Medical detox is a process to help an addict who is using dangerous drugs that cause severe withdrawals to safely stop using these drugs or taper off them. The first step with a medical detox is the initial assessment to determine how severe the addiction may be, what types of drugs are being used, and for how long, as well as any existing medical conditions. After the assessment, the patient will be admitted for a specific length of time, but this is all dependent on how well they do through detox.
During the medical detox process, the patient will be monitored around the clock, and will typically be given medication to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. Because many drugs create dangerous and painful withdrawal symptoms, it is necessary to administer other drugs to alleviate pain and discomfort. This process is essentially important for people addicted to alcohol, opiates, central nervous system depressants, and any other drug that creates a dangerous dependency. Once the patient has completed a medical detox, they will typically go through a stage where they are weaned off all the medications. After this step, the transition into a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program can begin.