Social Detox vs. Medical Detox—What Would I Need For Addiction Recovery

Substance abuse can shake the very foundation of anyone’s life. Whether it’s the person using the substance or his or her family, the road to recovery is hardly ever an easy one. It can take months and sometimes years to ensure there is no relapse and that the patient leads a clean life.

When it comes to substance abuse detoxification, there is no one right answer that will lead everyone to recovery. When a patient is assessed, we look at what classification of detoxification will work best for their needs. The stages of recovery are very specific to every person, and we strive to make sure we take those proper steps.

Two types of detoxification include social model detox and medical detox. Both are geared toward the success of helping someone with substance abuse yet involve two entirely different methods.

Medical Detox

Medical detox is one of the more common forms of detoxification. Facilities that offer medical detox are staffed with doctors, nurses, and other employees trained in helping patients cope with the unpleasant symptoms that come from withdrawal.

This form of detox manages acute physical symptoms that come with stopping any drug use. This is only the first step, though, and is not a long-term solution in many cases. Medical detox is specific for people who have addiction abuse with drugs like:

  • Prescription opioids
  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants like Ritalin, ecstasy or Adderall
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Sleep medication

In many places, this process lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 days, though every case is different. There is no set time frame required and there may be more work for people who have a history with years of drug or alcohol abuse.

When a patient uses medical detox, they are guaranteed that a medical professional will monitor them throughout the entire process. Pain and risks that come with withdrawal are eased as they flush the toxins out of their system.

Remember, medical detox is an early part of the detox process and without the proper medical care, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even life-threatening. For continuing sobriety, there are other steps and treatment programs a patient must enter.

Social Model Detoxification

This has a very specific meaning to the primary phase of drug and alcohol treatment. With social detox, the process of withdrawal from any relevant substances is monitored, supervised, and managed without any use of detox medication.

Why would this be useful to those addicted to substances? First, doctors must determine if the withdrawal process is manageable without any sort of medical intervention. The conclusion that medical intervention is not needed because withdrawal is not life-threatening usually means social detoxification is the first step.

Social model detox is also cost-effective for many people. Medical detox is essentially medical care and occurs in a hospital setting. Trained medical staff who monitor and supervise the patient can be costly.

On the other hand, social model detox is done through counseling and therapy. Because withdrawal symptoms can happen at any time and be severe, social model detox is closely monitored every step of the way. Concern for safety, understanding, and the physical and emotional nourishment of the patient and keeping them away from drugs are the primary goals of social model detox.

Social model detox can be highly effective and help patients develop long-term sobriety. There are pitfalls, though. Some facilities believe the patients must make regular check-ups for counseling while dealing with withdrawals on their own. Lack of 24/7 support can mean severe consequences for the patient.

Determining Needs

As you can see, it’s important to understand the differences between medical and social model detoxification and which one is right. Detoxification should never be handled lightly, and all courses should be taken into consideration for the patient.

If you, a family member, or friend needs help with substance abuse, please don’t wait until it’s too late. Drug and alcohol abuse can destroy lives and leave an emptiness inside of those left behind. We are ready to help and will take extreme steps to ensure complete confidentiality.

Please, take the necessary steps to get more information from Steps Recovery Centers. Everyone deserves help with overcoming substance abuse.