What Happens When You Detox?

Clinically Reviewed by Sarah Hogan, MA LPC

Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 13 years of experience in the behavioral health field as well as a certified provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Trauma. She has extensive experience in counseling and case management with local mental health authorities, emergency homeless shelters, leading high acuity response teams, and serving first responders/veterans.

The first step in substance use disorder treatment for most people is an intensive inpatient detox. This is the phase of alcohol and drug treatment where you’re under 24-hour medical supervision and medications are used to help make you more comfortable as you progress past the withdrawal process. Lots of people know this, but lots more don’t know exactly what happens when you detox, so we’re going to explain that for you in this article. 

Do I Need A Medical Detox? Why?

People often aren’t entirely sure what kind of addiction treatment they need when they first decide to do something about the problem. That’s entirely OK. When it’s time to go to drug rehab near Austin, your number one job is to focus on willingness and putting one foot in front of the other. As far as whether or not you need a medically-assisted detox, we can usually resolve that during the over the phone preliminary assessment with your admissions coordinator. 

They will ask you about your background and use history, previous treatment attempts and so forth. The need for medical detox is determined by what substances you’ve been using, how much and for how long. Your medical history, health or age can sometimes play a role in the decision for medical detox or for how long you will be in the detox phase of care. For example, if you have a history of seizures. That would be taken into account out of an abundance of caution. 

Which Drugs Need a Medical Detox? 

Generally speaking  anyone who is actively using alcohol or drugs in any of these categories, will need some detox to get them comfortably and safely past the withdrawal process.

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium etc.) 
  • Opioids (Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl)
  • Opiates (Heroin, opium, morphine, codeine) 
  • Barbiturates (Amobarbital, Phenobarbital)

The drugs listed above all have profound physical withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped. In some cases those withdrawal symptoms can be very serious or even potentially deadly without proper medical support. However, stopping any drug of abuse abruptly almost always results in both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. We also treat addiction to all of the following drugs, although the detox protocol may look different than the first set of substances. An intensive, inpatient detoxification may not be necessary in all cases. 

  • Cocaine
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamine (crystal meth)
  • Amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse etc.)
  • MDMA (Ecstasy, molly) 
  • Other Psychedelics (psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, peyote etc)
  • Designer Drugs (2C-B etc.)  

What is a Medical Alcohol or Drug Detox Like?

If you decide to come to Plum Creek Recovery Ranch for addiction treatment you will first finish a brief phone screening with your admissions coordinator before your admission is approved (to make sure you are clinically appropriate for our program). When you actually arrive at our onsite medical detox, we’ll do an in-person evaluation. You will see a nurse for a quick checkup too and we’ll ask you some questions about any symptoms you are experiencing. 

This whole process doesn’t usually take more than an hour. Just as soon as we can, we will get you settled in your room. If you’re hungry at all, we’ll get you something to eat and drink of course. As soon as you are ready and/or symptoms present themselves (per the COWS scale for opioid use disorders), we will administer detox medications to help make you more comfortable. Because we are an inpatient detox with 24-hour nursing, we will be able to monitor your symptoms in real-time and respond to them. Our goal is to keep you as comfortable as possible and ensure that you get the rest you need. 

How About Therapy and Groups During Detox?

We have good news for you there. Another advantage of Plum Creek Recovery Ranch having our own detox onsite is that you will be able to participate in group and individual counseling and other therapeutic activities just as soon as you feel up to it. That varies from person to person and a lot will depend on what substances you were using and how you’re responding to treatment among other things. We want you to make the most of your time while you’re here and to make sure you are both comfortable and getting the help you need to recover. 

OK, I’m Ready, I Want To Go To Detox There, What Do I Do?

This part is pretty easy. It always starts with a phone call to (512) 398-3000. You’ll tell us what you or your loved one needs help with and we will answer your questions about our program, detox or addiction treatment in general. Your admissions coordinator will do an initial screening so we can better understand your needs and get you clinically approved to admit. In some cases we may ask you for some medical records, but this is all usually pretty streamlined. Once you are approved to admit, your admissions coordinator will explain what you need to pack for treatment and we’ll get your travel itinerary. Lots of our guests come from out of town, so if that’s you, we’ll be happy to pick you up at the airport, train or bus station. If you’re in the area,  you can have someone else drive you here (once your admission date and time is confirmed) or we can pick you up locally (Austin/San Antonio area).

That’s all there is to it. All that’s left to do now is make that phone call so we can begin the process for you. We’re at (512) 398-3000 and we look forward to the opportunity to help!