One of the first steps to overcoming addiction and getting sober is to rid your body of the substance you are abusing. This can be heroin, opiate painkillers (Vicodin, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, etc.), benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, etc.) or alcohol. When someone reaches out to us and asks for help, one of the first questions they ask is what is medical detox and will it help me overcome my addiction?

What is medical detox?
Medical detoxification, or “medical detox”, is the process of removing the abused substances from the addict’s body. The key point to medical detox is that it’s done under medical supervision to keep the client safe and as comfortable as possible. Medical detox safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. Detox can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis. However, medically supervised detox is strongly recommended for alcohol, opiate or benzodiazepine withdrawal, which can be fatal if not properly supervised by a trained medical professional.

Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment. The ultimate goal of a medical detox isn’t to just wean the patient off whatever substance (or substances) they are addicted to, but to propel them into a highly effective experience within the overall addiction treatment process, one that is poised to create a realistic pathway into long-term, quality sobriety.

What does a medical detox entail?

Detox usually includes evaluation, stabilization and transitioning to treatment for the client. Evaluations is both physical and mental, as well as understanding triggers for substance abuse. It’s an overall risk assessment to see what is needed for the next step: stabilization.

Stabilization is when the actual medical detox starts. Going through detox can be very traumatic, both physically and mentally, but trained addiction recovery centers know how to help ease the discomfort. Stabilization may include medications to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, including Suboxone, Naltrexone, Naloxone and others, establishing normal diet and sleep habits (likely disrupted during withdrawal) and then the introduction of treatment for long-term success.

Will it really help overcome addiction?

Medical detox alone will not help someone overcome addiction. This is a critical fact to understand. Medical detox is the first step to overcoming addiction, and an important one at that. Some may be tempted to go it alone or “cold turkey” to help overcome addiction but as stated above, withdrawal from certain substances can be extreme if not fatal. Medical detox is the suggested approach. Once completed, the real work begins: recovery begins after detox.  Detox prepares you to participate in a drug rehab program that includes group meetings, therapy, life skills training, stress management, family counseling, relapse prevention planning and recovery-related activities. It’s important to find an addiction recovery facility that offers a variety of services and treatments, including holistic treatments, to ensure you’re in a program that is designed specifically for your long-term success. Work with an addiction recovery center that looks not only at the clinical issues but at all prevalent matters within the patient’s existence, both in terms of addiction and non-addiction related. They need to address each issue with realistic and actionable solutions.

While medical detox can sound overwhelming, it is the first crucial step to recovery. Medical detox, in conjunction with ongoing treatment, will help you overcome your addiction.

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, pick up the phone and contact a treatment professional immediately. They will work with you and your family, to create lasting success in sobriety, recover and life!

Scottsdale Recovery Center is Arizona’s leader in drug & alcohol addiction treatment, medical detox & recovery support services. Contact us today at 602.346.9142, or visit our website at

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.

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