Treatment options

What happens next?


Everyone entering treatment receives a clinical assessment to determine the type of treatment that’s the best fit. No one type of treatment is right for everyone; to work, the treatment needs to meet your individual needs.

Although clinical assessment continues throughout a person’s treatment, it starts at or just before a person’s admission to a treatment program. All facilities in the treatment locator offer assessment services.

Pre-treatment and detox

Medically supervised withdrawal (often called detoxification or detox) uses medication to help people withdraw from alcohol or drugs after using large amounts. Sometimes, withdrawal can be so severe that people hallucinate, have convulsions, or develop other dangerous conditions.

Detox can take place on a regular medical ward of a hospital, in a specialized inpatient detoxification unit, or on an outpatient basis with close medical supervision. Detoxification may take several days to a week or more.

Social detoxification can provide the support and care for someone who doesn’t need to be medically supervised during withdrawal. Sometimes social detoxification centers are part of a residential treatment program; other times they are separate facilities.

Social detoxification centers are not hospitals and seldom use medication, but the person does stay there from several days to one week. A staff of nurses watches each person’s medical condition closely, and counselors are available to help them through the most difficult parts of withdrawing from alcohol and drugs.

It is important to know that detoxification is not treatment; it is a first step that can prepare a person for treatment.

(Page published: October 2019)