Drug Detox - Rehab Guide

Drug Detox

Drug Detox

Drug Detox

What is drug detox?

Drug detox is an essential first step in recovery. It greatly reduces the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms you experience when quitting a drug.

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Detox is a natural process our body uses to eliminate unwanted toxins and chemicals in our system. It can do this through the liver, kidneys and bowel in many ways. This is not always a simple and easy process; it takes up energy and can make us feel poorly in the meantime.

Most of us know that stopping taking drugs isn’t a straightforward thing to do. The withdrawal and craving can be powerful even if you have only been taking them for a short time.

What you might not know is that not all detoxes are created equal. There is not just one way to stop taking drugs; plenty of options are available.

Why Detox?

Once a person has developed a dependence on a particular drug or drugs, taking any less than they usually do results in drug withdrawal symptoms.

Drug addiction and drug dependence is a vicious cycle of taking more and more medications to gain the same original effects and benefits as tolerance to the drug grows.

The only way to stop the deadly and progressive cycle of drug dependence is to stop taking the drug completely.

Here lies the problem that many drug-addicted people face. Stopping a drug where a dependence has developed is very physically uncomfortable and exceptionally mentally challenging.

The very drug they are trying to stop is calling their name every second of every minute of every day. The craving to prevent withdrawal symptoms is relentless, which is why so many succumb to the temptation of going back to taking drugs.

Drug tolerance and dependence don’t always occur through drug abuse; they can develop slowly over time from taking an addictive prescribed drug or over-the-counter medicine for a prolonged period.

Prescription drug dependence is common in those with chronic pain-related conditions. Opiate prescription drugs are notorious for their addictive properties.

Even taking an opiate precisely as prescribed can inadvertently cause drug dependence.

The solution to drug dependence is the drug detox. Drug detox is also part of the solution to drug addiction (at least, it is the first step to overcoming addiction).

What is drug detox?

Drug detox refers to withdrawing from drugs with physical drug dependence. There are various methods of drug abstinence, but not all are safe.

The method that will work for you depends on many factors. For example, If you have a drug dependence that has only recently developed and is to a low dosage of drugs, you may find that you can detox by weaning yourself off them.

A complete medical detox is recommended for those with a long-established drug dependence, addiction or dependence on more than one drug or alcohol.

Methods and types of drug detox

There are various ways and means of stopping a drug or drugs, but as previously mentioned – not all are safe.

Specific methods have a higher success rate of successfully quitting medications than others, so getting expert professional advice on which process will work best for you is essential.

Cold turkey

Cold turkey drug detox is a well-known term, but what makes it cold turkey?

  • Stop taking any of the drugs
  • Detox at home
  • No medical supervision
  • No medication to ease symptoms
  • Alone or with little support

Cold turkey detox is not for the faint-hearted and can be painful, challenging, and even life-threatening.

Cold turkey drug detox results in the most severe form of drug withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms start when the first dose is missed and peak within 24 to 48 hours.

There is also a vastly increased chance of developing PAWS – post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These unpleasant symptoms can come and go for months after the drug has been stopped. In cases of heavy drug dependence, they can last longer than a year.

These symptoms include cold chills, sweating, shakes, fever, anxiety, depression, irritability, vomiting, bone pain, diarrhoea and insomnia.

Those with a drug addiction do not tend to succeed at this method. Commonly, they end up back on drugs within a matter of days. This is due to drug addiction consisting of psychological dependence, compulsion and physical dependence.

It is important to note that with alcohol, certain prescribed drugs and illicit drugs, cold turkey detox can ultimately result in death. Please do not attempt this method as a means of getting clean.

Gradual drug withdrawal detox

A gradual drug withdrawal detox or tapering off regime involves the drug or drugs being reduced over time until the person is no longer taking them. This detox method is most commonly applied in the community and should be supervised by a GP if it is a prescription drug.

Pros and Cons of Gradual Detox
Pro: withdrawal symptoms are less severe and more manageable

Pro: Can be done in the community

Con: Tough to cut down if you are addicted

Con: Needs to be bespoke as everyone reacts differently to a drug being reduced.

Con: Relapse is more likely


Gradual drug withdrawal is best suited to those with prescription drug dependence and not necessarily someone who is addicted or has been abusing drugs. If you suffer from addiction, you will still have the compulsion to get high and are unlikely to succeed in this method.

Home Detox

Home drug detox

Home detoxification is private and a good option for those who cannot leave home for a stay in rehab. You will receive the same medical detox as a rehab would give but in the comfort of your own home.

A doctor or prescribing nurse visits the patient in their home environment up to 3 or 4 times to administer medication.

Pros and Cons of Home Detox
Pro: withdrawal symptoms are treated by safe medications

Pro: Can be done at home

Pro: Privacy and discretion

Con: You are not in an alcohol and drug-free space

Con: No psychological treatment unless you go to a support group

Con: Need to provide your care – family, friends etc.

Home detox will only achieve physical sobriety for those who suffer from addiction. With the psychological component of the addiction left untreated, the chances of relapse are extremely high.

Full medical drug detox

Complete medical detoxification involves substituting the drug or drugs for an approved medication gradually reduced. This method can be applied to illicit, legal, over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Qualified doctors and professionals manage a complete medical detox, usually conducted within a controlled setting such as private residential drug rehab or hospital.

This method is ideally suited to all. Clinically, it is the safest and most successful way to detox from drugs.

A person is more likely to stick to the regimen. as control is with a professional

WAdrug-addicted individuals can further benefit from a bespoke drug rehabilitation programme. Within the safety of a CQC residential clinic or rehab

If you wish to know more about a private drug detox within one of our CQC registered centres, call Rehab Guide today.

Common drug detox withdrawal symptoms & when to seek urgent help

Many drugs that are addictive have withdrawal symptoms that are common to all.

These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Aches and pains
  • Tiredness and generally feeling run down
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Poor concentration
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Fever
  • Sexual dysfunction and loss of sex drive
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Mood swings

Certain drugs such as benzodiazepines, opiates, alcohol and prescription drugs can have dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, paranoia, confusion, racing and irregular heartbeat.

Dangerous withdrawal symptoms from drugs can become life-threatening if not promptly treated.

If you develop any dangerous withdrawal symptoms or observe them in someone else, or if common withdrawal symptoms become severe, it is essential to seek urgent medical treatment.

Drug Detox at Home

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Drug withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and challenging, especially if you aplandetoxing at home.

A medical drug detox manages withdrawal symptoms for you, but what if you cannot access a private detox and have to withdraw from drug addiction or dependence?

Depending on the type of drug you rely on, the dosage and the amount of time you have had the dependence will affect the severity and duration of the drug withdrawal you experience. Other factors affecting your drug withdrawal are your general physical health, mental health, support network, age, and other medications.

It would be best if you spoke to your GP about your intentions to detox and ask for guidance 

Assuming it is safe for you to detox at home, helpful hints and tips for managing drug detox withdrawal include:

  • Stay hydrated, even if this means taking frequent small sips of water.
  • Ask for support – Support during your withdrawal can make all the difference. Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous can provide support locally.
  • Try to eat – If you feel nauseous, not eating worsens this. Small and frequent amounts of bland food or whatever you can tolerate is better than nothing.
  • Keep busy – If withdrawal symptoms are severe, to begin with, you may not feel like going out; however, you would be surprised how a walk in the fresh air can help distract from symptoms.
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol – Yes, this means not associating with your using friends if you want to avoid the temptation.
  • Ensure your GP knows what you are trying to achieve and check that it is safe. Your GP can suggest support sources and help you through the detox period.
  • Ask to stay with a family member or friend. Detoxing alone is exceptionally hard. If you have family or friends that are willing to support you in getting clean, ask them for help
  • Be kind to yourself – Don’t expect too much from yourself or over-commit whilst detoxing.

Drug Detox at Home

If you are looking for drug detox, there can be many reasons why going into a residential detox centre isn’t possible. You can still get a medical detox plan from a private doctor. While it is possible to speak to your GP if you are looking for medical drug detox, UK doctors vary in their willingness to prescribe many detox drugs as they can be misused.

Rehab Guide can recommend a specialist private doctor who will assess you or a loved one and provide an appropriate prescription for drug detox at home. This can work well for those with someone at home to care for them and help them through the most challenging days of drug detox. We can also help you with addiction counselling during and after detox. This is usually done online with a specialist addiction coach, so you don’t need to travel while detoxing. Although we highly recommend inpatient care, a medical drug detox at home is the next safest option. To learn more about home detox, you will find more information here.

Which Drugs Need a Drug Detox?

Any drug that can cause drug dependence or addiction requires a drug detox, and detoxification carries many dangers if not carried out professionally and correctly.

Rehab Guides clinics can facilitate a full medical drug detox for a vast number of drug dependencies, including:

Prescription Drug Detox

Prescription drug misuse is rising in the UK as people are given medications that are, in fact, highly addictive. There are many examples, including benzodiazepines, sleeping pills and opiate painkillers. People think they are safe to take because a doctor prescribes them, but even slightly over your prescription can lead to an addiction.

One significant difference between prescription and illegal street drug detox is that the medication must be replaced or tapered off. in many cases. As these drugs are usually given to treat a specific condition, a drug rehab must manage both the addiction and the medical problem.

Do I Need a Drug Detox?

You may wonder if you need a drug detox or could benefit from one.

If you depend on a drug of any kind, then a medical detox is the safest way to come off that drug. It is also the most successful way; temptation is removed, and drug cravings are dramatically reduced with detox medication and supportive therapy.

You may wonder if you have a drug dependence; displaying any signs and symptoms strongly indicates that you have physical support and would benefit from a complete medical inpatient programme.

  • You take drugs every day
  • .You are unable to function normally without drugs
  • If you miss a regular dose, you develop withdrawal symptoms
  • You always make sure you have a supply of drugs to hand
  • You hide the number of medicines you take from others
  • You wish you could stop taking drugs but find you can’t
  • You have tried to self-detox before but have failed due to temptation or withdrawal
  • You will do almost anything to avoid drug withdrawal, including lying, cheating, manipulating, stealing and committing a crime

Drug dependence and addiction can become life-threatening and only progressively worsen without treatment. Admitting you have a problem and seeking professional help could save your life.

Residential Drug Detox – What to Expect

Many addicted to drugs avoid or delay treatment as they fear withdrawal and cannot imagine a life without drugs. If this describes you, you are not alone.

The World Drug Report for 2019 estimates that some 35 million individuals worldwide suffer from drug misuse disorder and require treatment services. 

Entering a residential programme is the safest and most comfortable way to come off drugs. Residential centres are purpose-built and staffed by qualified professionals committed to helping you become drug-free.

On admission to one of our facilities, you will have a warm and friendly welcome. We will help ensure you attend the best-suited clinic for your treatment needs.

You will be introduced to one of our doctors or consultant psychiatrists shortly after your arrival. They will conduct a complete and thorough assessment of your medical and mental health needs before prescribing a drug detox regime using an approved substitute medication.

Detox medications assist in the detox process and minimise withdrawal symptoms to manageable levels. In addition, you will be continually monitored and supported by a team of multidisciplinary staff.

Residential detox facilities vary from clinic to clinic. You can choose anything from affordable drug detox to a luxury drug detox. Your medical and clinical care will not be affected, but a luxury detox centre’s accommodation and facilities are more luxurious.


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After detox

Regardless of how long your treatment takes, it is recommended that you stay a minimum of an additional 28 days within a detox and rehab centre. This allows the rehab staff to achieve the following:

  • Ensure that you are drug-free, withdrawal-free and no longer craving the drug
  • Arm you with the necessary tools for recovery to prevent relapse
  • Provide you with a firm foundation for ongoing recovery from drugs
  • Instil healthy coping mechanisms to help self-regulate your emotional well being
  • Treat any co-occurring conditions and mental health problems
  • Unearth and treat the root causes that helped form your addiction
  • Ensure that you are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually well before leaving the treatment environment

Drug addiction and dependence can be successfully stopped through drug detox. The psychological aspect must be treated comprehensively using evidence-based treatment methods for ongoing recovery.

Rehab Guide’s exemplary drug detox clinics also provide free aftercare for patients who complete their treatment. Aftercare has been recognised as extremely helpful in preventing relapse, keeping patients motivated, and moving forward with their recovery back in the community.

Free Drug Detox in England, Wales and Scotland

The NHS can no longer fund inpatient detox treatment in many areas of the country. This is due to substantial cuts in their budgets. An estimated £162 million has been cut from drug and alcohol services in England alone since 2014. If you live in the UK and want free drug detox, contact your GP and local drug and alcohol services.

Sadly, these cuts have meant disaster for many urgently needing drug and alcohol treatment. Securing funding for drug detox is extremely difficult and rare these days. You can, however, still access detox support, counselling, drug reduction regimes and substitution regimes in your local community through these services.

If you need a drug detox urgently, paying to go private is the only guaranteed way of securing this.

The good news is that private drug detox may be more affordable than you think. Depending on your treatment needs and the drug or drugs you need to stop, treatment can start from as little as a few thousand pounds.

To learn more about affordable drug detox in your local area, call Rehab Guide and speak with one of our friendly addiction treatment experts.

Freedom from drugs

For all the pitfalls and discomfort that can come with detoxing from drugs, it is essential to remember that if you conduct the drug detox correctly, you will only ever have to do it once with professional support and treatment.

Imagine waking up with a clear head and the first thought not being related to drugs. To go about your day, achieve personal growth, rebuild relationships, see, hear, smell, feel and taste properly. Be free to go where you want, when you want, to feel a sense of pride and achievement and learn to love who you are becoming. These simple things that many individuals take for granted are often much appreciated by someone recovering from drugs.

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Our compassionate team can guide you through the entirely confidential and straightforward process of entering addiction treatment.

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