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Page medically reviewed by Dee Johnson (MbacpMNCS), Addiction Therapist at Priory Hospital Chelmsford in August 2022.

What is Drug Detox?

If you’re wondering what to expect from rehab, drug detox is a common stage in any drug rehabilitation journey.

Detox is the process by which toxic substances, such as drugs and alcohol, are broken down and passed out of the body. This happens as part of a comprehensive, medically assisted process, where we’ll help you to manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience and ensure that you remain comfortable.

Ultimately, the aim of detox is to tackle the physical symptoms of your substance use disorder. Once you are physically stable, we’ll empower you to address the underlying causes and triggers for your addictive behaviours as part of a comprehensive, residential addiction treatment programme.

Our rigorous drug detox programmes have been designed to ensure that this process is safe, thorough, and managed as smoothly as possible for each patient. Plus, it’s all done in a highly supportive, clinical environment.

Evidence shows that compassionate and supportive care is just as important as medication in the drug detox process. This is why we’re dedicated to providing exceptional support to our detox clients, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Addiction treatment at Priory Hospital Atrincham

Priory Hospital Altrincham provides excellent addiction treatment programmes for both behavioural and substance addictions, as well as medically assisted detoxification if needed. 

Watch this short video to find out more:


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How does Drug Detox work?

During your free initial drug addiction assessment, your specialist will be able to determine whether going through drug detox treatment is an appropriate and necessary step for you.

If this is the case, the next step will be for you to receive a comprehensive medical assessment with one of our addiction and detox experts. The purpose of this is to gather important information on the nature of your drug addiction, as well as your broader medical history, in order to allow our detox specialists to develop your individual plan.

So, what happens during a detox? Drug detoxification at Priory takes place as part of our residential addiction treatment programme, which means that you will stay at one of our hospitals for the duration of your detox. The process of detoxification usually lasts for between 7 to 10 days. 

With round-the-clock care and specialist medication management, we’ll ensure that you’re closely looked after, safe and comfortable at all times. We have medical and nursing staff on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning we’re able to help you with any issues or concerns you may have, and provide medical care in a swift and timely manner.

While there’s no medication that prevents all drug withdrawal symptoms, our team use appropriately controlled medication to help you cope with the detox process. This will help ease any anxiety and depression you might be feeling, help you to sleep, and counter as many other problems as possible.

Essentially, the goal of drug detox at Priory is to:

  • Remove all traces of harmful and addictive substances from the body
  • Reduce any withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you no longer have drugs in your system, by using appropriately controlled medication

The type and severity of the symptoms you experience during detox depend on a range of factors including:

  • The type of substance you’re addicted to
  • How long your body has been dependent on the substance
  • How much of the substance you’ve been taking
  • Your general physical and mental health
Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

The sudden removal of substances can cause a series of unpleasant, uncomfortable and sometimes distressing withdrawal symptoms.

Drug withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Sweating, shaking and shivering
  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and paranoia

The most severe withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

How long does Drug Detox take?

The structure and length of your detox plan will be guided by a number of different factors, including:

  • The level of your drug use (the amount you consume and how frequently)
  • The seriousness of your withdrawal symptoms
  • Your overall physical health and medical history

For most people, the detox process lasts for between 7 to 10 days. However, you’ll be able to start on our intensive programme of addiction therapy as soon as you’re physically able to, even if you’re still going through detox.

Where can I Detox?

If you think you’re in need of a drug detox to remove the influence of harmful substances on your body, it’s important that you seek professional help. Trying to detox by yourself at home, without any monitoring or support, can be dangerous. Going ‘cold turkey’, without medical supervision, can lead to serious issues and can even be fatal.

While you’re detoxing with us, you’ll stay in a modern, well-equipped en-suite bedroom, which has been specifically designed to be welcoming and comfortable, in order to support you in your relaxation and recovery. In order to ensure that the detox process is as pleasant and restful as possible, we’ll also provide you with a range of entertainment facilities, such as books and televisions, to help you pass the time and serve as a welcome distraction from your withdrawal symptoms.

Drug detox and withdrawal may seem overwhelming. However, at Priory, our specialist detox teams are dedicated to minimising the impact of your drug withdrawal symptoms, and offer you the expert service you need for successful and long-lasting addiction recovery.

Get in Touch Today

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call 0330 056 6023 or click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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