If I Haven’t Been Drinking Or Using Very Long, Can I Just Skip Detox And Go Straight To Treatment?

When most people think about beginning the process of addiction recovery, they think of one thing: detox. And that makes sense. Overcoming addiction means purging the substance you’re addicted to from your body and then keeping it out. But some people – particularly those who haven’t been drinking or using very long – wonder if they’ll need to undergo detox at all prior to their treatment.

The answer is: maybe.

It is true that not every addict will need detox before moving on to treatment. But the length of time they’ve been drinking or using isn’t the sole deciding factor. Treatment centers decide on the need for detox on a case-by-case basis using multiple metrics. Here’s how.

Deciding if Detox is Necessary

The first factor that a treatment center will consider when deciding if detox is necessary is the substance involved in the addiction. Some substances come with pronounced withdrawal symptoms that make detox a necessary step. And how much of the substance you’ve used doesn’t always alter that calculation. Examples of this include:

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines

That’s not an exhaustive list. And not all users of those substances will end up having severe withdrawal symptoms. Some people could use them for a matter of days and end up going through withdrawal. Others might be long-term users and have mild withdrawal symptoms. No two addicts are alike.

Multiple Detox Types and Lengths

A treatment center will consider the substance involved as well as the length and quantity of use to decide if detox is required. But if detox is deemed necessary, that’s not the end of the evaluation. Next, the treatment center must decide what type of detox procedure is needed.

In some cases, the person evaluating the case could decide that medical detox is the best fit. That would mean the addict would need constant medical attention and monitoring throughout the detox process. They might also receive medications to relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal while under care.

In other cases, a non-medical detox could be the right option. This is less common but involves simple monitoring and no direct medical treatment during the detox period. And both options could require different lengths of time, depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction. In some cases, as little as three days of detox is sufficient. Others might require up to two weeks.

Psychological Considerations

The physical effects of drug withdrawal aren’t the only things a treatment center considers when determining if detox is required. They’ll also conduct a psychological evaluation of the addict to decide what type of support might be necessary during the detox period. For example, someone seeking treatment might present with little to no chance of having severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop using.

But upon conducting a psychological evaluation, the treatment center could determine that the individual might pose a danger to themselves or others during detox. Or, they might decide that the individual would be unable to refrain from using on their own before beginning treatment. In those cases, formalized detox could be required before beginning inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.

Detox Isn’t Always Mandatory

Although detox is typically recommended in most cases when an addicted person seeks treatment, it’s not always a requirement. However, there are a variety of reasons that detox makes for an excellent first step in the recovery process regardless of need.

First, it assures the individual seeking treatment that they will have the help they need as they begin to move away from the substance that they’re addicted to. And second, it gives them the best possible start on their journey to long-term sobriety. And given the discomfort that’s often associated with the detox process, anything that increases the odds of never having to go through it again is worth doing.

So the bottom line is simple. If you’re dealing with an addiction, don’t worry about whether or not you’ll need to go through detox. Our caring and professional staff will help to make that determination after carefully weighing the specifics of your case and discussing your options with you. The most important thing you can do is to reach out to get the help you need. So call us today at 844-639-8371 and we’ll take it from there.

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