Medical Detox

One of the most important steps in drug and alcohol addiction treatment is medical detoxification, otherwise known simply as “detox”. Medical detox involves doctors and nurses closely monitoring you, observing your physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detox rids the body of any toxins or residue left over from drug or alcohol abuse and is almost always necessary before engaging in any other recovery programs for certain substances. During the time of detox—usually lasting around five to seven days—you may be given medications to curb any withdrawal symptoms you may have.

Because it is the first step in recovery, medical detoxification plays a crucial role in the success of your full recovery from addiction and abuse. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that you or a loved one seek a medical detoxification program with an experienced, licensed, and reputable team of medical personnel.

Quitting “Cold Turkey”

To avoid going through the medical detox at a recovery center, many of those suffering from addiction or constant drug abuse will attempt to detox themselves, usually in the form of “going cold turkey”. What cold turkey refers to is the abrupt stopping of taking a substance in an attempt to quickly kick the habit.

Quitting cold turkey is dangerous. For almost all physically addictive drugs, quitting cold turkey is not only ineffective but even counterproductive. Sudden cessation of a substance can result in severe withdrawal symptoms and is extremely unhealthy for the body.

Alcohol dependence


Alcohol dependence is the second most common psychiatric disorder, second only to major depression. Many people suffering from alcohol dependency are aware of it, which is already a major step in the right direction. However, only a small fraction of people with alcohol problems will turn to treatment centers for help, and many try to quit by themselves by quitting cold turkey. You should never consider going cold turkey when it comes to alcohol dependency.

The bodies of daily and heavy drinkers will compensate for the sedative effects of alcohol by increasing the production of hormones and other chemicals in the body.

Quitting cold turkey will cause overproduction of these chemicals, resulting in Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS). Approximately six hours after quitting, the following symptoms may present themselves:

  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures

Seizures are commonly the first sign of withdrawal and when not treated, multiple seizures occur in 60 percent of people. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, as quitting cold turkey can cause brain damage, seizures, and heart palpitations.





Opioids and Opiates

The United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, and it is likely that you may know someone who needs to seek professional help. Opioid addiction can form in as little as a few days, so many that are dependent still believe that they are in “safe territory”.

Constant use of opioids such as heroin or morphine causes the brain to reprogram itself in such a way that the drug becomes the only way to experience pleasure. Metaphorically, it is similar to putting up a wall to lean on (taking the drug), and then suddenly not being able to lean on it anymore (quitting cold turkey). The best way to remove the dependence on “the wall” is to slowly break it down in the form of detox and professional treatment.

Within a few days, minor symptoms of withdrawal start to show up. Anxiety, body aches, sweating, and insomnia are common. After another few days, cramping, vomiting, chills, and even hallucinations and seizures develop.

The biggest risk while suffering opioid withdrawal via cold turkey is the risk of relapse, and unless there are other complications, opioid withdrawal is not fatal.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse is one of the most difficult substance abuse cases to treat, so professional detox is the clear course of action.

Long-term prescription drug abuse affects most of the systems within your body; withdrawal symptoms are almost always present and extremely severe.

Symptoms of quitting prescription drugs such as Xanax or Valium cold turkey include all of the above-listed symptoms including diarrhea, body aches, hallucinations, seizures, and psychosis (dissociation).

prescription pills laying on a kitchen table

These withdrawal symptoms are extremely strenuous both physically and psychologically and can last from several hours to several weeks. Because they can be life-threatening, seeking professional help is strongly recommended.

What To Expect at Arete Recovery Detox

As stated earlier, medical detoxification is an important step in recovering from past addictions. Out of the approximate 30-90 days that it takes to finish addiction treatment, only about five to seven days are dedicated to detox. Because of its extremely short duration, medical detoxification is generally much more intensive and thus critical to the success of full recovery.

At Arete Recovery, we provide the highest quality medical care during your detox process, and our 24-hour nursing staff works around the clock to supervise you and help in any way they can. Once you begin your addiction recovery with Arete, you will receive safe and medically-supervised detox if the substance requires it. From benzodiazepines to alcohol, we are excited to be a part of your recovery story.

etizolam addiction treatment

We understand that other medical issues you may have can possibly interfere with your detoxification process (for example, diabetes, hypertension, and other physical conditions). Because your steps to recovery are tailored to you specifically, we take these possible physical conditions into account. Detoxification is difficult, but our compassionate and dedicated staff will work to make it as comfortable and effective as possible.

Our medical professionals, doctors, and nurses will evaluate and monitor your progress through detoxification. For the five to seven days it takes to get through detox, they will happily provide any medical services that you may need. 

From diagnostic services to therapeutic services, Arete will provide whatever resources you may need to ensure that your detox is safe and successful.

After Detox

After medical detoxification, you will be admitted to either our inpatient program or our residential program, both of which excel at treating substance abuse. Depending on how well the detoxification process went and the severity of your case, our specialists will recommend the program best for you.

The inpatient recovery program is more suited for a short-term recovery period (approximately 45 days), whereas the residential recovery program is more suited for a long-term recovery period (approximately 60-90+ days).


Inpatient treatment programs are generally used to treat physical dependence on both a medical and clinical level. In transitioning from detoxification to inpatient, the same medical professionals will be on-call as you begin to tackle the clinical side of addiction treatment.

Highly-trained and compassionate staff members will be there for you 24/7 to provide medical supervision and support while you go through our inpatient program. It is important to note that all inpatient programs have access to the benefits and resources available to those in the residential recovery program. 



Similar to the inpatient program, the residential program eases you from detox to less intensive forms of treatment. The main difference between the two is that in the residential program, you are not constantly monitored by staff. At Arete Recovery, the residential recovery program is used to primarily focus on the reinsertion of the resident into society.

While in this program, you feel more like a resident than a patient. The residential program is generally used to treat psychological dependence, exploring the reasoning and possible treatments behind your addiction.

Why Detox at Arete?

At Arete, we have a client-first approach to recovery. Using clinically-proven methods, we not only provide a comfortable and secure environment to recover, but we also ensure that you receive the proper treatment you need.

We use a multidisciplinary approach that not only tends to your specific needs but addresses you as a whole. Our qualified and compassionate staff can help with the emotional, physical, and psychological needs that you may have while in treatment. We make use of therapists and doctors as well as issue FDA-approved medications to curb withdrawals throughout the process.

If you or a loved one suffers from any sort of substance abuse problems or addictions, the sooner you seek professional help, the easier and more effective treatment will be.

Call Arete Recovery at (855) 781-9939 or contact us online and experience medical detoxification the way it was meant to be: client-first.