detox FAQs

Do all types of addiction require detox?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment varies depending on different things. Detox is usually the first step, but it is not uncommon for some addicts to already be sober before treatment. For example, many government-funded treatment programs have waitlists, and detox programs have waitlists. However, most treatment centers require you to be sober before you enter treatment, and if an addict cannot wait for a detox bed to open, they may attempt a home detox. Yet this is not necessarily possible with all types of addiction. Severe alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, and opioid addiction require residential detox.

Generally, yes, all addiction requires detox, but it should be the right detox for the individual. Detoxification is an essential first step because withdrawal may result in some distressing symptoms that require proper medical supervision. Specific substances are associated with a cluster of symptoms that occur when the addict stops using the drug. Also, withdrawal symptoms vary widely depending on the substance. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration, detox occurs in three phases, which is evaluation, stabilization, and fostering the patient’s entry into treatment.

Regardless of the severity of withdrawal, stabilization involves the medical and psychological processes of assisting the individual through acute intoxication. However, not every person going to detox is completely intoxicated, and some may already be experiencing the tail end of the withdrawal symptoms. Still, detox is needed as an observation period before they attend any treatment and rehabilitation.

Family Intervention and Preparing for Detox and Treatment

Most people struggling with addiction do not recognize they have a problem, nor do they accept help when offered. Family intervention is a common approach used to help an addict understand how their addiction has impacted them and their family. The purpose of an intervention is not to place blame or point fingers but rather persuade the drug-addicted family member they need help. The best way to organize a family intervention is by hiring a professional interventionist.

Certified interventionists have the training and knowledge to help families through the entire process. Additionally, an interventionist would also help the family locate suitable detox and rehabilitation options. Most residential and outpatient treatment centers have detox as part of treatment or are attached to the treatment facility. Family intervention does work, and the family does not have to wait for the addict to reach rock bottom or be willing to accept treatment before they begin to plan and organize an intervention.

NIDA. “Principles of Effective Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 18 Sep. 2020,

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.) 1 Overview, Essential Concepts, and Definitions in Detoxification. Available from:

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