What Happens in Detox?

Embarking on the journey to recovery is a commendable step, but like any journey, understanding the path ahead is vital. Grasping the detox process is not just about being prepared; it’s about empowerment. Knowing what your body and mind will undergo sets clear expectations and equips you with the confidence to face challenges head-on. 

Before you tread the path to sobriety, take a moment to educate yourself about the detox process. At Detox West Tennessee, we offer a beacon of hope and a path to recovery. Our expert team, holistic approach, and state-of-the-art facility ensure you receive the best care and support on your journey toward sobriety. Embrace a brighter future today and take the first courageous step with us. Contact us today to begin and learn what happens in detox!

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What is Detox?

Drug and alcohol detox is the process by which the body is systematically cleansed of harmful substances accumulated due to prolonged substance abuse. This procedure often occurs in a controlled medical environment where professionals monitor and manage potential withdrawal symptoms, ensuring the safety and comfort of the individual undergoing detoxification. 

Detox is a crucial initial step in the journey to recovery. It lays the foundation for effective therapy and long-term sobriety. It not only provides immediate health benefits by eliminating toxins from the body but also prepares the individual mentally and emotionally for the subsequent phases of treatment. Without detox, harmful residues can remain in the system, perpetuating cravings and undermining the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

Understanding What Happens in Detox

Understanding what happens in detox can significantly alleviate the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the detoxification process. Detox West Tennessee is committed to guiding clients through every step, ensuring a safe and supportive environment. This article will provide an overview of the drug and alcohol detox process, shedding light on questions like “What is detox like?” and “How long is detox?”


1. Initial Assessment

When a client first arrives at a detox center, professionals will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the severity of their addiction, their physical health, and any underlying medical or psychological conditions. This evaluation will guide the creation of a tailored detox plan for their unique needs.

2. Transition into a Controlled Environment

Understanding what happens at a detox center begins with realizing that a significant detox component is the controlled environment. Once admitted, the client will be in a space free from drugs, alcohol, and potential triggers. This ensures the detox process is as smooth and safe as possible.

3. Medical Supervision and Assistance

One of the most common concerns is, “What happens during detox?” The body begins to expel drugs, alcohol, and other toxins, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild (e.g., nausea, anxiety) to severe (e.g., seizures, hallucinations). However, at Detox West Tennessee, medical professionals closely monitor and manage these symptoms, often utilizing medications to alleviate discomfort and potential complications.

4. Therapy and Counseling

Understanding what detox is like extends beyond the physical aspect. Mental and emotional challenges often arise during detoxification. To address this, detox centers incorporate therapy and counseling sessions. These sessions help individuals cope with cravings, understand the root causes of their addiction, and prepare for ongoing recovery.

5. Duration of Detox

A frequent question is, “How long is detox?” The duration varies depending on the substance, the severity of the addiction, and individual factors. Generally, detox can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Regardless of the length, the goal is to ensure that each client is physically stable and ready for the next phase of the recovery journey.

6. Post-detox Transition

Once the detox process concludes, the journey isn’t over. Detox is the first step towards recovery. Professionals will guide each client toward further treatment options, such as inpatient rehab, outpatient programs, or support groups.

7. Continuous Support

Lastly, it is essential to understand that what happens during detoxification is a stepping stone to long-term recovery. Detox West Tennessee provides continuous support, ensuring clients can access resources, counseling, and care even after detox.

What happens in Detox? A man struggles with addiction.

Withdrawal Symptoms & What to Expect

It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms can vary widely from person to person and depend on factors like the duration and level of substance misuse, individual physiology, and more. Additionally, the specific substance will impact the type of withdrawal symptoms, which can be both physical and psychological in nature. For example, alcohol withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal lead to serious health-related complications. 

Below are some common withdrawal symptoms associated with commonly misused chemical substances:


  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Sweating and rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaky hands (tremors)
  • Hallucinations (in severe cases)
  • Seizures (in severe cases)
  • Delirium tremens (DTs) with confusion and severe agitation (in severe cases)

Opioids (e.g., heroin, prescription painkillers)

  • Strong cravings
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Runny nose and teary eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps 
  • Yawning


Benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Valium)

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations (in severe cases)
  • Seizures (in severe cases)

Stimulants (e.g., cocaine, amphetamines)

  • Fatigue and extreme tiredness
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Intense cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis (in severe cases)

Hallucinogens (e.g., LSD, mushrooms)

  • Flashbacks and hallucinations
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Inhalants (e.g., paint, solvents)

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of coordination

It is crucial to remember that withdrawal symptoms can be intense and challenging to manage without professional help, especially in cases of severe substance misuse. Seeking medical or psychiatric assistance is essential for a safe and effective recovery.

Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be a physically and emotionally agonizing experience, often acting as a significant barrier to individuals seeking recovery from substance use disorders. Fortunately, there are many effective treatment options available. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for drug and alcohol withdrawal holds paramount importance in the realm of addiction recovery. MAT helps alleviate these withdrawal symptoms, providing a more manageable and humane pathway to sobriety. By utilizing FDA-approved medications in conjunction with behavioral therapy and counseling, MAT not only mitigates the discomfort of detoxification but also reduces the potential for relapse. 

This approach recognizes the biochemical changes in the brain due to addiction and offers a comprehensive, evidence-based method to support individuals in their journey towards lasting recovery. Moreover, by curbing cravings and stabilizing the patient’s neurological and physiological state, MAT can enhance engagement in other therapeutic interventions, fostering holistic healing and promoting long-term abstinence.

Therapeutic Intervention

Therapeutic intervention for drug and alcohol withdrawal serves as a cornerstone in the journey towards recovery from addiction. Beyond just addressing the physical symptoms of withdrawal, therapeutic interventions delve into the psychological, emotional, and social factors that contribute to substance use disorders. By providing a supportive environment for individuals to express their feelings, confront underlying traumas, and develop coping strategies, these interventions address the root causes of addiction. 

Additionally, therapeutic methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and holistic therapy equip individuals with the tools they need to maintain sobriety and prevent relapse. Engaging in therapy during withdrawal can also help individuals build a robust support system, fostering connections with peers and professionals who understand their struggles and can offer guidance. In essence, therapeutic interventions not only facilitate the detoxification process but also lay the groundwork for a sustainable and holistic recovery.

A woman finds out what happens in detox through an individual therapy session.

Begin Your Journey at Our Knoxville Detox Today 

Embarking on the detox journey can be daunting. However, knowledge is power. You can face the process confidently by understanding what happens in detox and knowing what to expect. At Detox West Tennessee, our mission is to support, guide, and care for you every step of the way. With compassionate care, proven treatments, and unwavering support, we will help you transform your life. Remember, detox is a courageous and pivotal first step towards a brighter, substance-free future. Reach out to us today. Together, we will pave the path to a brighter tomorrow.

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370 North Cumberland St.
Jackson Tennessee, 38301


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