What are the Stages of Detox?

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Clinically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated:


Authored By: Joe Gilmore

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If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to Southern California detox.

Maybe it’s you looking to put drink or drugs behind you, or perhaps you’re looking to support a loved one through recovery. Either way, detox is the first vital step on that journey to sobriety.

Detox allows you to purge all toxins from your body.

Even if you are eager to start drug rehab or alcohol rehab, it’s crucial to take a step back and to give due weight to detoxification. With all substances flushed from your system, you can then get into the legwork of recovery.

The detox process typically takes from 5 to 10 days, depending on the substance and the severity of the addiction. You should consider a detox center in Southern California if you’re looking to maximize your chances of success, while at the same minimizing any discomfort.

The more you learn about addiction, the easier you’ll find engaging with the recovery process. This is not to say it will be straightforward, but it will certainly be easier.

It helps to view detox as your first clear statement of intent to stop using substances, and your first commitment to long-term sobriety.

Stages of Detox

SAMHSA outlines 3 stages of detox:

1. Evaluation Stage Of Detox

In the evaluation stage of detox this is the initial precursor to the actual process of detoxification. Clients will be introduced to the treatment staff, they will do a initial detox prescreening, and attempt to dispels any misconceptions or worries the client may have about the process. In this beginning session the experts at our treatment center will get a better understanding of the support structures in your home, current lifestyle, and check whether there are any co-occuring disorders that may also need attention during treatment.

2. Stabilization Stage of Detox

During stabilization the client will actually begin the detox process. Our expert staff of addiction treatment experts will work with you through withdrawal to keep you medically stable, safe, and as comfortable as possible through the detoxification process. This is the first step to the recovery journey really begins and is a huge milestone to finding independence from substance abuse.

3. Building foundation and willingness for continued treatment

Detoxification is only the first step of treatment ending your body’s physical dependence on drug abuse. Proper planning of your detox in Southern California should be considered the first crucial step, so how can you get started with alcohol rehab or drug addiction treatment.

What Is Detoxification?

Detox, or detoxification, is the overarching process of clearing your body of toxins from drug or alcohol abuse.

When detox is used in relation to alcohol abuse or substance abuse, it refers to the length of time your body takes to metabolize all these toxins.

Detox programs in Southern California are normally delivered in a drug rehab or alcohol rehab treatment center.

There are three objectives underpinning detox:

1. Assisting with the safe and comfortable processing of toxins from the body

2. Managing any withdrawal symptoms, with tapered medication if required

3. Establishing a sound foundation for ongoing recovery

Types of Detox

Drug and alcohol detox can be cleaved into two main types:

  • Medically-assisted detox
  • Social, clinically-managed detox

Medically-assisted detox

With moderate or severe addictions to alcohol or drugs, and especially when continuing treatment is required, a medically-assisted detox gives you the strongest start in the recovery process.

Chronic alcohol or substance abuse tends to trigger adverse withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. These can be quite acute and uncomfortable. Detox with the aid of prescription medications is much less uncomfortable.

You’ll also minimize the risks of any complications occurring, and you’ll be perfectly placed to receive immediate treatment if anything goes amiss.

Social, clinically-managed detox

Anyone using alcohol or drugs can try stopping utilizing a simple, short-term strategy. From a room in a house with support on hand to engaging with formal support systems, social detox is simple in theory: stop using drink or drugs while flushing your system of toxins.

As with all aspects of recovery, though, it’s putting the theory into practice that can prove problematic. Particularly with cases of moderate to severe addiction, social detox tends to be ineffective, potentially even dangerous.

What Substances Call for Detox?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the following are the main classes of substance that need detox before recovery can commence:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opioids
  • Alcohol
  • Crack
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Molly
  • Heroin and opiates

Detox is most effective when it’s acutely personalized. The level of dependence, the type of substance, the length of the addiction, and your personal circumstances.

If you are put off seeking out treatment for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder because of cost concerns, you needn’t be. In Southern California, you can find many options for support beyond insurance, including Medi-Cal financing for low-income families. Don’t let the thought of financial barriers stop you from recovering.

In most cases, in-patient detox with the aid of medication has the most chance of success partnered with the lowest risk.

Now, this is certainly not always necessary, and in the cases of mild substance use disorders, home detox is often sufficient.

What can you expect from the detox process, then?

Medically-Assisted Detox: The Safest and Most Effective Strategy

You need to keep firmly in mind before you start that detoxing from alcohol or drugs is only the first tentative step on a lifelong journey of sobriety.

Over anywhere from 5 to 10 days, you can expel all toxins from your body in relative comfort and complete safety. During this time, you can be actively monitored, whether you’re in an inpatient rehab setting, or opting for a social detox. Flushing your system should be accompanied by nutrient-dense meals, proper hydration, and any necessary supplementation.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) data shows that most detoxes last less than 8 days.

If appropriate, prescription medications are administered to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and to manage any underlying mental health disorders. You won’t need to worry about replacing one addiction with another addiction. Medication will be tapered and given in a controlled setting.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) recommends the following medications:

  • Alcohol withdrawal: Disulfiram, Campral
  • Opioid withdrawal: Methadone, Suboxone
  • Cravings for alcohol or opioids: Vivitrol
  • Anxiety: Lorazepam
  • Seizures: Diazepam
  • Blood pressure: Clonidine
  • Sleep: Ambien

Alcohol Rehab and Detox

Mild alcohol use disorder can be treated in an outpatient rehab setting, but most moderate to severe cases of AUD benefit from partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) or residential rehab.

Whether you opt for inpatient or outpatient rehab, the most acute withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse dissipate within a week. Some symptoms linger for several months. Part of any effective medical detox involves equipping you with the skills to negotiate these post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).

These are all FDA-approved medications that can help with detox and recovery from alcohol abuse:

  • Naltrexone: Blocks opioid receptors in the brain
  • Disulfiram: Stops an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol
  • Acamprosate: Mitigates alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Opioid or Opiate Rehab and Detox

In most cases of heroin use disorder or opioid use disorder, detox in a residential rehab can make things easier and more comfortable. There’s also less chance of an opioid overdose as you won’t have access to opioids.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms are not dissimilar to those triggered by alcohol withdrawal. The following FDA-approved medications can be used to alleviate various elements of detox and recovery from opioid abuse:

Methadone: Reduces cravings and alleviates withdrawal symptoms

Naltrexone: Blocks opioid receptors in the brain, can prevent relapse

Buprenorphine: Reduced withdrawal symptoms but delivers no opioid high

Southern California Detox at Renaissance Recovery

If you choose to follow a detox for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder here at Renaissance Recovery, you’ll have the chance to build a stable foundation for lasting sobriety. Detox might be a single event, but recovery is a process, and one we’ll guide you through.

Whether you need a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program, we’ll personalize a treatment program to suit.  Here at Renaissance, our dual diagnosis addiction treatment program is designed to treat any underlying mental health conditions at the same time as the addiction to drink or drugs. Get things started by calling the admissions team today on 866.330.9449.866.330.9449

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

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Paige R

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“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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