Detoxification, or commonly known as a detox programme is a vital process to complete when aiming for addiction recovery. An alcohol or drug detox is a structured process of removing harmful toxins from the body, while helping to increase recovery readiness.

Although painted as a difficult treatment option to initially complete, commonly down to experiencing withdrawal, complete detoxification is required to fully heal.

Without taking this step, especially by attempting a home detox, future drug or alcohol relapses can develop; commonly down to an incomplete recovery journey.

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The Process of Detoxing from Drugs or Alcohol

The process of detoxifying can take some time. The degree and time frame of a drug or alcohol detox can depend on a number of factors. From the type of substance which has been abused and the length of an addiction, to health history, underlying mental health conditions and the method of abuse, detox programmes can vary from person to person.

With this in mind, the detox process can be prolonged for some individuals, while also including varying quantities and forms of detoxification strategies.


The detox process will always begin with an evaluation. Here is where medical professionals will evaluate the severity of your drug and alcohol addiction, along with your current physical and mental health state.

This step is mandatory when forming the most suitable detoxification process for clients. Commonly completed through blood tests and general addiction assessments, data will provide addiction specialists with information to outline the complete addiction recovery journey.


The next step of detoxification is stabilisation. Here is where the detox process will begin, removing all toxins from the body. Medical treatment options will be motivated, with a focus on suitable prescription drugs.

This will help to stabilise and prepare both the body and mind for withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. The timeframe of this process can vary depending on a client’s susceptibility to detoxification.

Additional Addiction Treatment

Once stabilisation has successfully been achieved, our addiction specialists will work to form personalised treatment plans including additional addiction treatments. This is where the psychological intervention will take place, ensuring that compressing detoxification can be completed; both physically and mentally.

This three-step process of detoxification is very important, helping to provide a targeted approach to addiction recovery.

Detoxification Side Effects

While withdrawing from drugs and alcohol through a detoxification process, experiencing side effects is very common. The degree and type of side effects, known as withdrawal symptoms, will vary depending on the type of substance abuse, along with the time frame and severity of an addiction.

However, common side effects do include nausea, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches and paranoia. Although all are manageable, chronic side effects can also develop, commonly categorised as delirium tremens.

Once consumption levels are reduced, and individuals stop drinking and abusing drugs, the body will react. Here is where the likes of delirium tremens can be experienced, known as a chronic reaction from withdrawal. Severe side effects will usually occur when long-term abuse has been experienced.

Why Complete a Medically assisted Detox Programme

Although completing a detox from home or through outpatient treatment will sound highly desirable, there are many risks linked to the detoxification process. As touched on above, side effects can be severe, making them hard to control and work through.

However, through medically assisted detox programmes, a complete treatment plan will be in place to help you cope through withdrawal symptoms.

Likewise, professionally controlled drug and alcohol detox programmes will prioritise your health and safety. Working through this process alone can result in lasting damages to your physical and mental health.

By rapidly completing a detox at home, known as going cold turkey, you could experience infection, severe mental health issues and the possibility of a heart attack in serious cases.

With this in mind, here at Nova Recovery, we will always recommend that detoxification takes place through residential rehab.

Unlike many other rehabilitation clinics, Nova Recovery is classified as a hospital under the NHS registered body; Health Improvement Scotland. This means we have a multitude of stringent standards in order to uphold our status as a hospital.

Additional Addiction Treatment Post Detox

Alongside completing medical treatment options, in the form of a drug or alcohol detox programme, holistic detoxification is required.

This will be in the form of additional addiction treatments, commonly completed post-detox, helping to promote both physical and mental healing.

Many drug or alcohol addictions are fuelled in association with mental health issues or psychological side effects. With this in mind, by completing a residential detox programme, alternative therapies will be encouraged. You can expect to complete the likes of cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational therapy, individual therapy sessions and support groups.

Please be advised that a complete rehab programme will only be required for those who live with addiction and struggle to stop drinking or consuming drugs. The detoxification process alone may be enough for those experiencing substance abuse.

However, for the best chance to fully recover and avoid future relapses, detoxification, alongside additional treatment options will be promoted.

Get in touch today to benefit from our detoxification guidance and additional care options.