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Is Detox The Same For Alcohol and Other Drugs?

The Process for Alcohol and Drug Detox

Detoxification, or detox, is the first step towards life-long recovery and sobriety. The purpose of drug and alcohol detox is to rid the body of toxins that result from a continuous period of substance abuse. Detox also helps the body return to homeostasis, a balanced state of chemical equilibrium.

When a person abuses drugs or alcohol for a long time, internal systems adapt to the presence of those substances. When they stop using or drinking, the body must adapt and create new states of balance.  This period of adjustment is called withdrawal.  Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the type of drug present in the body. The health risks of going cold turkey (without the help of a treatment center) can be uncomfortable, painful, or even life-threatening. The symptoms of alcohol addiction and withdrawal impact a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health. Detox at an accredited treatment center helps to ease the process as neurotransmitters, hormones, and other naturally produced chemicals readapt to the absence of drugs or alcohol in the body.

Addiction treatments will differ for each individual due to factors such as lived experience, general health, length of time binge drinking, or the type of drug abuse. However, the United States Department of Health and Human Services recognizes three steps in the drug and detoxification process:


A medical team may analyze a substance abuser’s blood or urine to determine or verify the type and level of substance present in the body’s systems. This step may also involve a mental and physical health screening to aid in outlining a long-term treatment plan. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome for people who have stopped drinking and drug withdrawal syndrome can be painful or life-threatening, so the utmost care is given at a treatment center.


A series of psychological and medical therapies guide substance abusers through detoxification. Depending on the patient’s needs, prescription medications may be recommended to ease withdrawal symptoms. Family members, friends, or loved ones may be included to support emotional and mental health.


This process readies substance abusers for recovery, which may include aftercare plans, such as moving to a long-term treatment facility or receiving outpatient treatment and support. Often, patients agree to participate in a drug alcohol withdrawal rehabilitation program, as detox does not address nor cure the psychological aspects of drug and alcohol addiction or harm loved ones’ dependence on alcohol may have caused.

To discover the benefits of addiction treatment at Novo Detox and start the admission process, click here to call (844) 834-1777 today.

Length of Alcohol Detox vs. Drug Detox

Though the detox timeline of both drugs and alcohol addiction recovery have many similarities, fundamental differences exist for either. Much of the detox process aims to mitigate any harmful or painful effects of withdrawal syndrome, including those associated with emotional or mental health. Most cases of alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start within a few hours after the last drink, with the greatest intensity of systems appearing within a few days. Detoxing from alcohol can last for weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction and when the abuser stopped drinking. Each drug has a wide range of possibilities for side effects and saturation levels, withdrawal symptoms, detox, and recovery duration most often depends significantly on the individual’s personal circumstances, relationship to the drug abuse, and current or past health issues.

Medications Used During Alcohol Detox

Drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes dangerous. A large element of the detox process involves managing these effects to keep the patient calm, comfortable, and safe. During detox, a professional care team may use pharmaceutical regimens to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal. These medications mirror how opiates and other drugs work without providing a sense of euphoria, allowing the patient to detox without or with lessened drug or alcohol withdrawal syndrome.. Some of the medications prescribed are:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Clonidine
  • Naltrexone

These medications mirror how opiates and other drugs work without providing a sense of euphoria, allowing the patient to detox without or with lessened drug or alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Outpatient recovery programs or long-term rehabilitation programs with a competent and professional care team offer better chances of successful recovery from alcohol dependence.

Top Choice for Alcohol and Drug Detox – Novo Detox

Novo Detox is part of a nationwide network of recovery and rehabilitation treatment centers providing all levels of care for addiction treatment, signs of alcohol addiction, drug abuse, and excessive alcohol intake. Fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the California Department of Health Care Services, and SAMHSA, Novo Detox medical center provides detox and residential treatment that emphasizes medical safety, comfort, and nourishment, such as alcohol counseling. Our medical team monitors and implements changes to a patient’s personal plan to provide the utmost comfort, safety, and security for those going through drug and alcohol detox signs and symptoms. This process includes treating the symptoms of alcohol addiction and withdrawal syndromes and their effect on men’s and women’s health. Contact Novo Detox at (844) 834-1777 for additional information about our enhanced levels of care and which inpatient or outpatient treatment center is right for you.