A patient will be asked numerous questions by a doctor or other
staff member, so that they can determine if detoxification is needed or
how to handle the detoxification process.
Most of the time
hospitalization is not needed; instead many programs offer community
settings for detoxification. The detoxification process usually takes
three to seven days and patients are monitored around the clock by
staff. The staff is trained in dealing with drug or alcohol
detoxification and will prescribe medication that can help in the
process if it is needed. Most people do not need medication though.
Rest, exercise and proper nutrition are enough to help the body rid
itself of the drug.
There are also numerous alternative detoxification programs. Many of
these are based on the idea that medication is not needed as long as
you understand the body and provide your body with the nutrients it
needs to cleanse itself. It should be understood that some drugs are
dangerous if they are stopped immediately. For example, some stimulants
and sedatives can cause seizures, so it is always important that a
health professional helps you set up a plan and monitors your
Many detoxification programs are in conjunction with a larger program
that helps an individual in numerous aspects of their lives. Most
substance abuse treatment specialists view detoxification as only the
first step in a process that will help the individual achieve a
lifestyle in which drug use will not occur again. Experts say that
other help is needed because often substance abusers have what is known
as a dual diagnosis. This means that while drug abuse may be the
obvious problem in a person’s life, there is often another underlying
problem such as depression or bi-polar disorder. So detoxification is
only the first part of finding out how to treat a person so that drug
use will not happen again.