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What is a medical detox center?

Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

A medical detox center is a healthcare facility that supports detoxification from drugs and alcohol. Medical detox centers should be licensed and accredited and should have medical professionals (doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers) on staff. 

Medical detox centers offer specialized care, including outpatient, residential, and hospital inpatient programs, ensuring a safe withdrawal under medical supervision. 

According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), 10% of treatment facilities provide outpatient detox, 8% provide residential detox, and 5% provide hospital inpatient detoxification.

Ardu Recovery Center provides all of these programs to alleviate your detox process. You’ll recover in a safe, supportive, and medically supervised environment.

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At our medical detox center, a team of addiction professionals will oversee your physical health, help ease withdrawal symptoms, provide therapy, and set you up for success when transitioning to rehabilitation. 

Read on to learn what medical detox entails and how Ardu can help you regain control of your health and life. Whether you’re looking for alcohol detox help or need drug detox assistance, we’re here to support you to overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety.

I just want to take time to say what Ardu has done for me. I went through both the detox facility and the residential treatment program and I can’t stress enough how great of a program Ardu is providing. The staff there truly cares and goes above and beyond to take care of each and every patient…Thank you for caring. Thank you for being real. Thank you for giving me a chance to succeed.

Drose Hulett


What is medical detox?

Medical detox, short for medical detoxification, is the process of withdrawing from addictive drugs or alcohol under the care and supervision of a team of medical professionals. It takes place in a licensed detoxification facility or hospital setting, where patients can be monitored 24/7 to manage psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. 

Medical detox promotes comfort and safety during withdrawal. The medical team administers detox medications and intravenous fluids as needed to stabilize the patient, normalize vital signs, and prevent body shock or collapse.

Medical detox aims to safely clear toxins from the body while easing the intensity of the withdrawal process so that the patient can be transitioned into a rehabilitation program. Having access to on-site medical care and addiction expertise under one trusted roof provides continuity that supports long-term recovery. 

At our Utah medical detox center, around-the-clock monitoring and medical support await. You also have access to holistic detox and nonmedical detox modalities.

What are the benefits of medical detox centers?

Trying to “tough out” withdrawal on your own is both unpleasant and dangerous. Medical detox programs keep you safe and much more comfortable than you would otherwise be. 

Ardu’s medical detox provides benefits such as:

  • Around-the-clock monitoring and supportive care
  • Medications to ease symptoms and cravings
  • Treatment of medical issues like infection and heart problems
  • IV fluids and nutrition guidance
  • Management of complex mental health symptoms
  • On-site intervention for self-harm risks
  • Lower chance of lapsing due to discomfort and cravings
  • Direct transition into ongoing addiction rehabilitation
  • Elimination of detox-related disruption to family life

Unlike medical, non-medical detox relies on natural methods, support, and self-care to help people through withdrawal. Many use methods such as yoga therapy, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, and counseling to aid the detoxification process.

The alcohol or drug detox process can take a while, so it’s important to have trained supervisors and emergency help at hand. That’s why our full medical detox facility is available for you even if you opt for a non-medical route.

If you’re unsure about checking yourself into medical detox, here are six signs that tell you it’s time for a detox.

Who needs medical detox?

People facing specific health issues or complicating circumstances should not withdraw from substances without 24/7 monitoring and access to medications that alleviate symptoms. A medical setting maximizes their chances of completing detox so they can fully engage in rehabilitation and healing.

People at risk for life-threatening withdrawal

Those at risk for severe, potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms need medical detox. Some people experience such severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop abusing substances that they require intensive medical monitoring. They may experience symptoms such as:

  • Seizures
  • Racing heart rate
  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Hypothermia 
  • Psychosis

Without proper medical care, they may face life-threatening complications. Those addicted to alcohol are at risk of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Under the 24/7 supervision of doctors and nurses, patients at risk can receive responsive treatment to stabilize their vital signs and address any emergent conditions.

When you decide to break your alcohol dependency, Ardu Recovery Center is here for you. Once you’re through the detox stage, our comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment center provides the tools and the support you need to reach long-lasting sobriety.

Patients with co-occurring disorders

People struggling with addiction along with other physical or mental health issues need medical oversight as they detox. The stress of withdrawal can destabilize medical conditions such as diabetes or respiratory disease while stopping psychiatric medications along with substances can also severely impact mental health. With access to on-site medical care, co-occurring disorders are closely managed with insulin adjustments, breathing treatments, or psychiatric medication tapers to prevent complications.

Read more about Ardu’s mental health treatment program

Patients prone to relapse

Relapse is a natural part of every recovery. People who have previously struggled to detox successfully with outpatient programs may require inpatient care with constant nursing availability. Cravings and withdrawal discomfort, especially in the first hours and days, can overwhelm the patient’s coping abilities and without proper medical management can cause them to use again for relief. 

Round-the-clock monitoring allows medical staff to prevent conditions that often trigger relapse during at-home detox attempts. Medical detox also allows for therapy and healthy distractions during vulnerable periods. The structure and routine of an inpatient setting establish external control to break destructive impulses. 

With medical and emotional support replacing substances as a coping mechanism, those prone to relapse can work to increase their distress tolerance and build self-efficacy in a protected, safe environment.

Those addicted to multiple substances

Some people are detoxifying from multiple substances at once, which only complicates and prolongs withdrawal. Each substance withdrawal needs different medication drugs, tapering doses, and specialized timetables for clearing them from the body. 

Layered addictions also cause unpredictable interactions where new symptoms emerge as others fade. It’s extremely difficult to safely coordinate this solo, so the best option is medical detox. Medical teams at detox centers have specialized expertise in managing poly-substance detox and continually modifying medications based on how overlapping withdrawal effects manifest. 

Patients with prolonged, severe addictions

People deeply entrenched in long-term substance abuse often experience exaggerated and medically complex withdrawal requiring advanced interventions. This includes IV fluids for severe dehydration, intricate medication tapering schedules to avoid potentially dangerous side effects, and co-occurring deficiency treatments. 

We know that long-term addiction requires extensive medical care during detox and beyond for full recovery. Our caring team at Ardu Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive evidence-based detox and integrated rehabilitation program in Utah.

Contact Ardu.

Finding the right medical detox center is crucial for those looking to overcome addiction, but what are the indicators of a good detox center?

How to choose a medical detox center?

Reputable detox centers should offer addiction-specific treatment, have proper licensing, certification, or accreditation, a trained staff, and should always provide medically assisted detox to ensure a patient’s safety, among other things. These services will ensure that your recovery goes smoothly. 

Here’s what to look for in a good medical detox center:

  1. Addiction-specific treatment. Not all addiction affects individuals in the same way. Good detox centers should focus on drug or alcohol-specific treatment to ensure a higher chance of success. If someone is dealing with alcohol addiction, they’ll need a detox from alcohol. If they’re struggling with opioid addiction, they’ll need opioid-specific detox
  2. Licensing, certification, and accreditation. Properly-accredited and licensed facilities will provide you with the best care, services, and resources to overcome your addiction in the most professional, caring, and effective way. 
  3. Trained and certified staff. Detox centers should have healthcare professionals to administer detox drugs and monitor your well-being, as well as support staff, to see to all your physical and emotional needs. 
  4. Medication-assisted detox. Medications can take the edge off of extreme detox symptoms and help you through the process. For some people—especially those suffering from opioid addiction or extreme alcoholism—these medications may be absolutely necessary.
  5. Personalized approaches to addiction treatment. It’s crucial that you feel safe during addiction recovery. Personalized approaches to addiction treatment do just that—make you feel safe and supported in groups that you can relate to or that match your personal identity. Our medical detox center creates engaging and supportive environments for recovery for the different needs of men, women, teens, minority communities, and more. 
  6. Evidence-based treatment (EBT). Accredited and licensed rehab centers will often offer evidence-based treatment as their primary form of treatment. This addiction treatment program is backed by years of academic research and ongoing patient observation for a higher success rate. EBT includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), trauma therapy, motivational interviewing, etc. 
  7. Aftercare programs. Addiction recovery is an ongoing process. Aftercare programs provide individuals with continued support after their initial addiction treatment, making the journey less arduous. It could include joining a support group or therapy sessions to help you learn more about addiction management strategies. 

With so many detox centers in the United States, you’ll want to check online reviews and feedback from your primary care provider before you decide on a facility. We’ll save you the trouble: Ardu Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive medical detox and addiction treatment services in the country, backed by expertise and our verified track record. Our multidisciplinary team truly cares and provides an individualized treatment plan to make you feel safe, supported, and empowered.

Absolute best staff here! They care! Their detox is amazing! They keep you safe! They have amazing therapists! And IOP of theirs is just as good! I recommend many here and forever will! My other family!

Cheyenna Clayton


How does Ardu’s medical detox work?

While each patient’s needs are unique, medical detox follows a general progression aimed at safely clearing toxins from your body while managing pain and cravings. Here’s what you can expect at our quality center:

  • Intake and evaluation: your physical health, vitals, addiction history, and personal needs are assessed by nurses and doctors to customize a treatment regimen just for you. Our experts at Ardu also identify any co-occurring mental or physical issues.
  • Stabilization: your symptoms are continuously monitored through medications to control vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and intense cravings during the withdrawal process. 
  • Care and observation: we monitor vital signs, mental health symptoms, and your general comfort level, making adjustments as needed. Our group counseling can provide moral support.
  • Emotional support: our staff understand what you are going through and are here to support you every step of the way.
  • Discharge planning: we’re not done with you once your detox is over. We arrange follow-up options such as outpatient therapy or support groups to help sustain sobriety after detox. 

Medications we use in our medical detox

For people in rehab, medication can play a crucial role in managing withdrawal symptoms. They’re not always necessary, but certain medications reduce cravings and make the transition to a substance-free life more comfortable.

At Ardu Recovery Center, we tailor the choice of medications to your needs. Our medical detox program uses the following medications to help our clients through detox comfortably:

  • Subutex: this medication contains buprenorphine and is used to treat opioid dependence. It softens withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Suboxone: similar to Subutex, Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal and cravings while also deterring misuse.
  • Ativan: Ativan is a benzodiazepine that alleviates anxiety and agitation during the detox. It also promotes relaxation and reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Librium: Librium is another benzodiazepine used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It helps with anxiety, tremors, and the risk of seizures associated with alcohol detox.
  • Seroquel: Seroquel is an antipsychotic medication that can manage symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia during the detox process.
  • Trazodone: this is an antidepressant that regulates sleep patterns and alleviates insomnia during detox. It promotes a more restful and restorative sleep, essential for recovery.
  • Clonidine: Clonidine is used to treat symptoms of opioid and alcohol withdrawal, such as anxiety, agitation, and muscle aches. It stabilizes blood pressure and reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Hydroxyzine: this antihistamine medication is used to manage anxiety and nausea during detox. It alleviates discomfort and promotes relaxation.

With our medical detox program, you’re in the safest hands possible. We make sure to manage your withdrawal safely, so your body can adjust to the absence of substances and proceed to the next stage of your recovery. 

Rehab goes beyond this initial phase to address the underlying causes of addiction and equip you with the tools needed for long-term success.

What is the difference between detox and rehab?

Detox and rehab are two distinct stages in the journey towards recovery. The first and most important step in all addiction treatment plans is detox, but long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation is just as crucial. 

In detox, the focus is on the body, but in rehab, the focus is on the person’s growth and emotional well-being. The detox process gives the person a solid base, and rehab helps them grow and become more resilient. 

A detox typically lasts from a few days to several weeks. Here’s what we do for you in detox:

  • Address the physical symptoms of dependence 
  • Help you eliminate toxins from the body
  • Our medical professionals alleviate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms
  • Focus on the physical and biochemical aspects of addiction

Rehab comes after detox and usually lasts between one and three months. It involves:

  • Treatment of the emotional dependence on substances
  • Therapeutic self-examination to uncover root causes behind addiction
  • Identifying emotional triggers, and developing coping strategies
  • Teaching lifestyle changes to support ongoing sobriety
  • Family education and community resources
  • Formulates continuing care plans such as outpatient care and support groups

In essence, detox is the groundwork that prepares an individual for the healing and self-discovery that occur during rehab. In a well-structured recovery plan, detox and rehab work together to nurture your path to recovery. The switch from medical detox to alcohol rehab or drug addiction treatment should flow smoothly and seamlessly.

Ardu Recovery Center’s detox center is combined with our residential treatment facility to ensure a simple treatment journey with a relapse prevention mindset. The warm handoff helps ease anxiety around moving into the self-reflective rehab phase, where you continue healing surrounded by familiar faces.

Start your recovery journey with Ardu

It can be daunting to choose the best recovery facility, especially when it comes to medical detox centers. Ardu Recovery Center in Provo, Utah, offers the best medical detox programs tailored to your needs, whether you’re looking for a group or gender-specific treatment.  

Drug and alcohol addictions cause chemical imbalances that can permanently change the way the user’s brain functions. This can cause personality changes and disorders such as depression, social anxiety, and more. Over time these changes hurt every aspect of your own life or that of your loved one. 

This is why it’s so important to integrate medical treatment with a holistic therapy program. Different types of treatments such as IV amino acid therapy and vibroacoustic therapy can be a huge help in correcting neurochemical imbalances and inducing a sense of calm. 

Integrated treatment may also include other things like a workout routine, nutritional therapy, meditation, massage, and acupuncture. All of these are part of a holistic approach to rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction. 

With a modern and pristine facility, our clients have luxurious amenities at their disposal during their stay including a float spa, oxygen bar, vibroacoustic lounge, and full gym and sauna. Thanks to our 24-hour support and hospital-level care, clients come to Ardu with the peace of mind of knowing their detox and recovery will be handled with extraordinary care offered by an extraordinary staff.

Call us at 801-872-8480 or fill out our initial consultation form and get started on your road to recovery today. 

Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.

Medical detox FAQ

What happens when you detox?

When you detox at an accredited medical facility, your body goes through withdrawal from alcohol or drugs under medical supervision as addictive toxins leave your system. This can involve uncomfortable detoxification symptoms like headaches, nausea, night sweats, and cravings. 

Doctors, nurses, and addiction counselors provide 24-hour care including substance abuse treatment medications and IV fluid therapy to ease the side effects of withdrawal. Monitoring of vital signs and mental health prevents dangerous complications. 

Is detox a medical term?

Detox or detoxification is a legitimate medical term referring to the process that allows the body to systematically rid itself of addictive substances such as alcohol, opioids, or other drugs under the managed care of healthcare professionals. Medically-assisted detox utilizes various therapies like prescription medications, amino acid IVs, and holistic approaches to safely alleviate the painful, difficult, and potentially dangerous effects of withdrawal during this stage of addiction treatment.

How does a detox work?

A licensed medical detox treatment center works by first evaluating a patient’s substance use disorder history, mental health status, and other health needs to design a custom detoxification treatment regimen. This tailored protocol helps stabilize uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings through methods like doctor-prescribed medications, intravenous fluid or vitamin therapy, blood tests, and 24/7 monitoring of vitals and mental status by nursing staff. 

Nutrition planning and group counseling also provide physical and emotional support. The goal is to guide patients through the acute stage of withdrawal so they can transition to intensive inpatient rehabilitation or outpatient treatments.

What is the process of detoxification?

The medical detoxification process starts with a comprehensive intake assessment, after which co-occurring medical and mental health issues are continually managed by the clinical staff while toxic substances safely leave the patient’s body. Symptoms of withdrawal such as fever, vomiting, anxiety attacks, and drug cravings are closely monitored and mitigated 24/7 by nurses and doctors employing substance abuse treatment protocols. 

Supportive medications are administered to alleviate pain, diarrhea, insomnia, and other distress. Vital signs are checked per schedule to watch for dangerous complications like seizures, irregular heartbeat, or suicidal ideation. Medically-supervised detoxification takes days to weeks depending on individual factors before physical substance dependence is fully cleared from one’s system, preparing a patient for longer-term inpatient or intensive outpatient programs.

How to cleanse your liver?

Some medically-supported ways to cleanse the liver after prolonged alcohol or drug abuse include:

  • Intravenous vitamin cocktail therapies to deliver antioxidants and boost metabolism
  • Customized amino acid IV formulas to restore neurological and biochemical function
  • Intravenous and oral rehydration fluid therapy alongside nutritional counseling to nourish and promote healing
  • Doctor-prescribed medications that specifically protect and enhance liver function
  • Complementary detoxification approaches like reflexology massage and acupuncture to stimulate the circulation and drainage of toxins

Lifestyle changes such as switching to a nutrient-rich diet, exercising, and eliminating toxins also support the body’s natural detoxification processes post-rehab.

Does detox help depression?

Medical detox alleviates depression during the withdrawal process by providing medication and therapeutic support under continuous medical monitoring. Accredited medical detox centers have substance abuse treatment protocols to treat co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression during monitored withdrawal management. 

As alcohol and addictive drugs leave a patient’s body, underlying mental health disorders often surface but specially-trained psychiatric staff provide psychotherapy and may carefully adjust medications to manage mood disorders. Licensed counselors also guide patients in developing positive coping skills through cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can be invaluable in easing anxiety, sadness, and drug cravings during early recovery stages.

How do you respond to a recovering addict?

The most constructive way to respond to someone in addiction recovery is to be caring, emotionally supportive, and motivating while they work to maintain sobriety. Provide encouragement by avoiding judgment, asking thoughtful questions about how you can best support their recovery process, offering healthy distractions to occupy their mind, and reminding them of the substantial progress made in treatment as they transition back into regular work and personal routines during this vulnerable period.

What do you say to someone in physical rehab?

The most helpful things to say to someone engaged in a physical rehab program are affirming statements praising the hard work and commitment they are dedicating to their recovery, asking open-ended questions about how their treatment program is structured and customized to their needs, and providing uplifting words about the comprehensive medical care they have supporting them along with expressing confidence in their physical healing. Discussing their mental well-being and emotional state is also incredibly important.

How long does it take to do a detox?

Detox lasts from several days to weeks depending on factors such as the substance used, duration of use, dosage, and whether one has polysubstance dependence. Medically supervised detoxification usually spans 3-5 days on average but may last 2 weeks or more followed by extended post-acute withdrawal syndrome. 

Licensed medical staff continue regularly monitoring and treating residual symptoms for months after completing the initial detox phase. The full continuum of detox care followed by intensive inpatient rehab typically takes 90 days or more to provide the maximum opportunity to arrest addiction. 

Every recovery journey is unique with the unified goal of long-term sobriety and improved health.

Why is family-focused therapy important for addiction recovery?

Addiction has a lasting impact on the families of the individual in treatment. Detox centers offering family-focused therapy are vital in helping someone going through addiction recovery connect with their family and keep sight of their goals. Contact us to learn more about our family-focused therapy plans.

Further reading

What is cross-addiction?

What does heroin addiction look like?

10 drugs that can cause kidney damage

What are the signs your body is going through detoxification?

Is alcohol a drug?

What are the manifest signs of alcohol addiction?

Can I get treatment for PTSD?

Is meditation therapy helpful?

What is partial hospitalization?

Is marijuana addictive?