Medical Drug & Alcohol Detox Program at Defining Wellness

Dr. Saurabh Bhardwaj

Dr. Bhardwaj, Medical Director is a Board-Certified Addiction Psychiatrist (ABPN) and currently the Medical Director of Defining Wellness Center in Brandon MS. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Center for Innovation & Discovery in Addictions (CIDA) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He has been in Mississippi since 2018, building Addiction services for the state's only medical center and joined Defining Wellness Center in 2022 to provide specialized dual diagnostic services. He is a recipient of Ruth Fox scholarship from AAAP and trailblazer teaching award from UMMC. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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Admissions Question?

If you find yourself among the millions of people who battle with addiction and want to stop, chances are you have questions as to where to start. We’re here to help.

What is Medical Detox from Alcohol and other Drugs?

Medical detox is an early step toward recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. It’s essential for anyone who has shown signs of psychological or physical dependence on a substance. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, a medical detox can help ensure that they have a healthier future. This is often necessary because withdrawing from drugs or alcohol can be life-threatening in some situations.

Essentially, medical detox programs help reduce the possible physical harm resulting from quitting drugs or alcohol after using them for a sustained period. When under medical supervision, the individual will get more care and support while dealing with withdrawal symptoms. The Defining Wellness Centers offer a medical detox program that gives you a chance at building new and healthier habits.

Medical Detox

Detoxification refers to the process of eliminating toxic, addictive substances from your body. Under medical detoxification, you will have therapists, clinical staff, nurses, and a physician overseeing the process. Detox happens at the start of your treatment. However, it is worth noting that medical detoxification alone cannot change the long-term course of the addiction.

What Type of Substances Require a Medical Detox?

There are many types of narcotics and prescription drugs that can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. Here are just a few substances that require medical assistance to quit.


Opioids have been around for a long time and are used in treating pain. Essentially, they imitate the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, meaning that a regular intake of opioids can shut down the body’s chemical production and make it reliant on the external chemicals instead. Therefore, their absence will create withdrawal symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, muscle aches, and cold, clammy skin. The symptoms can be very uncomfortable, but withdrawal from opioids on its own is not a deadly condition.


These are sedatives used to treat ongoing seizures and anxiety. The chemical effect that they will have on your body is similar to that of alcohol. Therefore, the withdrawal symptoms will be similar to those of alcohol withdrawal.


Alcohol slows down the activity in your central nervous system. Alcohol withdrawal can cause tremors and anxiety and increased heart rate. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening, and symptoms will include hallucinations and seizures.

Who Needs a Medical Detox?

Addiction is a chronic condition, and medical detox is the first step to managing it. Those who have developed physical dependencies should consider going through a medically supervised detox. You may be physically dependent on a substance if you:

  • Tried quitting and realized that you are unable to without help
  • Regularly crave a substance when you have no access to it
  • Take higher amounts of the substance to achieve the regular effect
  • Gradually experience a reduced effect when you use the same amount of substance
  • Have been using the substance for a long time or in large dosages

Usually, when clients with a substance use disorder are at risk of facing withdrawal effects from drugs or alcohol, they seek medical detoxification treatment. Besides building drug tolerance, withdrawal is an indication that your body has become physically dependent on the substance.

What Happens in a Medical Detox Center?

The clinical staff usually comes up with medical detox care specifically tailored for your individual needs. Below is what you can expect to happen in a medical detox facility.

Medical Assessment

All clients have to undergo a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that their needs are met. During this evaluation, the physician may screen for:

  • Risk of withdrawal
  • Contributing psychological factors
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Co-occurring disorders
    History of alcohol and drug use disorders

Once the physician gathers all the necessary information about a client’s addiction and medical history, they will customize a medical detox plan. Your medical detox can begin afterward.


A client will likely experience withdrawal symptoms once the drugs or alcohol in their system are reduced. It may take some time for one to get through the withdrawal symptoms. Overall, several factors will influence how long withdrawal lasts. These factors include:

  • Underlying mental health conditions
  • Your genetic makeup
  • The amount of substance that you take at a time
  • Method of use
  • The extent and duration of your addiction
  • Type of substance you are addicted to

It is worth noting that everyone experiences medical detoxification differently. Withdrawal results in a range of psychological and physical symptoms. These can be severe or mild cases of the following:

  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Intense substance cravings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • High temperatures and chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Shivering
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea
  • Increased heart rate


You’ll receive properly controlled medication to help you cope with the withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. The medication will counteract most of the symptoms and help you get enough sleep. However, it is worth noting that the medicine cannot alleviate all the symptoms.


Detox clients usually receive around-the-clock support and care, which is equally vital in helping with successful medical detoxification. Compassion and support also improve the best possible outcome for clients. Every client undergoing medical detoxification is closely monitored throughout the day through the whole process.

Is It Safe?

Medical detox is an effective and safe way of getting rid of the toxic substances from your body when experiencing substance withdrawal. Usually, every step of the process is overseen by a team of medical professionals trained in the management and treatment of addiction. On the other hand, a non-medically supervised detox is not always safe due to the chances of extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal from most substances often causes fluctuations in body temperatures and heart rate. The nursing staff closely monitors these signs. Ensure that your medical detox takes place in a licensed detox facility that has an experienced staff to supervise you.

How Long Does a Medical Detox Last?

Several factors will influence the intensity and length of your medical detox. Overall, medical detox can last anywhere from seven to 10 days. Below are some factors that may impact how long it lasts.

Personal Factors

Your genetic makeup, metabolic rate, weight, and body chemistry will all help determine the beginning of your withdrawal and how you will respond to the treatment.

The Amount of Substance You Used

More potent substances usually promote faster tolerance in your system because your body takes extreme measures to adjust to the drugs present.

The Length and Frequency of Substance Use

The more often that you use a substance, the more likely that you are to develop a physical reliance on it. Similarly, the longer you use a substance, the higher the possibility of a physical dependency. Physical dependence can develop faster in specific drugs within a short period of frequent use.

The Type of Substance You Used

The type of substance you used mainly determines what your withdrawal timeline looks like.

What Medication Is Used in Medical Detox From Drugs or Alcohol?

There are specific types of medication used during medical detox that help decrease substance cravings or prevent withdrawal symptoms. Note that this medication is not necessarily given to all clients. On the contrary, it can only be administered under a medical professional’s clearance. Below are a few of the medications that may be administered during medical detox.


It is an injectable new addition to addiction treatment medication that is a long-acting form of buprenorphine. Its method of administration helps alleviate the risk of abuse while addressing withdrawal symptoms. It is worth noting that it can only be given to clients who have received a stable dose of suboxone’s transmucosal form for a minimum of seven days.


It is an approved form of treatment for clients with opioid use disorder. Suboxone is a pretty effective method of treating withdrawal symptoms. Physicians who prescribe this drug must undergo training because of its status and physiology as an opioid used in treatment.


It is an injectable treatment form of naltrexone used in treating opioid and alcohol use disorders. Its effects can last for a month, but a client would have to take the oral form daily. Clients need to have abstained from the use of opioids or alcohol for a minimum of seven to 10 days before they receive Vivitrol.


It can be used in treating alcohol and opioid use disorders. It is an opioid blocking agent that is long-acting and, as a result, can cause opioid withdrawal in any client who has used opioids recently. Therefore, it is recommended that you are abstinent from opioids for at least seven days to receive this treatment while in medical detox.


Methadone is used to alleviate opioid withdrawal and is a fully activated opioid with all the risks, except that it’s monitored. When used in medical detox, it is very effective in easing the withdrawal symptoms of opioids. Gradually, a client will taper off methadone. All centers that use it in treating opioid use disorder must be federally licensed.

What To Do After Medical Detox

It is often best for clients in medical detox to immediately transition to a partial hospitalization or residential treatment. Attending support groups and group counseling can also make a difference. Drugs and alcohol rehabilitation can only be effective when it caters to psychological and physical aspects of addiction.

You may be given some medication to help you manage cravings for alcohol or drugs. It will help in facilitating long-term recovery from substance use disorder. Besides medication to help with your recovery, it is vital to seek ongoing treatment for recovery to be permanent.

Where Can You Find a Medical Detox Center?

While you can easily search for a medical detox center near you online, it helps to be informed about different options. A good medical detox center should offer access to 24/7 treatment and have a team of experienced and professional staff who can respond to different medical needs. It should also be fully licensed and accredited.

Medical Detox Programs at the Defining Wellness Centers

The Defining Wellness Centers offer 24/7 medical detox services, among other substance use disorder treatments. At our centers, medical detox treatments are customized to fit individual clients’ needs.

We offer several approaches and treatment programs at the Defining Wellness Centers that we believe are vital in serving our clients. Our clinical team is trained in various modalities and techniques, and our campus has been set up to support specific treatment needs. We also offer therapies particular to the different forms of mental health disorders.

Addiction recovery and treatment is a learning process. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, reach out to us today. Our dedicated team will offer you all the support you need.