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The Best Drug Detox Methods – Which is Right for You?

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

March 25, 2019

One of the most important processes of drug rehabilitation is choosing the appropriate detox method. By implementing detox into the treatment plan, the body can eliminate any remnants of drugs or negative toxins that has been left behind. Detoxing allows individuals to enter into recovery without the difficult effects of withdrawal.

What Types of Detoxes are Available?

Natural Detox

Natural detoxification can either take place in your rehabilitation program or within your own home. The name says it all: it’s detox without any prescribed drugs or medical procedures. This option relies on natural ways of ridding your body of the unwanted substances drugs and alcohol left behind. This includes a change of diet to more natural, whole foods, consistent exercise, high water intake, and therapeutic activities, such as massages, saunas, and acupuncture.

However, medications are available that prevent withdrawal symptoms, alleviate pain and suppress cravings. Going about quitting the natural way, without these medications, can be extremely unpleasant and even dangerous. Breaking the body’s dependency on some substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, triggers withdrawal symptoms that can become life threatening, and the risk of seizure is high.

Many who seek sobriety find the process of going through detox alone overwhelming, but if you have a strong family support system, it can be an attractive option to consider. If done within a rehabilitation facility, patients are monitored 24 hours a day in case withdrawal symptoms become too painful or dangerous.

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Medical Detox

Sometimes going the natural route isn’t a viable option for addicts. When their drug abuse has been ongoing and a long-time habit, quitting cold turkey can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhea, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, hot and cold flashes, and much more. If the addiction is severe, life-threatening symptoms can occur. Thus, doctors will recommend a supervised medical detox, where they are able to monitor your detox progress and vitals and prescribe medications to aid your advancement towards clean living.

It may seem like a contradiction to treat drug addiction with more drugs, but the long-standing history of success proves that it works.

  • Opiate AddictionMethadone or buprenorphine, reduces cravings
  • Cocaine Addiction – Desipramine, phentermine, and fenfluramine, anti-depressants or bromocriptine, reduces cravings
  • Benzodiazepine Addiction Clonazepam, a similar less-powerful version of the drug
  • Alcohol AddictionNaltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram, reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms

There is a risk that a new addiction to the detox drug will form, but with proper monitoring and weening off of the drug, it is unlikely.

Rapid Detox

Rapid detox is by far the most dangerous and controversial of all the different types offered. This involves putting the patient in a medically induced coma, with an anesthetic or sedative, and speeding up the detox process without the patient being conscious. This decreases the withdrawal time to a few hours, but it is potentially dangerous to the patient’s health due to the anesthesia. The most common detox drug used for this procedure is naltrexone; however, while it reduces the body’s physical craving, it does not help with the mental addiction. Depending upon how rapid the detox, various studies show that rapid detox can still be painful for the person even if they are unconscious.

How Do I Know Which Detox Is Right For Me?

Choosing the type of detox that is best for you is based upon three things: severity, length, and type of addiction. For shorter and less severe addictions, patients may do better with a natural detox, but if a patient has been abusing substances for years without the ability to quit, a medically-supervised detox may be more beneficial. And of course, depending on the substance you are addicted to, the medications will change accordingly.

All in all, the type of detox that is right for you will be decided between you and a doctor, based on your needs and preferences. is just here to make sure that you are fully informed on what types of detoxes are available to you.

Let Us Do The Work For You

Here at, we have the knowledge and information at our fingertips to help guide and pair you with the rehabilitation center that best meets your detox needs. All you have to do is give us a call today, and we will get you on the path to clean living.

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