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The Drug & Alcohol Detox Process

Drug addiction and alcoholism are common problems in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 14.5 million people had an alcohol use disorder in 2019 while 8.3 million people had an illicit drug use disorder.[1]

Before you can begin to address the root causes of your substance use disorder, you have to physically recover from long-term dependence on alcohol or drugs. Whether you struggle with drug addiction or alcoholism, the first step of recovery is attending detox. Drug and alcohol detox centers provide a safe, supportive, and medically supervised setting where you can detox and begin your recovery journey.

What is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is what occurs when you stop using alcohol or a drug that you were addicted to. Once you have a physical dependence on drugs or alcohol, your brain begins to rely on that substance to function properly. When you suddenly stop consuming it, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.

The severity and type of withdrawal symptoms you will experience depend on a variety of factors, including:[2]

  • What substance you were abusing
  • How long you have been abusing substances
  • Your age
  • Overall health
  • Whether you suffer from a co-occurring mental health condition
  • Whether you are receiving treatment for your withdrawal symptoms

Some people experience mild withdrawal symptoms, however, it is possible to experience such severe effects that they become life-threatening. Because withdrawal can be severe, you should always seek assistance from a medical detox center.


Common Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms


What to Expect During Drug and Alcohol Detox

The exact timeline and type of treatment you receive during detox will vary depending on the type of substance you were addicted to. However, everyone goes through the same general process during alcohol and drug detox.

Initial Assessment

When you arrive at a drug and alcohol detox facility in West Palm Beach, you will undergo an in-depth assessment. The staff members will gather information about your history to ensure that the treatment you receive during detox is tailored to your needs.

Common questions asked during initial assessments include:

  • What substance(s) were you abusing?
  • Are you addicted to more than one substance?
  • How long have you been abusing this substance?
  • What dose did you typically consume?
  • Do you have any physical health conditions that require ongoing treatment?
  • Do you have any mental health conditions?
  • What is your family’s mental, physical, and substance abuse history?
  • Have you ever been to addiction treatment in the past?

Medical Stabilization

Once your treatment plan has been created, you will move on to the medical stabilization phase of detox. Drug or alcohol withdrawal can be incredibly hard on the mind and body, which is why South Florida detox centers provide 24-hour support to ensure that you are stable throughout the entire process.

Throughout detox, behavioral technicians will be available to address any emotional concerns you may have, while medical professionals and nurses will also check your vitals, monitor your symptoms, and provide the supportive care you need to stay safe and comfortable during withdrawal. Doctors may prescribe medications to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms and prevent life-threatening complications.

Treatment Planning

Lastly, once your withdrawal symptoms subside, you will begin the treatment-planning phase of the drug and alcohol detox process. You will work with a substance abuse counselor or addiction specialist to create a treatment plan that includes the recovery programs you will attend after leaving the detox facility.

Your treatment plan might include a combination of the following programs:

  • Residential or inpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Medication-assisted treatment programs (MAT)
  • Dual diagnosis rehab
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Outpatient programs (OP)
  • Sober living programs

Medications Used During Detox

One of the most important parts of detox is using medications to treat withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from any substance can be extremely difficult to deal with, often causing flu-like symptoms, depression, anxiety, and more. When you attend a drug and alcohol detox center in Palm Beach County, you can rest assured that they will prescribe the medications necessary to keep you comfortable and motivated in your recovery.

The medications you receive heavily depend on the type of drug you are detoxing from. Opioid withdrawal is often treated through the opioid replacement method. Opioid replacement therapy (ORT) involves using medications like Suboxone or methadone to trick your brain into thinking it’s getting the substances it craves, thereby reducing symptoms of withdrawal.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal, on the other hand, is usually treated using a taper. This involves prescribing a long-acting benzodiazepine, such as diazepam (Valium), and gradually reducing the dose over a period of days. Tapering can reduce the severity of withdrawal and prevent symptoms like seizures, anxiety, insomnia, and more..

Other withdrawal syndromes from substances like methamphetamine or cocaine are treated with symptom-specific medications. If you are experiencing anxiety, you will be given anti-anxiety medications. On the other hand, if you are having a hard time falling asleep, you will be given a sleeping aid.

While the types of medications you receive during detox vary greatly, you can be sure that you will receive the treatment necessary to keep your withdrawal symptoms at a minimum.

Start Drug and Alcohol Detox in Palm Beach County Today

If you or a loved one struggle with drug addiction or alcoholism, detox is the first step in long-term recovery. Drug and alcohol detox programs in West Palm Beach can provide you with the necessary support and treatments to help you overcome the withdrawal phase of substance abuse recovery.

At the Mandala Healing Center, we are sensitive to the fact that every person we treat comes from a different background and has a unique set of needs. Our wide array of addiction treatment offerings allows us to cater to each patient’s strengths, and find the programs and activities that work best on an individual level. Our evidenced-based programs and holistic methods are designed to keep patients engaged in treatment, develop the necessary life strategies and skills to sustain long-term sobriety, and achieve optimal health and internal balance.

To learn more about our detox programs in South Florida, contact Mandala Healing Center today.


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States, Retrieved June 2023 From
  2. Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF): Withdrawal, Retrieved June 2023 From