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What Happens When You Enter a Drug and Alcohol Detox Center?

Entering a detox center is may be a frightening prospect. Many fear what happens during detox due to media or other influences. Yes, detox without medical assistance can be extremely unpleasant but with medical assistance, it is considerably better. If you are considering detox, you should know what happens when you enter a drug or alcohol detox center.


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, first thing that happens once you enter a detox center is an assessment. It is important that the detox center knows your needs and desires before starting treatment.

During the assessment, a counselor might ask you questions or ask you to fill out a questionnaire. Some of the questions that you might not want to answer but it is important to answer them as honestly as possible. Some of these questions might be about:

Drug and Alcohol Detox

A medical assessment must take place before detox can begin.

  • What drugs you are on
  • How they affect you and your relationships
  • What your medical history is
  • If you have any mental health issues
  • What your goals are
  • What your current concerns are
  • Where you live
  • If you are safe where you live
  • Your employment history
  • Previous treatment attempts at addiction treatment

All of these questions are to help the center determine the best course of action.

Treatment Plan

After the assessment, detox centers develop a treatment plan for you. This is a plan containing all of the things that you should do to become drug free. Treatment plans often include:

  • The problems you are having
  • Your goals for detox
  • How to meet those goals with support

The treatment plan is often just an outline without exact details. This is because the treatment plan should change as your needs do.

Medically Supervised Detox

After a plan for your detox is developed, you will go through a medically supervised detox. The medically supervised detox is the actual detoxification process. Most of the time, it is supervised by medical staff to catch any dangerous symptoms before they become a problem.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a medical detoxification is:

  • Safe
  • Manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal
  • Only the beginning of a comprehensive treatment plan

Detox is a time to withdrawal from the drugs. During detox, the drugs leave your body and your body adjusts to being without them.

Transition into Treatment

After you are through the detoxification part of withdrawal, you will want to consider additional treatment options. During detox, they might have already started your treatment with counseling. You might be attending:

  • Individual sessions
  • Group sessions
  • 12 step sessions

It is important to continue treatment until you can safely stop treatment without relapsing back into your drug or alcohol use.

When you transition from detox into treatment, you will receive another assessment. They will ask you questions about your goals and needs again. This re-evaluation will change your treatment plan to reflect more counseling and skill building.

Finding a Drug and Alcohol Detox Center

For help finding a drug and alcohol detox center call 800-315-1376 (Who Answers?). We can help you find a detox center that suits your needs and goals.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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