Medically assisted detox

Providing a safe and effective way for you to withdraw from substances.

At Sanctuary Lodge, we’re dedicated to ensuring that every person we treat receives the best available care and experiences as few withdrawal symptoms during detoxification as possible in a calm and safe environment. We understand the idea of detoxing from alcohol or drugs may feel daunting, but our team of addiction specialists will help you through every step.

We have helped thousands of people kick even the most serious cases of addiction and go on to live fulfilling and healthy lives. If you’re suffering from addiction, we can assure you there is hope for you to have a happy and sober future.

Sanctuary Lodge offers effective therapies that utilise cutting-edge treatments in a tranquil setting. If you choose to receive treatment at our rehabilitation centre, you will receive 24-hour care from a highly qualified team that is tailored specifically to you and your situation. Our dedicated staff will endeavour to make your time at Sanctuary Lodge as stress-free as possible and make sure you get all the care you need.

What is a medical detox?

Detoxification is the process of slowly reducing the amount of a substance in your body until you can function normally without it. Medical detoxification is simply this process conducted under the supervision of medical staff, usually in a hospital or clinic environment, to make your experience more comfortable and alleviate stress. Medical detox also sometimes uses alternative medications to ease withdrawal symptoms when necessary.

If your body has developed a physical dependence on a substance, the detox process is likely to cause withdrawal symptoms. These will depend on the substance you are using and the severity of your addiction. Common symptoms include nausea, perspiration and insomnia, but some people experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or ataxia. Choosing a medical detox can help greatly to limit the intensity and discomfort of these symptoms and ensure your safety during the process.

medical detox concept
doctor prescribing detox medication to client

Home detox vs medical detox

Substance detoxification is usually the first and most necessary step to kick-start addiction recovery. Some people attempt to detox alone or without medical supervision. Whilst we commend anyone who is trying to improve their lives and get sober, medically assisted detoxification is recommended as it is far safer and more comfortable than rapid or unsupervised detoxification.

Detoxification and withdrawal symptoms from substances such as heroin are dangerous if attempted without medical assistance. Your body is likely to have formed a physical dependence on the substance you are addicted to, and acute withdrawal symptoms will not only be distressing and uncomfortable, but can cause a shock to the body. The withdrawal symptoms that occur during unsupervised alcohol or benzodiazepine detoxification can be life-threatening.

To ease withdrawal symptoms and remove any danger, detox medication is advised. Common detox medications include methadone, benzodiazepines and opioid antagonists.

Which drugs require a medically assisted detox?

Long-term substance abuse usually results in a mental and/or physical dependence that can lead to withdrawal symptoms that need managing through therapy or medication if that substance is taken away. However, not all drugs and substances require detox medication.

Medically assisted detoxification is mostly used for those who are dependent on opiates, such as heroin, alcohol or benzodiazepines. This is because the symptoms of withdrawal from these drugs can sometimes be severe or disruptive.

Other substances may call anxiety and panic attacks during withdrawal. In these cases, anti-anxiety detox medication can be given.

nurse giving detox medication

Detox medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms

Methadone is an opiate itself, but it has a much milder effect on the body than other opioids such as heroin and fentanyl. Because of this, it can be used to wean individuals off more damaging opiate substances and help them experience fewer withdrawal symptoms. Occasionally, a partial opioid antagonist such as buprenorphine is used in place of methadone, as it has similar effects.

Full opioid antagonist medications are also used to treat opiate addiction. Unlike methadone, opioid antagonists prevent the activation of opioid receptors and stop you from feeling rewarding effects and euphoria following drug use. This can help curb your cravings for opioid drugs.

Benzodiazepines, though addictive, can also be used as a detox medicine. They are usually used to help alcohol withdrawal as they reduce the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

How long will the detox process last?

As with all types of detox, therapy and substance addiction recovery, there is no set timeframe for medical detoxification. The length of time it takes can depend on a variety of factors such as your circumstances, the substance you are addicted to, how long you have suffered from addiction, additional health conditions and the rehabilitation facility you visit.

For some, detoxification only takes a few days and for others, it could take weeks. It is estimated that on average, drug detoxification takes 8 days. However, if methadone and buprenorphine are used to medically support the detoxification process, it is likely to take longer.

Will I experience withdrawal symptoms?

Not everybody will experience withdrawal symptoms during substance detoxification, and for those who do, withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe depending on the substance, your tolerance and how long you have suffered from addiction.

If you are suffering from alcohol addiction, the intensity and length of your substance abuse will determine whether you experience alcohol withdrawal; not everybody will suffer from it. However, if you are currently taking heroin, other opioids or benzodiazepines, you’ll most likely experience some withdrawal symptoms during detox.

With the help of the dedicated and experienced team at Sanctuary Lodge, we can ensure that you experience as little discomfort and as few symptoms as possible. The medical team at Sanctuary Lodge provides detox medication, therapy and emotional support to help you manage withdrawal.

What happens after medical detox?

Substance detoxification is a vital step in drug addiction recovery, and you should be proud that you have decided to take the first step. However, detox is only the beginning of recovery. Drug and alcohol addiction affects not only physical health but also mental and emotional well-being. Once you have successfully detoxed, you will be offered follow-up treatments such as therapy and counselling.
Addressing the mental impacts of substance addiction is a fundamental part of the rehabilitation programme and helps to build the foundations for a successful recovery. Follow-up treatment and therapy also reduces the risk of relapse by helping you change your behaviour and the thinking patterns associated with drug use.

If you think you or a loved one could benefit from the services we offer at Sanctuary Lodge, contact our experts, who are available to talk 24/7.

For more information on specific substance withdrawal practices, please click through the buttons below.

Your care doesn’t end as you walk out of the door. Recovery is an ongoing process. This is why we provide free aftercare.

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