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What Is Drug Detox?

a woman going through drug withdrawal in bed should get to a medical detox center right away for help

The terminology used in the field of substance abuse treatment can be a little complicated, especially for people who may not have had previous experience with it. What is the difference between ‘detoxing’ and ‘drug detox?’ How does a detox program differ from a traditional rehab program? What happens in a medical detox center? People and families who are dealing with addiction often have lots of questions about what terms mean and what will happen, and it can be very empowering to be able to have those questions answered. Reach out to DetoxLA at 818.616.7341 for more information.

What Does it Mean to Detox from Drugs?

Detoxing is a term that is often used to describe the process of going through physical withdrawal from a drug. When a person has been using certain drugs over a period of time, the body makes changes to its functions and systems to account for the presence of the drug. When the drug is suddenly stopped, those functions and systems start changing back in an attempt to stay in balance. This is what is called ‘detoxing’ or ‘withdrawal.’

The symptoms of withdrawal can be uncomfortable, distressing, and sometimes even medically risky. This is why many people choose to seek treatment from a medical detox program or substance abuse treatment center. Some of the symptoms that can occur when withdrawing from drugs are:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Neurological symptoms such as tremors or shaking
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sweating or shivering
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

What Is a Medical Detox Program?

In a medical detox program, clients usually stay at the treatment center for the duration of their withdrawal. During this time, medical and therapeutic staff monitor clients closely to make sure that they are tolerating withdrawal well and are safe and as comfortable as possible. Clients are frequently given medicines and treatments that are helpful in reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes, clients are transitioned onto different medicines that, while similar to the drugs they have been using, are safer. Then, clients can be gradually stepped-down to reduce the impact of severe withdrawal.

How Is a Detox Program Different from a Traditional Rehab Program?

Whereas a traditional rehab program treats clients in all stages of their recovery, detox programs focus mostly on clients who are just beginning their recovery journey. For those who are dealing with a physical addiction to drugs, a detox program can be a good choice because the time of quitting drugs is very delicate. In fact, a person is at the highest risk of accidental overdose when they have recently quit using. Also, certain drugs, such as benzos, can be medically risky if they are suddenly stopped without medical supervision. For these reasons, seeking help from a program that specializes in treating people who are in the process of quitting can be the safest option.

What Happens After the Detoxing Is Over?

After the acute withdrawal phase of recovery, clients continue to need support and care to maintain their recovery. Frequently, detox programs will either have other programs for people who are ready to transition to the next phase of recovery or will have relationships with other treatment centers that do. There are many options for treatment beyond detox, and a good detox center will help you find the one that will work for you.

DetoxLA Offers Drug and Alcohol Detox

At our treatment center in Tarzana, California, we help our clients to begin their recovery in the best way. Our staff of clinicians has the knowledge and experience to guide you or your loved one through this difficult and important time. Reach out to us today at 818.616.7341 or by filling out our online form to learn how we can help.