Desert Rose Recovery - Palm Beach Alcohol Treatment and Drug Rehab CentersWhat to Expect in Inpatient Detox

What Happens During Drug and Alcohol Detox

Detoxification is the process in which the body rids itself of any harmful substances. When drug and alcohol detox occurs, painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fevers, sweating, anxiety, depression, and intense cravings, often appear. Because of this, the purpose of detox is to mitigate and reduce these symptoms.

However, every person struggling with an addiction will have a difference detox experience. For some drugs, it can days, weeks, or months for the substance to fully run its course. The length of withdrawal will be depending on the specific type of substance and the duration and frequency of the addiction. In addition, genetic makeup, family history, any other medical conditions, or any underlying mental health conditions can also impact the length and intensity of withdrawal.

Detox aims to tackle the physical aspects of addiction, by getting rid of the substance from the body and reducing any change for craving. Due to this, patients are then able to focus their efforts on mental obstacles along the journey to recover from addiction.

What is the Process of Drug and Alcohol Detox?

Even though what to expect during detox is unique to each individual, the process remains mostly the same. Detox can be broken down into a three-step process consisting of evaluation, stabilization, and preparation.


Before the actual detox occurs, the medical staff on hand must evaluate the patient and determine the current state of their health, both mentally and physically. Usually, doctors will conduct a blood test to measure the remaining amount of drugs in the patient’s bloodstream. In addition, the doctor will usually also screen for any other physical conditions or co-occurring mental health disorders that could impact the detox.

With an in-depth evaluation of the patients mental and physical health, the doctors can tailor the rest of the detox to the individual’s needs and establish a strong foundation for recovery.


The goal of the stabilization process is to help the patient achieve mental stability, to the point where they no longer feel the need to continue abusing drugs or alcohol, preventing any further harm. In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications to aid in controlling withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the patient, this second step can take anywhere between one to three weeks.


The whole purpose of detox is to help the patient feel physically healthy and stable in order to prepare them for the rest of their treatment plan. While a certain treatment plan might work for one person, it does not mean it will have universal success. The patient should be educated on all options, such as therapy, support groups, and other long-term treatment plans. While inpatient rehab usually leads to the highest chance of full recovery, it is important to find the best treatment that works for each person.

Even though detox under medical supervision is much safer, certain side effects of detox are unavoidable. Some of the most common symptoms to expect during detox include:

  • Body discomfort

  • Muscle aches

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Nausea

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Mood swings

Should I Detox at Home?

An at home detox can be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. By quitting suddenly, or “cold turkey” can lead to very extreme withdrawal symptoms such as severe dehydration and even seizures. There is a large chance for relapse if the withdrawal symptoms are not managed responsibly. By detoxing at a treatment center, doctors can monitor your mental and physical health while ensuring 24-hour care.

At Desert Rose Recovery, we know that the first steps of addiction recovery are often the hardest. However, knowing what to expect during drug and alcohol detox makes the process far easier. Call us today to learn more about the detox process.

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