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Drug detox is the first step you must take when preparing to withdraw from alcohol or drugs. While withdrawal is considered to be the entire process where the patient abolishes his or her dependence on a drug, detoxification is the initial step to prepare the body and mind for that process. The body must recognize that it will no longer be provided the drug, and this can only be accomplished by detox programs.

All rehabilitation clinics, whether inpatient or outpatient, will most likely provide some type of detox program. Inpatient clinics often utilize a rapid detox facility, in which the patient is placed on medications to speed the detox process and reduce symptoms. That way, a patient can continue their daily life without having to take several weeks of leave from work or school. However, this type of detox program is ideal for those with less severe addictions.

Most detox centers also have licensed psychologists and medical personnel on staff to come to the aid of any patient who is experiencing considerably dangerous or serious symptoms. This is most common in residential treatment facilities, although outpatient clinics may have psychologists as well. Patients undergoing detoxification can sometimes experience life threatening symptoms. For this reason, it is vital that the process be supervised in some way. When a patient undergoes detox at a residential treatment center, they are looked after constantly by medical personnel, and at times are under 24 hour supervision.

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