Square Pegs and Round Holes: Why Detox Must Be Personalized

One size does not fit all when it comes to reinventing recovery.

Personalized treatment for substance abuse is vital to secure recovery success. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism or a combination of the two—it’s never too late to get help.

Before engaging a long-term recovery program, recovering individuals need to undergo a detox program. A drug detox center can offer personalized support, but the patient needs to be examined to receive custom-tailored treatment. In most cases, a one-size-fits-all detox program won’t work. If a patient doesn’t fit with the program a drug detox center offers, they may not recover. Personalized treatment is never inaccessible. Below, we’ll outline its benefits and astounding capabilities.

Why Is Personalized Alcohol and Drug Detox Necessary?

For many, the fear of going through detox—alone—prevents them from receiving the care they need. Fear is a major deterrent to seeking treatment. For this reason, it’s necessary to help clients overcome the pitfalls of standardized treatment.

The Key is Evaluation

Evaluation is the driving force of successful detox. Studies suggest that the development, and implementation, of alcohol detox protocols are the driving force for recovery. Clinicians who care for patients needing alcohol detoxification face a lot of challenges. Between a lack of evidence-based guidelines, high recidivism rates, and treatment diversity, a lot of barriers block the approach to standard treatment.

Withdrawal Symptoms Vary Widely

Withdrawal Symptoms
Depending on the substance, a patient’s withdrawal symptoms can vary widely. Drug and alcohol detox differs greatly from patient to patient. For this reason. a lot of drug and alcohol detox centers focus heavily on withdrawal, itself.

A personalized detox approach can help target, alleviate and eliminate these withdrawal symptoms, creating a treatment procedure which is specific to:

  • The intensity of withdrawal symptoms
  • The length of withdrawal
  • The chance of relapse

Addictive drugs and alcohol change the way the brain processes emotions, regulates mood and perceives different stimuli. Substances flood the brain with neurotransmitters—like serotonin and dopamine—which create artificial feelings of pleasure.

Personalized drug detox treatment intends to target the highly specific changes occurring in the individual’s brain. Depending on how the substance has interacted with the individual’s brain and body functions, specific treatment options may be needed.

About the Withdrawal “Timeline”

The withdrawal “timeline,” or the length of time withdrawal symptoms last, depends on the consumed drug’s “half-life.” This half-life directly drives the withdrawal process. The duration and severity of withdrawal are controlled by the level of substance dependency. They are also controlled by several other factors, including:

  • The type of drug used
  • The length of time of abuse
  • The method of drug consumption
  • The amount taken every time
  • Medical and mental health factors
  • Genetic makeup and family history

Taking a Closer Look

substances. Drug detox programs

For reference, it’s a good idea to understand the withdrawal timelines of different substances. Drug detox programs examine these substance timelines before creating a detox treatment plan. This said, drug detox programs which use this information as a stepping stone—as opposed to a complete treatment foundation—tend to be more successful.

Prescription Opiates

Prescription opiates, like OxyContin, Vicodin, morphine, and methadone, typically have a withdrawal period beginning eight hours after use. Withdrawal peaks between 12 and 48 hours—and it can last up to 10 days. Methadone withdrawal is particularly difficult to deal with—lasting up to four weeks.


Heroin withdrawal starts approximately 12 hours after the user’s last dose. Withdrawal peaks within 24 to 48 hours, and it can last up to a few months—depending on the individual.


Cocaine withdrawal can begin within mere hours of the user’s last dose. It typically peaks within a few days—lasting between one and 10 weeks. The cocaine withdrawal timeframe varies widely from case to case, however, making custom detox treatment centers especially valuable.


An alcohol detox center may provide a one-size-fits-all detox treatment program, but it might not be as effective as a custom treatment plan. Alcohol withdrawal normally begins between eight hours of the individual’s last drink—lasting up to a few days. In some cases, withdrawal can last up to a few weeks. Alcohol detox medication is often required, but its doses differ on a case-to-case basis. Sometimes, alcohol detox medication isn’t effective unless a highly customized plan is used.

The Need for Post-Acute Withdrawal Treatment

Sometimes, withdrawal requires a high level of support. There may not necessarily be a right way to undergo a detox program, but taking the time needed to complete the detox process matters. Each patient’s needs are unique. Some patients may find themselves needing a higher level of support—support which needs constant adjustments to assure the patient’s comfort and overall health.

Detoxification and substance abuse treatment has undergone a number of changes, over the years. For this reason, establishing criteria which take the patient’s needs into account can be difficult. Even more difficult is the rocky tundra of post-acute withdrawal. Today’s leading drug and alcohol detox programs take post-acute withdrawal into consideration, crafting long-term programs made to return the body to “normal” functioning.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal?

Post-acute withdrawal (PAW) encompasses a number of uncomfortable systems which persist even after all traces of substances have left the brain and body. Detox treatment centers often acknowledge post-acute withdrawal for the threat it is. Some, however, don’t treat it effectively.

Because post-acute withdrawal lasts so long, it typically affects everyone differently. The most telling case of post-acute withdrawal exists in chronic pain patients. Those who’ve been treated with opioid painkillers, frequently have a lot of difficulties letting go of their medication. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Concentration impairment
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired mood
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

While post-acute withdrawal is a challenging process, it can still be beaten. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are a consequence of the many changes in a patient’s brain chemistry and anatomy. Because addiction frequently turns the brain’s reward system on its head, it can be difficult for recovering individuals to naturally cope with day-to-day stress.

Those who’ve abused opiates, for example, may experience reduced endorphins—as well as increased opioid receptors. As a result, they’ll have a higher sensitivity to pain. They’ll also have a harder time experiencing pleasure.

Stages of a Personalized Drug Detox Program

Every person’s road to recovery is different. Thus, the specifics of treatment are always different. Most drug and alcohol detox programs, however, follow similar stages. These stages have been created, implemented and redefined over many years—and by many detox centers.

A drug detox center, as well as an alcohol detox center, help patients recover with both medically assisted options and cognitive therapy. Medically assisted detox programs give clients the resources they need to navigate initial withdrawal stages. Detox programs further break down into inpatient and outpatient programs. Both offer a range of services from basic medical care to deep, comprehensive, treatment.

Initial Medical Treatment

As soon as a patient arrives at a drug or alcohol detox center, they’re given a comprehensive medical screening. Not everyone will need initial medical treatment, but many do. Acute medical care gives patients the access they need to stabilize—both mentally and physically.

Typically, the initial medical evaluation and assessment will identify immediate, underlying medical needs. If a patient needs medication—or if acute care is necessary—the appropriate medical monitoring and care will be provided.

Therapeutic Support

Next, the patient will be given therapeutic support. This support can be provided by either a counselor or one’s peers. Therapeutic support, typically, starts during the detox process. It can slowly “build up,” taking up more of the individual’s treatment schedule. As a client works through their withdrawal symptoms, they may be supplied with the following:

  • Group therapy
  • Personal therapy
  • Support groups

Periodic Patient Check-Ins

Both drug and alcohol detox treatment centers offer periodic check-ins. In personalized treatment plans, these check-ins are custom-tailored to the individual’s addiction, withdrawal, and recovery needs. Check-ins are conducted with a medical doctor, as well as a therapist, to assure the client is getting the support needed to continue their healing process. There isn’t a limit to check-ins, so patients can receive the support needed to benefit their own situation.

Ongoing Therapeutic Treatment

While detox may be the foundation of addiction treatment, it certainly isn’t a patient’s only option. Detox services can’t begin to encompass a patient’s needs. Once a patient’s detox is complete, they’ll need an intensive, comprehensive rehabilitation program to have a successful recovery.

Other patients, meanwhile, will need referrals to acquire adequate support. Normally, these referrals connect patients with capable medical and psychological providers. In personalized detox programs, these providers are hand-picked to mesh with a patient’s current treatment.

Personalized Inpatient and Outpatient Detox Programs

The primary goals of any detox program are to relieve withdrawal symptoms while treating serious psychiatric, medical conditions. Because medical and psychological issues can be numerous, both inpatient and outpatient programs may be needed. Personalized inpatient and outpatient detox programs might vary greatly, but they’re both incredibly beneficial to patients. Below, we’ll cover both. We’ll discuss the advantages of each, as well as the fundamental components which make them successful.

Inpatient Detox Programs

Inpatient detox hospitalization provides constant physician availability. It also gives patients access to a registered nurse, specialized equipment, and symptom alleviation. Personalized programs also prevent serious complications by acknowledging the patient’s medical needs. Some addicted individuals may suffer from the following:

  • Being dehydrated
  • Being underweight
  • Experiencing seizures

Inpatient detox treatment programs, first and foremost, protect patients from serious medical complications. Inpatient detox programs provide medications to prevent seizures, intravenous fluids, vitamins, and minerals. Understandably, these options should be similarly custom-tailored to the individual’s physical, psychological and emotional needs.

Outpatient Detox Programs

While inpatient detox programs give patients access to immediate medical assistance, outpatient programs support them with long-term recovery assistance. Outpatient programs can last between a few days and a few weeks. Personalized programs consist of individualized tapering plans which address the patient’s drug and alcohol dependencies. They also require regular doctor check-ins.

Outpatient programs also change, depending on their stage. Early outpatient detox days focus on withdrawal support. As an outpatient program continues, it helps recovering individuals deal with anxiety, depression, nausea, headaches and more. Often, specialized outpatient detox and rehab professionals give patients the necessary emotional and physical support they need.

As a patient starts recovering, they can be introduced into an outpatient program’s active therapy components. During these therapy sessions, they’re supported with a healthy exercise regimen, plenty of vitamins and community support.

Life After Detox

Life After Detox

A recovering individual’s life, post-detox, will require a lot of support. Once more: Detox is only the first step of a comprehensive recovery approach. Well-rounded, personalized treatment plans use traditional, holistic and alternative treatments to help recovering individuals. Addicted individuals should remember, however, that their life after detox is still at risk.

Fortunately, personalized programs are always accessible. Even if a recovering individual lives with co-occurring mental health disorders, help still exists. Once a patient undergoes personalized treatment, their drug history can be examined by future providers—giving them well-rounded treatment options.

The individual’s life goals, of course, are taken into consideration. The patient’s livelihood, happiness, and mental health always come first. From start to finish, personalized detox treatment navigates the difficult waters of acute withdrawal, post-acute withdrawal, relapse and long-term recovery.

Getting the Help You Need

If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to call your provider today. Personalized detox options are available, and they’re also affordable. Too many people suffering from addiction fail in recognizing the realities of addiction, but recovery needn’t be inaccessible.

When you’re in personalized care, your needs are safely and effectively assessed. Treatment is very personal, and your privacy is respected by your providers. Once the recovery process begins, you can achieve incredible things. Your life is worth quite a lot, and it deserves to be substance-free. Contact a medical provider today with more questions, and ask about the personalized detox and recovery options available in your area.

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