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The Difference Between Sub-Acute Detox and Medical Detox

A team of four doctors and nurses stands in a hallway, ready to help.
There are definitely times when a medical detox is the safest option.


Once you’re ready to change your life, the next question is how you are going to do it.

For some, a medical detox is necessary to safely begin the recovery process. For others, a sub-acute detox is all that may be needed.

What is Sub-Acute Detox?

Sub-acute detox is kind of what it sounds like. The situation is not acute, meaning that it’s not life threatening.

This kind of rehab can be done on either an inpatient or an outpatient basis. Yes, the person in recovery will be evaluated, treated and monitored, but 24-care is not required.

What is Medical Detox?

Medical detox, on the other hand, does involve round-the-clock care and surveillance. It’s called for if a person is either physically or mentally unstable.

Mental instability, of course, can be caused by a variety of factors, but if a person is experiencing extreme depression or paranoia, for example, it’s critical that they be medically supervised during detox.

Physical Instability and Medical Detox

Physical instability is usually a question of a person’s general health, what drug they’ve been taking and how long they’ve been using. In some cases, going cold turkey can be life threatening. For that reason, a medical detox is the right choice for many people who are trying to abstain from alcohol, heroin, prescription opioids or stimulants.

Given what’s at risk—your life—don’t just guess what type of detox might be best for you. A better idea? Find a doctor or rehab program to treat and advise you.

What Happens After Detox?

Many people assume that once a drug is out of their system, they’ll be good to go. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Substance abuse changes the way your brain works. Yes, you’ll eventually recover, but it will take time to get back to normal. In the meantime, you’ll want to learn strategies for dealing with the many new emotions and challenges that come with sobriety.

What’s more, it’s important to think back to the reason why you began using in the first place. It’s all too common to use alcohol or drugs to deal with conditions like depression or anxiety—without even realizing the “self medicating” that you’re doing.

By spending time in rehab (and experts say that 90 days is best), you’ll have the chance to really dig in and find out what drove you to drugs or alcohol in the first place. That’s important because, unless any co-occurring conditions are treated, you’ll just be addressing the symptoms.

A good rehab offers the chance to dig addiction out at its roots, giving you a fresh start at a new life.

Detoxification Services at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment and detox center located in Denver where you can find the help you need to rebuild your life. Our team of experts works together to tackle both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

Tap button to call The Raleigh House.

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