When Is Medical Detox Necessary Prior to Residential Treatment

How do you know if someone needs medical detox therapy prior to admission into a residential drug rehab center for addiction?


Information on medical detoxification and residential addiction treatment servicesThere are many instances when a patient, prior to entering a substance abuse treatment center, will require a brief period of medical detoxification. For those unfamiliar with this term, it essentially refers to the process of physically weaning the addict or alcoholic off a given substance which the body has become dependent on. Detoxification occurs on both physical and emotional levels, but it is the physical that causes immense discomfort and in some cases, can be detrimental to the patient to the point of seizures or even death.

There are certain classification of drugs that most commonly warrant the need for a medical detoxification period. These include; alcohol, opiates & opioids (ie., heroin, oxycontin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc) and benzodiazepines (ie., Xanax, Valium, Ativan, etc.). In the case of opiates, the detoxification process typically does not involve a life-threatening condition; however, the physical withdrawal can seem life threatening depending on how high the patient’s daily intake had been to this point. Those coming off of high daily intakes of drugs like heroin, Vicodin, Oxycontin and so forth are likely to experience varying degrees of symptoms such as, fever, nausea, chills, sweats, diarrhea, lack of appetite, aches, etc. Fortunately however, the advent of Suboxone and Subutex over recent years has completely redefined the medical detox process for those withdrawing from opiate and opioid addictions.

When it comes to alcohol and benzodiazepines, however, the detoxification process can create life threatening conditions. With these classes of substances, the body’s physical dependence is such, that the abrupt removal of the drug without proper medication can cause DT’s (delirium tremens), withdrawal seizures and in some extreme circumstances, even death! It is absolutely critical that an individual with habitual daily usage of drugs like alcohol, Valium and Xanax, be admitted for proper diagnoses and subsequent medical detoxification if needed.

When searching for a drug rehab center for yourself or a loved one, it is very important that you be as honest and forthright as possible. The admission representative will ask a series of questions in helping to determine the potential need for detox.  With certain drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and a variety of others, there really exists no physical dependence. There is of course an initial period that may involve anxiety, depression, melancholy and so on, but physical withdrawal symptoms are minimal at best.  One caveat however, regardless of how you answer the admission rep’s questions, any licensed residential treatment facility will ALWAYS have a physician perform an initial physical that includes a variety of tests.

For more information on medical detoxification or treatment, please contact the NuLife staff 24/7 at (888) 508-1170 or by using our online information request form.



NOTE: The information contained in this page is intended solely as a general information source. This information is in no way a formal guideline and should not be used to diagnose a condition.

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