The Drug and Alcohol Detox Process

Whether you enter a standalone detox facility or an inpatient program with detox services, the medically supervised drug detoxification process will generally progress as such:

Step 1: Evaluation

Upon beginning drug detoxification, the patient undergoes testing to see which specific substances – and the specific amounts of each – are presently circulating in his or her bloodstream. Clinicians also evaluate the patient for potential co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis and mental/behavioral issues.

Step 2: Stabilization

In this stage, the patient is guided through the process of detoxification. This may be done with or without the use of medications, but the former is more common.

Another aspect of stabilization is explaining to the patient what to expect during treatment and the recovery process. Where appropriate, the patient’s loved ones are brought in at this time to become involved and show support.

Step 3: Guiding Patient into Treatment

The last step of the detoxification process is to ready the patient for the actual recovery process. As drug detoxification only deals with the physical dependency and addiction to substances, it does not address the psychological aspects of drug addiction.

This stage of detox entails obtaining agreement from the patient to complete the rehab process by enrolling in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.