If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, the idea of simply quitting cold turkey can be tempting. However, quitting some drugs—including benzodiazepines, fentanyl, and alcohol—without medical intervention can be dangerous, even deadly. This is where detoxification treatment enters the picture. Detox can allow those dealing with substance use issues to clear their body of drugs or alcohol in a safe environment.

Learn more about what detox is, when it’s appropriate, the types of detoxification programs available, and what to know before pursuing this option.

For Mecklenburg County residents, having success with detox can be as simple as getting to Anuvia. We can give you helpful information if you call us at (704) 445-6900 before arriving.

Jump Ahead

When is Detox Treatment Necessary?

Detox may be recommended when:

  • The client has physical withdrawal symptoms like sweating, vomiting, or seizures
  • The client has been a heavy substance user for an extended period
  • The client has unsuccessfully tried to detox on their own
  • The client uses a high-risk substance (like fentanyl or other opioids)

People who have attempted to detox on their own in the past and were not successful are often good candidates for a detox program.

Social Setting Detox vs Medical Detox

Substance use treatment typically begins with an admissions screening. This is a brief screening to determine if the person seeking services will be best served in a social setting detox, like Anuvia’s detox program. Or the person may need another level of care, like a medical detox program. If a person suffers from seizures or more serious withdrawal symptoms, they would be referred to a higher level of detox, which would be medical detox. Anyone that has a history of seizures would need medications from their primary provider in order to be able to be appropriately supported at our detox.

What Does Detox Treatment Look Like?

The detox experience can be different for everyone—it will depend on the type of drug(s) the client used, how much was used, and how long the client used them. Generally, there are three distinct steps or stages to the detox process.

1. Admission Screening

As part of the detox admission, a nurse assists the screener in evaluating the individual for any physical or mental health issues that may impact treatment. Typically a urine screen and breathalyzer will help to identify drugs or alcohol in the client’s system. Along with the physical examination and drug testing, the medical evaluation includes a comprehensive review of the client’s drug history, medical history, and mental health history. This information can help create the framework for a long-term treatment plan.

2. Stabilization

Next, the client will focus on stabilizing without substances in their system. The only medications used in Anuvia’s social setting detox are comfort medications, such as zofran for upset stomach, Tylenol, and Motrin. A medical detox offers different medications that can help keep the client comfortable while the drugs are flushed from their body. Overall, once detox has finished, these medications will no longer be needed.

3. Preparing for Treatment

Finally, the detox center staff will educate the client on what to expect from the treatment process. They’ll also work with the client to assess which treatment—inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), short-term outpatient treatment, or something else—will provide the greatest chance of success. Staff may assist clients in making the arrangements needed to transfer the client to another treatment facility or move into another level of care at Anuvia, and this will be based upon recommendations from the assessment and the client’s preferences.

How Long Does Detox Take?

Going through withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and most drugs can take anywhere from a few days to a month or longer. The length of withdrawal symptoms can vary based on:

  • The type of substances the client uses
  • How long the substance use has occurred
  • How much of the substance has been taken
  • How the client is consuming the drugs (snorting? smoking? injecting? swallowing?)
  • Any underlying medical conditions the client may have

Although the medications used during detox can reduce or eliminate some of the more unpleasant side effects of withdrawal, they don’t shorten the process. With that in mind, withdrawing from a drug like alcohol shouldn’t take more than a week. Withdrawing from certain anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines may take several weeks. During this time, the treatment program can help the client gain new coping strategies, assess the risk of relapse, and identify their triggers. Social setting detox is typically a 3-4 day stay and then clients move on to their next step in the recovery journey.

How Much Does Detox Cost?

The cost of detox will depend on the length and intensity of treatment. At Anuvia, we’re committed to ensuring that money never stands in the way of someone who needs treatment. We have sliding fees for qualifying clients. Learn more about our payment programs.

What You Should Bring to Detox

The next step of preparing to enter residential treatment will require you to review the items you should bring—as well as the items you should leave at home.

What You Should Bring to Treatment

  • All medications that you are taking
  • Alcohol-free toiletries. Any soaps, shampoos, deodorants, or lotions with alcohol will be held until discharge and returned. If you don’t have toiletries, we provide them
  • Clothes for 4-5 days. As the building temperatures vary and persons experiencing withdrawal may have hot and/or cold extremes, we recommend that you bring layered clothing. We have washing machines,
  • dryers, and detergent available.

What You Should Not Bring to Detox

  • No cigarettes, tobacco, cigars, e-cigarettes, or vaping. We are a smoke-free facility
  • No electronics (radios, tablets, cameras, phones, etc.)
  • No clippers (razors will be provided)
  • No glass, bottles, or scissors
  • No linens, as we provide all linens and blankets
  • No food. We provide three meals and a snack daily.

Get in Touch With Anuvia

If you or a loved one is ready to discuss detox, give Anuvia a call at (704) 445-6900 or fill out a brief online contact form. A compassionate member of our care team will soon be in touch.

Detox FAQs

Can you detox at home?

It can be tempting to just go “cold turkey” on your own. But trying to quit substance use without medical supervision can be dangerous, even deadly. Symptoms of drug withdrawal include:
– Seizures
– Severe dehydration
– Electrolyte imbalance
– Muscle pain
– Fatigue
– Sweating
– Anxiety and depression
– Nausea and vomiting
– Insomnia
– Paranoia

Medical and social setting detox programs are designed to help clients break the addiction cycle and protect them from the potentially dangerous consequences of drug withdrawal.

Can pregnant clients undergo drug detox?

Drinking alcohol or using drugs while pregnant can be dangerous for an unborn child—but quitting these substances cold turkey can be even more dangerous. The toll of withdrawal on a pregnant person’s body can cause fetal distress, and pursuing detox in a medically-supervised setting can help. Anuvia’s social setting is not ideal, but a client can be staffed with the medical team for guidance on referrals for care.

What are the side effects of detox?

Although detox is intended to mitigate the side effects of withdrawal, it can include some side effects of its own. These include:
– Nervousness
– A racing heart
– Nausea
– Insomnia
– Mood swings
– Trouble concentrating

In most cases, these side effects should be mild and brief.

Is detox considered substance use treatment?

Not quite. Medical detox “treats” substance use disorder by allowing time for the body to clean itself of addictive substances, but it isn’t intended to do much to address the underlying causes of substance use or provide direction on maintaining sobriety. That’s why most detox programs encourage clients to consider the results of their clinical assessments to guide what level of care should be started once detox is over to increase their chances of successful long-term abstinence.