Medically Supervised Detox

The Importance of Detox in a Supervised Setting

Detoxification refers to the process by which an individual gets rid of toxic substances in their body through different methods. This can be done with the help of doctors or other health professionals.

The objective of detox is controlled withdrawal that helps you overcome physical and psychological dependency on drugs or alcohol.

A medically-assisted detox is typically the first step when it comes to drug rehab programs. However, there are certain cases when people may need immediate assistance. In those situations, emergency services may be required.

In the following sections, you’ll learn about medically supervised detox and its various benefits. The various steps during the process are highlighted as well.

What Is Medically Supervised Detox?

The first step towards recovery is to get out of harm’s way. If you suffer from severe complications due to addiction, immediately seek medical attention.

  • You should consult a doctor or a trained professional if you think you might be experiencing symptoms such as tremors, seizures, hallucinations, and other disorientation. A doctor can decide whether you need to be admitted into a hospital or not.
  • Drugs and alcohol affect us differently, but they still cause similar symptoms in our bodies. For instance, both of them affect the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, heart muscle, blood vessels, brain function, and so on.
  • Therefore, doctors prescribe medications to treat these side effects. During drug or alcohol detox, clients take medication specifically designed to manage certain conditions that arise while breaking away from alcohol or substance abuse.
What are the Benefits of a Medical Detox Setting

What are the Benefits of a Medical Detox Setting?

  • It gives you peace of mind. Because of constant monitoring, you wouldn’t have to worry about relapses or the consequences of dangerous changes to your mental state.
  • Your withdrawal symptoms won’t be as severe. Most people indeed start craving their old habits after starting a detox. But since a detox is conducted under the supervision of experts, you won’t have to deal with extreme pain and discomfort.
  • Your family members will have easier access to you. They won’t have to wait for days before being able to meet up with you. Medical detox provides 24/7 care. So, even if you live far away, your loved ones can easily reach out to you.
  • You will receive proper nutrition. Your dietician will keep track of everything you eat and drink. He or she will make sure that you consume nutritious food regularly.
  • A good sleep environment. Since you’re spending most of your day sleeping, the staff will ensure that you get adequate rest every night.
  • You’ll be surrounded by supportive peers. Many people who’ve undergone detox find it difficult to stay motivated alone. By joining a group program, you’ll have a lot more support than ever before.

The effects of withdrawal can be extremely severe, especially if you don’t participate in medically-assisted detox. Effects vary depending on the individual’s drug of choice.

The Effects of Withdrawal from Alcohol or Drugs

Withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can lead to several unpleasant reactions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, and weakness. Some of these side effects could be milder, while others could be quite severe. People often complain of headaches, dizziness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.

Alcohol withdrawal is one of the most severe, and aside from benzodiazepines like Xanax or Klonopin, it is the only withdrawal that can lead to death.

However, medically supervised detox providers handle these issues effectively. Clients undergo round-the-clock observation and take medicine accordingly. As soon as you enter detox, you will be monitored closely for signs of distress.

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The Stages of Effective Addiction Treatment Begin with Detox

When it comes to treating addictions, there are three main stages. Each stage focuses on specific factors related to addiction recovery. Here are brief descriptions of each one.

Preparation Phase

In this phase, you will learn about the disease of addiction, explore new ways to cope with stress, improve eating habits, practice relaxation techniques, etc. All these things aim to build your resilience against cravings.

Intensive Phase

In this phase, you will focus on building healthy relationships with your family and friends, practicing positive behaviors, engaging in productive activities, learning coping skills, and developing effective plans for future goals.

Aftercare Phase

Once you complete detox, you will continue living in a residential program. The goal of this phase is to maintain sobriety and prevent relapse. You will also participate in regular check-ups and counseling sessions.

What are the Features of a Medically Supervised Detox

What are the Features of a Medically Supervised Detox?

There are many medically supervised detox center features that set them apart from less rigorous detoxification settings. Let’s look at some of these features.

24-Hour Emergency Response Team

Medical emergencies are common among individuals undergoing detox. Hence, they require quick action. The staff at Icarus Behavioral are always ready to attend to such needs. They are equipped with life-saving equipment like defibrillators, stethoscopes, pulse oximeters, and EKG monitors.

Clients’ Rights

Detox centers follow the rules and regulations established by healthcare organizations. They conduct thorough background checks on employees and volunteers. Furthermore, they pay close attention to client privacy. They never disclose personal information about you to anyone else unless you give explicit permission.

Dedicated Nurses and Psychologists

Unlike other rehab settings, detoxes employ only licensed and experienced professionals. Our qualified personnel works tirelessly to bring you back to a stable and sober state.

Group Therapy

Instead of focusing on individual treatment, detox places emphasize social interaction among participants. Group meetings offer opportunities for peer education and emotional support. In addition, it promotes accountability and responsibility among patients.

Family Involvement

Family members play an active role in rehab settings. But in detox, they become part of the treatment plan along with their loved ones.


While going through detox, you would likely lose interest in food. But not at a medically supervised detox facility. Every meal provided here is nutritionally balanced.

Pharmaceutical Support

Medication is prescribed as well to relieve the most uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. The following section highlights the potential medication options during detox.

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Medications Used During Medical Detox

While many different medications can be prescribed to help ease withdrawal symptoms, one of the most common is clonidine, a blood pressure medication that can lower anxiety and help with hypertension. Occasionally, limited forms of short-acting benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, are also given as a means of reducing the stress undergone by the body during detox and allowing clients to get some much-needed rest.

Lastly, antihistamines are another commonly prescribed remedy. Antihistamines reduce anxiety, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and insomnia. Doctors use antihistamine prescriptions to improve patient comfort during medically-assisted detox as an alternative to benzos.

Because of the provisions in a medical detox setting, the process is much safer. Cold turkey detox includes the risk of developing further complications associated with the symptoms of withdrawal.

Can Detoxing Cold Turkey Be Dangerous?

Cold turkey detoxing refers to quitting substance use suddenly without any form of preparation. According to research conducted by Dr. Gwen Jorgensen, a clinically trained psychologist specializing in psychopharmacology and addictions, abrupt cessation leads to a greater chance of relapse compared to gradual reduction.

She states that sudden abstinence causes a spike in stress hormones called glucocorticoids that trigger cravings and lead to depressive episodes. Without proper preplanning, users end up backsliding due to psychological distress.

Another study published in Clinical Psychology Review found similar results. Researchers studied 1,069 participants addicted to cocaine, heroin, opiates, marijuana, inhalants, amphetamines, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, prescription drugs, tobacco, and multiple substances. Participants went through either gradual detox or rapid detox.

Those experiencing quick withdrawals experienced higher chances of relapsing in the near term compared to those following slow reductions. Of course, every case is unique, depending on the individual.

If you’re thinking about cold turkey or at-home detox, you should be aware of the risks involved with these decisions.

Risks Involved with At-Home Detox

What are the Risks Involved with At-Home Detox?

One major drawback of at-home detox is that it doesn’t offer much real guidance. Users are largely left on their own with no resources or medical relief.

Here are some dangers associated with at-home detox:

  • Self-diagnosing/medicating. Since patients don’t have reliable sources of information, they sometimes try to diagnose themselves without consulting a physician. Without medical supervision, they risk making wrong decisions that could worsen their condition.
  • Relapse prevention. Patients often believe that they can quit using drugs or alcohol just like that. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to stop using substances overnight without any preparation.
  • Unsafe practices. Some people use homemade concoctions to aid their attempts to break away from addiction. Though harmless in theory, these remedies pose serious threats to your health.
  • Lack of motivation. Sometimes, people stop detoxing shortly after they start. Motivation plays a vital role in overcoming substance abuse disorder. Lack of it makes it tough to stick to abstinence, especially when combined with painful physical withdrawal symptoms.

To sum up, medically supervised detox is the best option for those struggling with substance abuse disorder. It allows for faster recovery and better long-term health outcomes.

One of the biggest questions regarding the medical detox process is the length of time it takes to complete these programs.

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How Long Is Medically Supervised Detox?

The average medically supervised detox lasts around 3 – 10 days. However, patients’ conditions vary greatly based on tolerance to certain medicines, the severity of addiction, and overall health.

Typically, you’ll spend the first 24 hours receiving vital information and answering questions pertaining to your personal history. Once admitted, your care team monitors your progress daily.

Throughout your stay, expect frequent visits from psychologists, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, and dieticians. These professionals will help manage your various ailments as well as educate you on coping mechanisms.

After treatment, it can take 4 – 6 months or more for your brain chemistry to return to normal. When you finish detox, you may find yourself craving old habits again.

To counteract this effect, Icarus provides complete aftercare planning along with a full continuum of care that includes our Alumni programming and group gatherings. Research has proven that engaging in healthy activities improves mental health and prevents relapse.

What Happens After Medically Supervised Detox?

After completing detox, you’ll continue working with your treatment team to establish a stable and lasting recovery. The main goal here is to determine whether you still suffer from underlying problems that led to alcohol or substance use.

Although you completed detox, it doesn’t mean that you fully recovered. Instead, our staff will help you identify triggers and develop strategies to deal with them.

Effective Recovery Begins with Medically Supervised Detox

Medically-supervised detox is one of the biggest foundational elements of recovery. At Icarus Behavioral Health, we refer to top medical detox facilities in the area and then follow up afterward with our acclaimed inpatient and outpatient offerings.

If you’re ready to get a recommendation for detox and then join us for inpatient (or outpatient) treatment contact a member of our Admissions staff now and let’s start putting your treatment plan together today for a brighter tomorrow!

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