What You Need to Know About Detoxification in Rehab

INPATIENT, outpatient, at-home detox: everything you need to know about the detox process. 

Table of Contents

What is Detoxification?

Many people know that one of the first steps of treating addiction can also be one of the hardest steps—detoxification. Detox is the process of ridding a person’s body of all traces of drugs, and it can be a difficult process mentally and physically. The withdrawal symptoms that can occur alongside detox include mood changes like irritability, depression, and anxiety, as well as physical symptoms like nausea, shaking, and headaches. Cravings are also common during withdrawal. 

Types of Detox

There are two types of professional detoxification programs: medically assisted (or medically supervised) detox and clinically managed (“social”) detox. Medically assisted detox happens under the care of medical and mental health professionals and includes observation from these professionals to ensure the patient is safe and comfortable throughout treatment.

Clinically managed detox is a short-term, non-medical strategy for someone looking to end their substance use. Clinically managed detox can vary; some social detox settings will only provide room for detox to take place, while others have more hands-on treatment approaches like peer encouragement and professional support.

Relying on a professional drug detox program can help people recovering from substance use disorders complete the detox process more easily. In medical detox, withdrawal symptoms are managed with medications and other therapies. Medically supervised detoxification is a safer and more effective way to rid the body of drugs or alcohol and ultimately begin the road to recovery.

What Does Detox Treat?

Detox can be used to treat different addictions, including alcohol use disorder (AUD) as well as substance abuse disorders (SUD). Detox can also treat people dealing with many different types of addictions, including those who use…

  • Opioids, like prescription pain medications and heroin
  • Stimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamine
  • Benzodiazepines, like Xanax
  • Alcohol

The process of detoxifying the body of alcohol is approached similarly to the process of ridding the body of drugs. In both cases, detox is “designed to manage the acute and potentially dangerous physiological effects of stopping drug use,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.2

It is important to note that drug detox and alcohol detox do not involve treating the psychological or physical problems that may have led a person to become addicted to a substance in the first place. Following detox, it is often necessary for patients to receive further treatment like therapy and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

How Long is the Detox Process?

There is no set time for how long the detoxification process takes—it varies from person to person. For some, it may take as little as a few hours, while it could take weeks for another person to completely clear their body of a substance. several factors influence the potential length of drug detox, including: 

Which substance is being used

The rate, dosage, and duration of substance use

The detox setting

Previous detox attempts

The presence of multiple drugs in the system

The individual’s health condition

The goals of the individual undergoing treatment

Rapid Detox and Ultra-Rapid Detox

SMART goals aren’t strictly for those in recovery. But setting strict and effective SMART goals is harder during rehabilitation. For starters, the stakes are simply higher. Setting an effective goal and or committing to a program can be the difference between thriving and relapsing. The difficulty with setting an effective SMART goal can cause frustration but these goals don’t need to be set by the person in recovery alone. If there’s difficulty creating a SMART goal then utilizing support, professional or personal, is a good idea.

How Do SMART Goals Work in Recovery?

SMART goals work a little different in recovery programs. SMART goals in recovery all have more-or-less the same initial goal; overcoming drug dependency. However, finding the right SMART goals to help with dependency can be challenging.

Setting SMART Goals can be Harder in Recovery than Other Areas of Life

SMART goals aren’t strictly for those in recovery. But setting strict and effective SMART goals is harder during rehabilitation. For starters, the stakes are simply higher. Setting an effective goal and or committing to a program can be the difference between thriving and relapsing. The difficulty with setting an effective SMART goal can cause frustration but these goals don’t need to be set by the person in recovery alone. If there’s difficulty creating a SMART goal then utilizing support, professional or personal, is a good idea.

Honesty During Recovery

Due to the nature of drug dependency, recovery requires intense introspection. Often, the cause of dependency is not within the control of the person with said dependency. However, being able to take individual responsibility and pursuing recovery from addiction is key to a strong recovery. Honesty has its benefits but being able to understand any hurt or ruined personal or professional relationships allows for a better understanding. In a sense, you can help change your life by addressing what is wrong with it.

Self-Care in Recovery

Recovery is by nature an extension of self-care. Learning to practice self-care can decrease the chances of negative thought and relapse. Self-care can be as simple as taking a walk outside or generally avoiding needlessly stressful situations. However, there is a difference between self-care and social neglect. For example, sleeping in now and again is self-care. Continuously oversleeping for personal and professional engagements is not.

It’s worth mentioning that positive thinking often leads to a positive life. Being able to maintain positive thinking is one of the most basic and important examples of self-care. To improve your life you must be able to take care of yourself. Positive thinking will change your life and increase your ability to cope with a number of challenges.

How Can SMART Goals Change Your Life in Recovery?

SMART goals, like most effective goals, are designed to improve your life.

A Positive Mindset During Recovery Improve Your Life

Negative thinking is harmful on a scientific level. It can lead to stress hormones being released which can result in depression, anxiety, and other mood-altering conditions. There are also negative physical effects in the long-term. Maintaining positive thinking during recovery increases the likelihood of a successful SMART recovery.

Finding the Good in Life

Optimism isn’t required, although it doesn’t hurt. Finding the good in life means actively searching for the upside. While there won’t always be a good side; there won’t always be a bad one either. This can be as simple as being thankful for family, friends, good art, or personal capabilities.

Becoming Happier

Becoming happier doesn’t happen overnight for most. However, diet and exercise can help. Actively practicing positive thinking, positive actions, and committing to recovery also play a big role in maintaining happiness.

Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

Discovering the desirable qualities of one’s self is often the combination of introspection and outward success. Committing to and completing SMART Goals builds the confidence and self-esteem essential for moving past dependency. Achieving a goal causes the releases of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine increases positive thinking, cognitive function, and mood.

Manage Stress Better

Adhering to SMART goals and recovery programs encourages an understanding of how to deal with stress. Stress and bad days are part of life. Setting a SMART goal for how to cope with a stressful situation allows for control over certain potential triggers. For example, counting down is a widely-known method for de-escalating personal tension.

Become More Resilient

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, this isn’t necessarily true. But those that have battled with substance abuse know that dependency can be the greatest challenge to overcome. Resiliency and a positive life are a combination of self-care, stress coping techniques, and SMART goals.

The Benefits of Positive Life Changes During Recovery

The changes that occur during recovery are visual, long-lasting, and drastic.

Live Longer

Overcoming dependencies lowers the risk of any number of severe medical conditions. Depending on the severity of dependency, you can go on to lead a full, positive life with little to no permanent signs of past drug abuse.

Feel Better

Overcoming dependencies means that your organs are free to operate their normal functions more efficiently. Cardiovascular systems improve over the course of months, energy levels increase, and bodily filtering systems like the liver can work at increased capacities.

Improve Relationships

Dependencies ruin personal and professional relationships. Being able to make amends, carry a coherent conversation, and remembering social engagements are important to improving or repairing relationships. Healthy relationships are one of the first things that drug dependency ruins. One of the biggest benefits that will change your life after dependency is healthy, nourishing relationships.

Look Healthier

Drug dependency interrupts blood circulation, complexion, and hair growth. Sobriety results in a fuller, more youthful appearance.

Save Money

Without the added expense of drugs or alcohol, you may find your wallet is a little heavier. The amount spent for a dependency varies but it’s all money back into your pocket once the dependency is addressed. A key sign of a positive life is having funds in a savings account for a rainy day.

Advice on How to Use Positive Thinking in Recovery

Positive thinking during recovery is more than just seeing the bright side. It’s also about positive self-referential statements. These can be as easy as repeating a mantra such as, “I will complete my program.” or “I am good at listening.” Staying positive is a conscious effort. Remember that every step you take is a step toward a dependency-free, positive life and a step away from substances.

Use resources learned through programs like SMART recovery to change your life for the better. Recovery is a complex journey. It’s impossible to change your life overnight but with positive thinking, SMART goals, SMART recovery, and just the right amount of self-care; you can change your life over time.


If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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