Detox is an essential first step of most recovery plans. While some rehab centers integrate detox into a long-term treatment program, other centers are dedicated detox facilities that you only attend during the withdrawal period. In both cases, detox centers provide the medical supervision and support you need to detox safely and open the door to a productive and joyful sober life.

When Do You Need A Medical Detox?

You usually need a medical detox when you have a physical dependence on a substance.

You develop a physical dependence when you take certain substances repeatedly over a period of time. Your body gets used to the presence of the drug and adjusts its natural production of certain chemicals, so you begin to need the drug just to feel normal.

If you suddenly stop taking the substance, you may experience certain withdrawal symptoms as your body readjusts. These symptoms are often uncomfortable or even dangerous. In some cases, like alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, you can experience seizures, hallucinations, and tremors that can be fatal.

Many people with a physical dependence on a substance also have an addiction. Addiction is slightly different from dependence and describes the compulsive seeking of a substance. It causes strong urges and cravings to use a substance that can be difficult to resist. Going to detox can help you manage these urges in the initial stages of withdrawal.

Can You Detox By Yourself?

If you are struggling with substance abuse, the thought of detox can be overwhelming. You may be wondering if you need to check into a treatment facility or if you can just detox safely at home.

While everyone’s withdrawal experience is different – depending on the kind of drug and how long you used it – you should seek professional advice and have medical supervision for any withdrawal. Professional treatment centers know how to taper off usage to make the process more comfortable and safely manage any withdrawal symptoms. Without proper supervision, severe symptoms can be extremely dangerous and can even lead to death.

However, it is a myth that detox always involves taking a full break from your daily life. In some circumstances, it is safe to detox by visiting an outpatient facility. Outpatient detox involves a regular check-up with medical staff and an individualized detox plan but does not require you to stay in a center. It can be a cheaper and more convenient alternative to inpatient detox.

In other cases, however, twenty-four-hour supervision is necessary for your safety. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) recommends inpatient treatment for alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Where Can You Go to Detox?

Detox is an essential first stage of most addiction treatment plans and paves the way for long-term treatment. Many rehab centers integrate detox into their program and offer a detox facility on-site. After detox, you attend various treatment sessions, including behavioral therapy, counseling, and support groups.

Integrated detox programs allow you to work with the same staff and medical team throughout your rehabilitation experience. They gain insight into your addiction through the detox process that can be useful in later stages of treatment. You may also go through your treatment with the same people, which helps you develop strong and supportive friendships and networks with others in recovery.

On the other hand, some treatment facilities are dedicated detox centers. These have the advantage that you are all in the same place in your recovery journey – you will not find yourself in a support group meeting with someone who is six months sober during your first week of detox. You may find it easier to relate to everyone around you and gain strength from your shared experience.

Remember, if you attend a dedicated detox facility, you must continue treatment in another center afterwards. Detox helps you safely manage acute withdrawal symptoms but, by itself, does little to change long-term substance abuse. Overcoming the underlying causes of addictive behavior is necessary to achieve long-term sobriety and prevent you from returning to drug use.

What’s the Right Choice for You?

Dedicated detox centers and integrated programs both have benefits – it’s about finding the right choice for you. If you are uncertain about where you want to detox, you may want to seek the advice of a medical professional. Calling up different rehab centers can be helpful – you can usually reach an expert to talk you through the different options they offer and which will best suit you.

Once you are properly informed, you can decide where to start your recovery journey and take the first steps on the road to sobriety.