What to Know About Medical Detox Programs

Detoxification is one of the scariest and most challenging phases of the recovery process. Fears of withdrawal symptoms often present as barriers to treatment because those suffering from addictions want to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with physiological dependence. But remember, your loved one and your mental health are more important than your addiction.

Discover Recovery promotes a client-centered approach towards the treatment of addiction concerns, meaning addiction is not viewed as a moral deficiency or aspect of weak will. Those who seek treatment are treated with dignity and respect, especially during the process of medical detox, when they are in their most vulnerable states.

In this article, we discuss:

What is Detoxification?

The best way to think of detoxification is as a deep cleanse for the body. It’s a period of time during which the body rids itself of all toxins and impurities — which, of course, includes alcohol and drugs — and returns to its natural state. It is the initial stage of the treatment plan to overcome addiction.

Used as the first stage of addiction recovery, detoxification also severs the ties of physical dependence between the body and a chemical substance. A person who had previously experienced withdrawal symptoms would no longer be dealing with them after completing detoxification. Detoxification that involves cleansing the body of addictive substances is known as medical detox. Medical detox is usually performed under the tight supervision of licensed medical professionals.

Having taken care of a client’s initial physical needs, detoxification gets him or her ready to begin receiving actual treatment as part of a drug rehab program. It is important to note that detoxification is a part of the whole medical treatment plan for an effective journey toward sobriety. An individual who undergoes the process of medical detoxification is reportedly more likely to have a successful treatment and ultimately lead an addiction-free life.

Why Is Medical Detox Important?

  • Safety: Detoxification should never be attempted alone or at home. This is because withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Medical detoxification programs provide a controlled environment to ensure the individual’s safety and mental health.
  • Treatment Plans: An individual’s detoxification should be unique to them, as everyone’s addiction history is different. The individual approach at treatment programs ensures a safe and supervised treatment plan that’s unique to them.
  • Minimizing Discomfort: Withdrawal symptoms can be highly uncomfortable and even excruciating. Medical detox provides access to medications that can help alleviate these symptoms, making the process more manageable.
  • Psychological Support: Detoxification is both a physical and mental process. Healthcare professionals collaborate with therapists to provide emotional support and counseling to both inpatients and outpatients.
  • Preventing Relapse: A supervised treatment program reduces the probability of relapse during a vulnerable period. By providing a controlled environment and addressing withdrawal symptoms, one is less likely to return to substance abuse.

Who Needs Medical Detox Treatment?

Medical detox & detox programs play a vital role in the addiction treatment of individuals who are suffering from substance abuse. There are certain substances that can be dangerous to stop taking abruptly. Detox programs give a safe environment for people suffering from withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening if not treated properly.

When addicted to one of these substances, medical detox treatment is strongly advised since this type of care provides round-the-clock medical supervision. This means the individual can detox safely without putting his or her well-being at risk, as they will be under constant supervision by trained professionals.

One should consider enrolling themselves in a detox program if they are a victim of the following:

Severe Substance Dependence:

If one has a vast history of substance abuse or is dependent on intoxicants, they should consider undergoing detox treatment. Abrupt discontinuation of drugs or alcohol can lead to serious risks.

Physical Health Concerns

If one is dealing with heart concerns, has a weak liver, or has any underlying medical condition, then they’re at a higher risk of withdrawal. At a medical detox program, there are various facilities available to monitor and address these health concerns during addiction treatment.

History of Complex/Difficult Withdrawals

Quitting the consumption of intoxicants can be challenging for a number of reasons. If the individual intends to cleanse their body, a medical detox will help them.

Mental Health Concerns

If an individual is facing mental health concerns, then their dependency might increase on substances. These individuals can benefit from detoxification. When one struggles with both substance abuse and mental health concerns, then this condition is known as co-occurring disorder.

Poly-substance Abuse

If an individual abuse multiple substances, such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, then they are likely to face complex withdrawal patterns that can only be treated with the help of specialized individuals. Medical detox programs are developed to address the complex challenges that come during the addiction treatment of polysubstance abuse.

A non-supportive environment

If one does not have a supportive loved one, to quit substance use disorder on their own. Then a healthcare treatment program might be the right place for them to become sober.
The substances for which medical detox treatment is considered necessary include:


Opioids are pain relieving drugs that are prescribed by healthcare professionals. They are used in several treatment programs. However, their potency comes with a high rate of dependency.
When an individual suddenly stops taking opioids, the absence of these creates withdrawal symptoms that resemble symptoms of having the flu. The opioid withdrawal symptoms are as follows:

  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Opioid examples include heroin, prescription painkillers, and fentanyl.

In recent years, there has been a boom in the opioid epidemic, involving opioid overdose and deaths. This crisis demands an urgent need for treatment programs to prevent and treat substance use disorders.


Benzodiazepines are often prescribed for anxiety and sleeping concerns by healthcare professionals. They make it difficult to produce stimulating neurotransmitters that keep awake and energetic. However, if one takes them regularly and suddenly quits without close medical supervision, the brain develops a dependency on them. This state of Benzodiazepines causes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures

Seizures from benzodiazepine withdrawal can be life-threatening if addiction treatment does not involve a proper treatment plan.
Examples of benzodiazepine include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.


If you suffer from an alcohol addiction, then you’ll have the following symptoms:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if not given a proper treatment plan.

Prescription Drugs

Like benzodiazepines and opioids, prescription medicines like muscle relaxants, sleeping medications, and gabapentin are often used as stress-relieving agents. While each prescription drug may have unique withdrawal symptoms, gabapentin, muscle relaxants, and sleeping medications act as central nervous system depressants, much like alcohol and benzodiazepines.


Substances like cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA are non-prescription drugs. While intake of these does not involve the manifestation of any physically life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, they can result in severe depression-like symptoms. As a result, managing such withdrawal symptoms requires medically assisted detox to reduce the chances of relapse. Since no medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is available to tackle stimulant misuse, intensive medical care, detox, and rehabilitation become the go-to treatment options to wean individuals off drug use for good.

Synthetic Drugs

Opioid fentanyl is perhaps the most powerful and notorious synthetic drug that many individuals use. There are other ‘designer drugs,’ namely, bath salts, krokodil, or kratom, that induce substantial withdrawal symptoms, which medical detox can successfully manage. Designer drugs have varying ingredients and are not well understood yet, so their withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable. This is why staying away from these drugs during medical detox treatment is recommended to ensure any unexpected withdrawal symptoms can be addressed with prompt action.

Beginning Medical Detox Treatment

If a client presents to treatment as physically addicted to a particular substance, Discover Recovery utilizes pharmacotherapeutic interventions.

More specifically, our medical staff orders medications to alleviate and treat withdrawal related symptoms. Every substance affects the body differently, and every client responds to withdrawal symptoms differently, therefore, our medical staff is able to create individualized orders to address the symptoms, and create a safe and comfortable detoxification experience.

There is no one-size fits all approach to helping someone achieve physical sobriety

The withdrawal phase of recovery can be tenuous, therefore, comfort and safety are priorities as a means to ameliorate the client experience and reduce the risk of a return to old behavior. Substance use has more recently been thought of as a response to pain, either physical or emotional. Managing these symptoms is a vital part of the first few days in treatment as a means to help client safely land, and begin the meaningful work associated with residential treatment.

The Medical Detox Program provides our clients with the support and resources they need to achieve physical sobriety.

Medical Supervision

Round-the-clock supervision by our trained, experienced nursing staff is an essential part of the program

Comfortable Rooms

Spend your time detoxing in comfort and privacy. Our clients enjoy plush, full-sized beds

Symptom Management

We manage our clients’ symptoms to make the detox process as smooth and painless as possible

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How Medical Detoxification Works

We understand that the window of opportunity to ask for help can be limited, so a tremendous amount of caution is exercised to guarantee that we are the ideal location for treatment.
Prior to admission, potential clients receive a thorough pre admission screening. The purpose of this assessment tool is to gain an understanding of the precipitating crisis which has led to the decision to seek help, and identify any risks or concerns.

Pre Admission

The Pre admission process also carefully explores patterns of substance use, taking into consideration drugs of choice, route of administration, frequency of use, duration of use and other biometric data that will inform our medical staff of what the individual might experience related to withdrawal symptoms.

Pre admission assessments are reviewed by our clinical and medical staff as an extra safeguard to any potential risks and, once approved, clients can arrange transportation and arrive at Discover Recovery with a care plan already in place.

At Discover Recovery, we take pride in ensuring that we are the absolute best fit for anyone who earnestly wants help.

The Highest Quality of Care

At Discover Recovery, we believe in providing the highest quality of care. This includes having our center staffed with nurses twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We also have a physician who is on site daily, assessing the medical needs of clients during their treatment episodes. Our medical director is a board certified addictionologist with decades of experience and expertise supervising the detoxification of individual’s suffering from addictive disorders.

Upon arrival, all new clients receive a nursing assessment, and monitoring can begin. All patients will be seen by a physician and provided with a full history and physical examination within twenty- four hours of admission. All of these services allow for an easy and comfortable admission into detox, free from unnecessary pain and anguish.

A Humanistic Approach

The staff at Discover Recovery has decades of experience treating addiction, and are well equipped to handle the symptoms and difficulties associated with most, if not all, substances. Because we employ a humanistic approach towards the treatment of addictive disorders, a client will never feel punished or judged for admitting into treatment. In fact, the choice to seek help is viewed as one of the most courageous action steps an individual can take, and our staff work diligently to reinforce this idea.

Addiction Treatment with Compassion

Addiction can be conceptualized as a response to adversity, or maladaptive coping strategy, not an aspect of one’s character. Because of this clinical and organizational philosophy, clients can expect to be received warmly into an environment of compassion, care, and understanding. The decision to pursue recovery is heroic.

Here at Discover Recovery, we are not only proud of you for seeking a medical detox but will be there for you at every step of the process. This includes treating your mental health as well. Compassion plays an important role in guiding one toward healing and recovery. Recognizing addiction as a complex medical condition, compassionate treatment approaches it with empathy, respect, and understanding.

Compassionate addiction treatment begins with a non-judgmental environment where one can feel safe to share their struggles. This atmosphere fosters trust between inpatients, outpatients, and healthcare professionals, creating a foundation for effective care.

We at Discover Recovery understand that addictions stem from underlying issues, and compassionate providers work to uncover and address these root causes. Throughout the journey, compassionate support remains unwavering. You are met with encouragement, kindness, and belief in the capacity for change. This positive reinforcement strengthens the resolve and motivates one to persevere.

Recovery is a process, and setbacks may occur. At Discover Recovery, relapses are met with understanding and commitment to re-evaluate and adjust the treatment plan as needed. This non-punitive approach helps one regain their footing and continue on the path to sobriety.

By incorporating compassion we aim to foster a sense of belonging, reducing stigma, and ultimately, paving the way for lasting transformation and a brighter, substance-free future.

A New Foundation

The process of detoxification is similar to creating a new foundation. We must make sure that we cultivate an environment that allows for new life to emerge, and by creating a safe and comfortable space, individuals are able to emerge from this period of stabilization with improved clarity, insight and motivation.

Addiction treatment isn’t only about cleansing the body; it is also about maintaining good mental health that can only be birthed in a supportive environment. At Discover Recovery, we are committed to providing real-time support to our guests without making them feel bad about themselves.

What to Expect During Medical Detox

To provide optimum care to each individual undergoing medical detox, the clinical staff creates a custom treatment plan to meet their unique needs. In order to meet these needs adequately, clinicians carry out thorough assessments to screen for drug and alcohol use disorders, co-occurring disorders, medical conditions, triggering psychological factors, and any risks related to symptoms of withdrawal.

Once the assessment is done, medications to reduce the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms are prescribed. For instance, acetaminophen may be prescribed to ease muscle aches. For withdrawing from opioids, a buprenorphine-based product like Suboxone may be prescribed. The duration of the medically assisted detox treatment is determined by the substance use, withdrawal symptoms, and medical history of an individual. For example, an individual who needs an alcohol detox may only need to stay in a facility for two to eight days. On the other hand, someone needing an opioid detox may need a longer time.

How Long Does Medical Detox Last?

Detox is different for different people, and its duration may depend on a number of factors. Substance type is a primary factor, and many substances can be removed from the body faster than others. On average, detox lasts three to fourteen days, during which time the withdrawal symptoms and cravings pass.

That said, the predominant factors associated with drug abuse and alcohol detox treatment include:

Type of Substance Used

As already mentioned, substance use is the primary factor that can determine how long a medical detox will last. For example, alcohol withdrawal symptoms manifest within just a few hours of taking the last drink, which might require a medication that helps with the tapering of its effects over the coming days.

Duration and Frequency of Use

A person will likely develop a physical dependence on a substance if they have been using it for a long time. Similarly, the frequency with which they have been taking it will determine if they become hooked on it. In the case of drugs like benzodiazepines and opioids, physical dependence can materialize in just six to eight weeks if the drugs are used frequently.

Quantity of Substance Used

If an individual is heavily into a substance use, they will likely develop more tolerance for it. This can be attributed to the fact that the body develops a tendency to accommodate an ever-increasing amount of the drug.

Individual Factors

There are individual factors, too, that determine the total length of a detox treatment plan. Body chemistry, weight, metabolic rate, and genetic makeup are some of these factors that might influence when substance withdrawal occurs and how it will respond to the prescribed treatment.

Is Medical Detox Safe?

There is no safer approach to removing substances from the body than a medically assisted detox when an individual goes through substance withdrawal. A medical detox takes place in a licensed facility under the care of experienced medical professionals. So, every phase of this treatment method is supervised by a team of nurses and clinicians led by a physician, who manages the withdrawal experience skillfully. Withdrawal from several substances can lead to fluctuations in vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, so a healthcare provider can track these closely and address any abnormalities immediately.

What Happens After Detox?

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs mark only the beginning of the recovery process. While physical and psychological aspects of addictions can be addressed during the three to five days of being checked into a facility, overcoming the addictions completely is an ongoing process that requires determination and self-restraint from the recovering individuals.

Post the detox treatment, many individuals choose to go for a residential or partial hospitalization treatment for at least 28 days to maximize the impact of medical detox. During this period, they take time to understand the underlying emotional, spiritual, and behavioral reasons for their addiction. These individuals are given the necessary tools to prevent relapse and derive the most benefit from the recovery process to ensure they never have to go back to rehab again.

We Prioritize Safety and Comfort

Medical detox is important for addiction treatment, ensuring safety and comfort. Supervised by healthcare professionals, it uses evidence-based protocols to manage withdrawal symptoms effectively, sometimes with the use of sedatives. The controlled environment allows for swift intervention in case of complications, mitigating potential risks. Medications are also given to ease discomfort and stabilize vital signs, further enhancing safety. Moreover, constant monitoring ensures any unforeseen circumstances are immediately resolved. The expertise of the healthcare team ensures that the detox process is tailored to each individual’s unique needs, minimizing complications.

Discover Recovery also focuses on prioritizing safety and comfort with regard to lodgings and provides a refuge from the recently averted crisis that led to seeking treatment. Providing you with a safe environment is our top-most goal.

We offer large beds, chef-prepared meals, consistent medical supervision, and collaboration with a team of healthcare professionals in order to create this type of setting for inpatient detox and minimize side effects.

Getting Admitted to Medical Detox in Washington

Know someone who’s struggling with alcohol or drug addiction? Lend them a helping hand by admitting them to a detox center in Washington for substance abuse treatment. They might be reluctant to take the first step themselves and call a facility. It’s all about taking charge of the situation before the substance abuse completely takes over and ruins their life.

A well-thought-out line of treatment, starting with a medically assisted detox, can help to put an end to drug and alcohol abuse. The detoxification process enables individuals to get rid of the harmful substances that have accumulated in their system due to prolonged use. So, avoid delaying the process and call us so we can support them with rebuilding their life.

At Discover Recovery, we run a nationally accredited addiction treatment facility renowned in Washington State for giving people their lives back. We have highly skilled clinicians, counselors, and registered nurses, all working under strict scrutiny and the sage guidance of certified addictionologists.

Our medical experts provide personalized treatment, becoming intimately involved and fully invested in every client’s case while taking care of any existing health conditions. At our treatment center, we offer programs to fight opiate, marijuana, meth, heroin, alcohol, and prescription drug addictions, as well as behavioral therapy to improve patients’ behavioral health. Contact us today, and we can help you find a detox program to support you or your loved one regain control of your/their life.

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