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Is Detox Always Necessary?

Any individual that is beginning treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction must go through the detox process.

Detox is defined as the process of removing foreign substances from one’s body. A person that has habitually abused drugs and/ or alcohol over a period of time has developed and reinforced unhealthy habits and patterns surrounding his or her substance use. Regular substance abuse can cause detrimental effects in all areas of one’s life, including the way one’s body becomes reliant upon functioning with the presence of the abused substance in his or her system. When the substance is removed from one’s body his or her system will react, which manifest as withdrawal symptoms. While attending a formal detox program is not entirely necessary for every individual that must detox, undergoing and successfully completing the actual detox process is fundamental to substance abuse and addiction treatment.

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Detox Methods

There are a variety of detox methods available, and each method has benefits and drawbacks. The level of support varies depending on the detox method. Inpatient detox programs require an individual to reside at the detox facility for the duration of the detox process. There are some medically assisted detox programs that offer an individual medical supervision as well as medical intervention, if need be. Medically assisted detox usually provides an individual with twenty-four-hour supervision, to ensure the individual’s safety throughout the duration of the detox process. There are non-medical supervised detox programs that provide an individual with twenty-four-hour access to professional support for the duration of the detox process, without medication. There are outpatient detox programs that allow an individual to undergo detox without residing at a detox facility. Another option is to detox at home, without professional support. The method of detox an individual chooses should align with his or her specific needs, so as to increase one’s probability for a successful outcome.


The duration of detox will vary, as the length of time is dependent upon several contributing factors. These can include, but are not limited to one’s personal health history, the type of substance or substances abused, the potency of the substance, the presence of any co morbid disorders, the age of the individual, as well as the frequency the individual abused substances. Many acute detox programs range from two days to two weeks long, and in some cases longer. Depending on the circumstances, some individuals complete the detox process in as little as two days, while others may take as long as several months.

After Detox

Detox is imperative to one’s substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment, but in order for one’s recovery to continue, the detox process must be followed up with some form of subsequent substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment. There are a variety of treatment options available for an individual in need. Inpatient treatment programs offer twenty-four-hour support as they require the individual to reside at the treatment facility for the duration of the program. The length of time for an inpatient substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program typically ranges between twenty-one days to three months long, and in some cases longer. Inpatient substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment programs can be beneficial for an individual as it allows the individual live in a relatively controlled environment that is free from many potential triggers. Outpatient substance abuse and addiction treatment programs are an alternative to residential treatment programs. An outpatient program offers individuals treatment during the day while the individual remains living at home instead of at the treatment facility. Outpatient programs require an individual to attend a certain number of program hours, daily. Depending on the outpatient program, they generally last between fourteen days long to ninety days long, and in some cases longer. Outpatient programs are a great option for individuals that have obligations that do not enable them to temporarily relocate, as they are able to continue residing at home for the duration of the program.

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Further Information

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. 

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