Detoxification is the first step in recovery and a life of sobriety. The detoxification process removes all of the toxins from your body leftover from drug and/or alcohol abuse. This is a crucial step for initiating the recovery process because treatment only begins to be effective once you’ve detoxed. Detoxification can take hours, days, or weeks depending on the severity of your substance use disorder (SUD). Because every individual’s case differs from the next, there are two different types of detox processes that are used: acute and sub-acute detox.

Acute Detox

Acute detox is the highest level of care to manage the detoxification process. The medical definition of an “acute” condition is one that is life-threatening or critical. Acute detoxification tends to be used for those who have a more severe SUD. These individuals require 24-hour monitoring at an inpatient care facility. This is because there is a higher risk of fatal side effects, respiratory failure, and seizures.

Sub-Acute Detox

Sub-acute detoxification is for individuals undergoing recovery with less severe withdrawal symptoms in comparison to those who need acute detoxification. It is for people in good mental and physical health who are generally more physically stable, more committed to a recovery program, and don’t necessarily require medical care or monitoring around the clock.

Sub-acute detox can be done at urgent care centers, doctor’s offices, intensive outpatient programs, and residential detoxification and recovery facilities. While it can still take hours, days, or weeks, it allows the individual more freedom than acute detox. During sub-acute detox, one has the freedom to move around, take walks outside, participate in group and individual therapy, and generally have more interaction with peers in recovery.

How to Tell if Sub-Acute Detox Is Right for You

How the body reacts to the detoxification process is different for everyone. Some people have a relatively easy time during detoxification while others need more supervision and support. Before going through any type of detoxification process, each individual must be evaluated by a medical professional.

This evaluation that takes place prior to detox analyzes your current mental state, any existing medical issues, and your substance use history and medical history. Blood, urine, or breath tests are used to help medical professionals understand the amount of a substance that is inside your body so that they can determine whether acute or sub-acute detox is necessary.

Some factors that influence what type of detoxification process may be right for you are:

  • The substance you use
  • How long you have been using
  • Any co-occurring mental health issues you have
  • Any other medical issues present
  • Your age
  • Any drug allergies you may have
  • The specific policies and procedures of the treatment center
  • How much support you have
  • Your motivation level

If you haven’t been using for too long or don’t have any other medical issues present, sub-acute detox may be best for you. Once it is established whether you need acute or sub-acute detoxification, an individualized treatment plan will be outlined for you. You will then become stabilized with the use of medication or psychological services for treatment and your recovery journey will begin.

What Happens After Sub-Acute Detox

Oftentimes, people think that once the detoxification process is over, they are good to go. This is far from the truth. Because extensive substance use changes the way your brain works, the recovery process takes time and many different forms of treatment. Once the detoxification process is over, you will most likely partake in individual and group therapy and addiction recovery specialists will continue to monitor your progress.

After detoxification, you will need to learn strategies for dealing with the many emotions and challenges that come with adjusting to a sober lifestyle. Furthermore, it will be important to learn what circumstances caused you to use substances to begin with, learn to recognize and mitigate triggers, and address and treat any underlying traumas that may continue to encourage you to use even after the detoxification process. While the journey starts with the detoxification process, it doesn’t end there.

Finding the Right Treatment Center

Once you’re ready to change your life, the next question is how you are going to do it. Sub-acute detox programs may be either residential, where you stay in a specialized treatment facility for a time, or outpatient, when you attend treatment during the day but reside off-site. Sub-acute detox programs can help manage difficult withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings by providing a safe and secure way to remove these dangerous toxins from your bloodstream in a slow, controlled way.

Finding the right detoxification route for you or a loved one can be an overwhelming and daunting process. If you think you or a loved one is ready to start the detox process, you shouldn’t wait to get help because the longer you wait, the harder recovery will be. So, you might be wondering, where should you start? Detox is a mandatory part of recovery and the physical and emotional effects can be difficult, so finding the right care is important. Bella Monte Recovery Center in Desert Hot Springs, California, understands the uncomfortable and often painful process of detox. Our compassionate medical team assists each client through this physical renewal process. Here at Bella Monte Recovery Center, each client is provided with the medications and support necessary to make this process as safe and comfortable as possible. For more information on what we offer, call (800) 974-1938 today.