Content Reviewed by Cameron Bolish, M.Ed., CEO of PaRC

The initial stages of recovery involve you finding the right treatment program for you or your teen. There are several different types of recovery programs available to treat substance use disorder (SUD). For certain or severe circumstances of alcohol and drug use, detox is a vital first step. Many people have heard of detoxification, more commonly referred to as detox, but what is it?

Detox is a program where individuals are medically supervised as they discontinue their drug or alcohol use. For many cases of SUD, detox is necessary because withdrawal symptoms can be intense and, in some cases, life-threatening.

Most detox programs offer treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Clients are provided comprehensive medical care and attention as they experience the uncomfortable symptoms associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal. Weaning off or withdrawing from substance use in an unsupervised setting can be dangerous; therefore, it is essential that you find a detox program that is staffed with highly qualified and compassionate medical professionals.

What Does a Detox Program Look Like?

It is crucial that the alcohol and drug detox program you choose fits your needs and goals for treatment and recovery. A typical detox program will begin with a clinical assessment and evaluation conducted by a mental health professional. This assessment will determine what level of care will work best for you as you undergo treatment.

Once you are admitted into detox, a nurse will monitor and assess your symptoms on a need-be basis. Nurses typically assess clients every 2-4 hours, although how often a nurse checks in will depend on your unique needs. Nurses will help you to manage your physical withdrawal symptoms. You will also meet regularly with a physician to evaluate your detox progress.

Possible physical withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat or racing heart
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain, often described as tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Most detox programs will also offer a counselor on-site, readily available to assist you in navigating the psychological and emotional symptoms associated with withdrawal. It is essential that a counselor is available to provide support and reassurance as you work to become sober. A counselor will also help you feel mentally safe during detox, which is important as you try to heal.

Possible psychological and emotional withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia or other sleep issues
  • Problems with appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Isolation

Often, medications are prescribed during detox to reduce distressing withdrawal symptoms, especially related to intense physical discomfort. It is important to find a facility that utilizes individualized care over standard care, as it reduces the risk of overmedication during detox. Detox might occur in a hospital, a mental health inpatient facility or even a mental health outpatient facility involving intentional medical supervision. Detox is rarely a one-day process, as it is likely to take several days up to a week or more. It is also important to note that detox is not treatment, although it is a necessary first step that can prepare an individual for treatment.

What Happens After Detox?

After your collaborative care team evaluates that you are no longer suffering from the intense effects of withdrawal, they will recommend a route of treatment depending on your needs and goals for treatment. If you are committed to living a life of sobriety, intensive treatment services will be necessary to challenge any triggers or cravings that might surface. Treatment for SUD must be addressed using a whole-person approach. Treatment is not solely about abstaining from a substance — it is working through underlying trauma and challenging experiences that led to substance use in the first place. Consider the treatment options that are offered at a given facility. Based on the severity of your needs, you might consider admitting yourself or your teen to a residential treatment center, as these programs are intensive and tend to offer several therapy options within a given facility.

Alcohol and Drug Detox and Treatment at PaRC

Every treatment facility will provide a similar level of care when it comes to addressing alcohol and drug detox. Aside from 24/7 care, PaRC is one of the few detox programs that provide a program for both adolescents and adults. We break down our programs based on age, including:

  • Teen program (ages 13-17)
  • Young adults program (ages 18-24)
  • Adults (ages 25 and older)
  • Adults who struggle with chronic pain and addiction
  • Professionals and executives

After detox, we offer treatment for every level of care necessary on your path to healing. Consider exploring our holistic therapy and group treatment options to help you find your place in our treatment facility. We offer various treatment services to help you connect deeper to the world around you while you continue on your path to recovery.

At PaRC, we provide services for every level of care necessary to heal from substance use and addiction. Detox is the first step in our program. We offer unique and individualized services to adults and adolescents. We are one of the few detox centers that focuses on treating adolescent substance use. After detox is completed, we will evaluate your level of care to best serve you on your treatment journey. PaRC offers several unique treatment therapy options to help individualize your care. We want you to have life-long success with your recovery. For more information, call (713) 939-7272