What Happens in Drug and Alcohol Detox

What Happens in Drug and Alcohol Detox?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Most people with a substance addiction are aware of the dangers they are willingly bringing into their lives. The close calls, the destructive tendencies, and the reckless living take a physical and psychological toll. At some point it becomes clear what is going to have to happen, they are going to end up in jail, the ER, or in a place where they will be able to find help. One aspect that often holds people back from getting out of the grips of addiction is a fear of the first step. At a quality treatment center, detox is handled every day by professionals who are fully equipped to help you through every step of the process. But what exactly happens in a drug and alcohol detox?


If you have been addicted to drugs and alcohol for a considerable length of time, you have more than likely developed a substance dependence issue or you have developed a full-blown addiction. Once you stop adding drugs or alcohol to your system you will feel the onset of withdrawals shortly thereafter. These withdrawals must be managed and handled with care and compassion. A quality medical detoxification program, such as the one offered at First Steps Recovery, will allow you to gradually remove substances from your body in a safe, secure, and highly supervised environment. However, this is only one aspect of the detox process.

Effective drug detox programs use a comprehensive three-step approach that will ensure that you will have the best chance of a meaningful treatment experience.

1. Stabilization

Shortly after the intake process, experienced detox staff will conduct an initial evaluation which includes careful monitoring of the physical and psychological symptoms you are experiencing and any complications that may pose a danger to your health. In order to help minimize the effects of withdrawal, you may be given medications that will aid the detox process as well as other interventions such as nutritional therapy.

No matter what the protocol or therapy method used, you will be under constant supervision by experienced staff in a controlled environment. By allowing your body to gradually rid itself of the toxins that have accumulated as a result of your substance abuse, you can achieve a stable and substance-free state.

2. Evaluation

Secondly, the staff at a quality drug and alcohol detox facility will perform a comprehensive evaluation for any co-occurring physical or mental issues that may be the underlying causes of your addiction.

Often, a substance addiction is a symptom of a deeper and more complex issue, and unless these issues are diagnosed and addressed, the chances of relapse are higher. In the event that a co-occurring condition is discovered, treatment staff will create an individualized plan that will include measures to address those concerns. This evaluation forms the basis of your treatment plan once you enter an intensive drug treatment program.

3. Entry Into Treatment

The third and final step of the medical detoxification process is getting prepared by detox staff to enter a formal drug treatment program. During this transitional period, staff will introduce you to the treatment program you will be entering and will help familiarize you with the essential foundations of your recovery program.

This will include individual and group therapy, and introduction to 12-Step groups and principles, life and coping skills training, and aftercare programs. The overall message that will be relayed to you by staff is that recovery is not only possible, it can be a reality.

The length of time you can expect to stay in a drug and alcohol detoxification program can run on average between 5-14 days. This time period, however, is highly dependent on the severity of your addiction and how you respond to treatment while in detox.

What Happens in Drug and Alcohol Detox at First Steps?

The detox process is an essential foundation for a meaningful long-term recovery. While you may approach it with a certain level of uncertainty, the experienced detox staff at First Steps Recovery will make your safety and comfort their number one priority.

Our programs feature only scientifically proven methods that are administered under controlled conditions and with around the clock supervision. Additionally, we also ensure that you will receive the personal and compassionate care you deserve during the early part of your recovery. Make your recovery a reality today and call First Steps Recovery toll-free right now: 844-489-0836.

Here is a guide on more of what to expect from a detox, including a timeline and withdrawal rundown.

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