatment treats all aspects of the addiction so that recovery is possible.

Getting Help From A Medical Detox Facility: What To Expect


When you arrive at the medical detox facility, you will be checked in and assessed by a medical professional. When this initial intake process is complete you will be shown to your room so you can settle in.

Throughout the detox process, you will be monitored and evaluated. Compassionate, friendly staff will check on you to see that you are as comfortable as possible during the process. Your meds, if applicable, will be monitored and reevaluated if necessary.

During this time, you will also receive support from staff. They understand that you are going through a process that is not only physically uncomfortable, but mentally demanding as well. This support is an integral part of the medical detox process, and can make a huge difference.

Treatment After A Medical Detox

After you have completed the detox process, you are free to attend the treatment center of your choice. Some drug and alcohol rehabs offer medical detox services as part of their program, some do not.

Inpatient treatment is the ideal next step after detox. In treatment, you will have the chance to recover and heal from addiction through counseling, healthy habit development, group therapy and peer support, education, and other therapies.

Broadway Treatment Center offers comprehensive, cutting edge treatment for addiction. Its award-winning program can help you or your loved one overcome addiction and begin a successful, healthy life. Call 714-443-8218 today to get started.