When Is Detox Necessary?

September 9, 2020

Medical detoxification, also known as withdrawal management, refers to helping an addicted individual undergo the physical and emotional process of cleansing his or her system of a drug or other substance. When is detox necessary, and is it needed in every circumstance? 

In truth, no one can say conclusively that formal withdrawal management is always necessary. Reports of people experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms as drugs leave their systems are not hard to find. However, detoxification in a medically supervised setting is highly recommended and definitely advantageous.

How to Know When Detox Is Necessary

After an extended period of use, the body can adapt to a drug to the point where it struggles to function without it. Once usage stops, therefore, some type of withdrawal is almost inevitable, though the severity depends on the substance and duration of abuse. Individuals can also react differently to the detox process depending on a number of factors, such as metabolic rate and specific emotions, perceptions of discomfort, etc.

Despite these variances, certain instances necessitate medical help. Professional withdrawal management should be considered more seriously if:

  • You have a coexisting mental health condition, such as major depressive disorder, an eating disorder, or bipolar disorder
  • You have been abusing alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opiates, or multiple substances
  • You are at high risk of relapse during the withdrawal process


These situations can pose significant risks for the individual. People with comorbid mental health disorders might see their withdrawal symptoms exacerbated. Individuals who abuse alcohol, opiates, benzos, barbiturates, or multiple substances may be prone to seizures and potentially fatal symptoms. Most people are at a high risk of relapse during withdrawal, and this in itself might aggravate the problem or increase the chances of overdose.

What Is Natural Detox?

The phrase “natural detox” refers to home remedies that manage withdrawal symptoms without professional assistance. Treatments may involve anything from herbs and special diets to exercise and smoothies. However, the phrase is somewhat inaccurate because detox is already a natural process. Many of the tactics used in natural detox are lacking legitimate medical research to prove their efficacy and safety. Keep in mind that withdrawal from certain substances is dangerous. It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor before attempting any method outside of medical detoxification.

How the Detox Process Helps in Recovery

There are numerous benefits to undertaking certified withdrawal management. For instance, people entering a detox program are immediately evaluated by medical professionals to determine what practices should be used. This individualized protocol may include: 

  • Medications
  • Nutrition
  • Emotional support and therapy
  • Admittance to a detox facility 


With medical detox, the individual’s physical and emotional health are closely monitored. Once the physical cleansing process has concluded, the team of professionals might offer a supplementary treatment program fitted to the person. The goal is to move beyond short-term abstinence to long-term sobriety.

Seek Help for the Best Chance of Success

While medical detox may seem intimidating, these programs can be a critical first step to successful recovery. Buena Vista Recovery offers confidential and patient-focused care administered by board-certified physicians, as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment options. To get started on your journey to sobriety, contact Buena Vista Recovery today.