Experience Safe and Comfortable Medical Detox at Vista Taos Renewal Center

Learn more about the benefits of medical detox and how to find a reputable facility near you in this comprehensive article.
alprazolam addiction

What is Medical Detox?

Medical detoxification, often referred to as detox, is a process of supervised withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. It involves the use of medication to manage withdrawal symptoms. It also involves medical supervision to ensure safety and comfort.1

Detox is a common occurrence. This is because drug and alcohol abuse are common. In fact, 25.4% of illegal drug users have a drug disorder.2
This makes the need for detox and treatment crucial for health and safety.

Medical Detox at Vista Taos

What Happens During Detox?

During a detox, healthcare professionals track vital signs and provide medications. This helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms. 

The aim of detox is to help individuals get through withdrawal in a safe and comfortable way.

Detox is Only the First Step to Recovery

Medical detox is often the first step in the addiction treatment process. It is important to note that detox alone is not a complete treatment for addiction. But, it can help individuals overcome their physical dependence on drugs or alcohol.

How is Detox Conducted?

Detox can be conducted on an outpatient or inpatient basis. This may depend on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s medical needs.
It is always recommended to seek professional medical help and guidance when going through a detox process.

Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal

The symptoms of detox can vary depending on several factors, including:
  • The substance used
  • The length and severity of use
  • The individual’s health

Common Symptoms of Withdrawal

There are some common symptoms that people may experience during detox. These include:3
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating and chills
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly

Detox Can Be Challenging

Detox can be a challenging and uncomfortable process. In some cases, it can be dangerous. This is why it’s recommended to seek medical support when undergoing withdrawal.

Risks Of Medical Detox

While medical detox is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks.
Some of these risks include:4
  • Adverse reactions to medications used during the detox process
  • Complications from underlying medical conditions 
  • Dehydration, which can occur due to sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Electrolyte imbalances, which can be caused by dehydration
  • Complications such as seizures and heart rhythm disturbances
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to manage
  • Relapse due to incomplete detoxification or lack of follow-up treatment
  • Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety
  • Potential for drug interactions or complications if a person is detoxing from many substances

During medical detox, healthcare professionals can help reduce the risks involved in this process. 

Here are some ways to reduce the risks associated with detox:5

Seek Help

Seek professional medical help during the detox process.

Keep Providers in the Loop

Inform healthcare providers of any underlying medical conditions or medications to avoid potential complications or drug interactions.

Stay Hydrated

Ensure proper hydration and nutrition during detox. You can do this by drinking fluids and eating nutrient-rich foods.

Use Medications Properly

Take medications as prescribed. And inform healthcare providers of any adverse reactions or side effects.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care can include:
  • Getting enough rest
  • Engaging in gentle exercise
  • Avoiding stressors

Attend Treatment and Counseling

Follow up with addiction treatment and counseling. This will help to prevent relapse and address underlying mental health issues.

Gradually Stop Medication

Consider a gradual tapering of medication instead of stopping abruptly. This will help to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Choose an Appropriate Detox Program

Choose a detox program that is appropriate for your specific needs and medical history. This might include a program that specializes in a particular substance or population.

By taking these steps, you can help reduce the risks associated with detox and improve your chances of a successful recovery. 

Vista Taos offers programs that specialize in detoxing from a variety of substances.

How Long Does a Medical Detox Take?

The duration of a detox depends on several factors. In general, detox can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
For example, detox from short-acting opioids such as heroin or oxycodone often lasts 5-7 days. While detoxes from longer-acting opioids such as methadone may take 10-14 days. Detox from alcohol usually lasts 5-7 days but can be longer if the person has a severe addiction.6
Several factors can influence the duration of detox.

The Substance Being Detoxed From

Different substances can have different half-lives. Half-life is the amount of time it takes for the drug to be metabolized and eliminated from the body.7
This can impact the duration of detox.

The Severity of the Addiction

Individuals with severe addictions may need a longer detox period than those with mild to moderate addiction.

The Individual's Physical Health

People with underlying medical conditions may need a longer detox period. This is to ensure their safety and well-being during the process.

The Individual's Detox History

People who have gone through many detoxes or have a history of severe withdrawal symptoms may need a longer detox period.

The Method of Detox

The type of detox program, such as inpatient or outpatient, and the specific protocols used can impact the duration of detox.

The Level of Support and Aftercare Available

Individuals who have access to ongoing support and aftercare after detox may have a better chance of maintaining sobriety and avoiding relapse.
The duration of detox can vary depending on these factors and should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and circumstances.

Withdrawal Symptoms by Substance

One of the main considerations for the duration of detox is the type of substance used.
Detox can differ from substance to substance. This is due to the unique properties and effects of each substance, as well as the specific withdrawal symptoms that may occur.
Here are some examples of how detox may differ depending on the substance being detoxed from.8


Opioid withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
Detox from opioids often involves the use of medications. Medications such as buprenorphine or methadone help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

A Closer Look at Opioid Withdrawal


Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and even life-threatening in some cases. Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
Detox from alcohol may also involve the use of medications. Medications such as benzodiazepines help manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures.

A Closer Look at Delirium Tremens


Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can cause:
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
Detox from benzodiazepines may involve a gradual tapering of the medication. This is often done over several weeks or months to reduce withdrawal symptoms.


Stimulant withdrawal can cause:
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Intense cravings
Medical detox from stimulants may involve the use of medications. These medications can help to manage depression and other withdrawal symptoms.


Cannabis withdrawal can cause:
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
Medical detox from cannabis often involves managing withdrawal symptoms with medications and behavioral therapy

The Withdrawal Process Looks Different for Everyone

Medical detox may involve different medications and protocols depending on the substance used and each individual’s situation. Not everyone will experience the same withdrawal symptoms or need the same treatment.

Medical Detox vs. At-Home Detox

Medical detox and at-home detox are two different approaches to detoxification from drugs or alcohol.9
Below are some of the differences between the two.


Medical detox takes place in a healthcare facility. This is where healthcare professionals can track symptoms and provide medical supervision. This helps ensure safety and comfort during the detox process.
At-home detox takes place at home and may not involve medical supervision.


Medical detox may involve the use of medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
At-home detox may not involve medication or the use of over-the-counter remedies. Detoxing without medication or tapering is often referred to as “cold turkey.”

Risk of Complications

Medical detox has a lower risk of complications and adverse outcomes. This is because it takes place under medical supervision.
At-home detox may carry a higher risk of complications due to the lack of medical supervision.


Medical detox is designed to make the process as comfortable as possible for the individual. It includes medical professionals on hand to manage withdrawal symptoms and provide support.
At-home detox may be less comfortable. It may involve a more prolonged withdrawal process.


Medical detox can be more expensive than at-home detox due to the cost of healthcare services and medications.

At-Home Detox is Risky

At-home detox may not be appropriate for everyone and can carry significant risks. Medical detox is generally considered the safer and more effective approach to managing withdrawal symptoms.
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to see professional help when deciding to detox.

When to Consider Medical Detox

You should consider medical detox if you have a substance use disorder and are dependent on drugs or alcohol.
Physical dependence occurs when the body adapts to the presence of a drug or alcohol. The body often experiences withdrawal symptoms when the substance is discontinued or reduced.

Reasons to Pursue Medical Detox

Medical detox may be necessary if you are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. It’s also a good option if you have a history of medical complications.
It’s also recommended if you are detoxing from certain substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. These substances can cause life-threatening complications during withdrawal.

Other Signs You May Need Medical Detox

Some signs that you may need medical detox are:
  • You have a history of severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or delirium tremens (DTs).
  • You have a co-occurring medical condition that could be exacerbated by withdrawal.
  • You have been using drugs or alcohol for a long time or at high doses.
  • You have previously tried to detox at home and were unsuccessful or experienced complications.
  • You are detoxing from a substance that can cause life-threatening complications, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
  • You are detoxing from many substances at once.
  • You have a history of relapse.
Even if you do not have any of these signs, you may want to consider a medical detox if you are having addiction issues. This will help ensure a safer and more comfortable withdrawal experience.

Why Medical Detox is an Important Step in Recovery

Medical detox is an important step in the recovery process for several reasons. These will be detailed below.

Safe and Supportive Environment

It provides a safe and supervised environment for people to withdraw from drugs or alcohol.

Use of Medications

Detox can provide medications to manage withdrawal symptoms. This can help reduce the discomfort and distress that can come with withdrawal.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)


Medical detox helps to stabilize individuals and prepare them for ongoing addiction treatment. By removing drugs or alcohol from the body, people can begin to think more clearly and focus on the next steps in their recovery.

Allows for Further Treatment

This type of detox can help individuals engage in further addiction treatment. Removing the physical barrier of drug or alcohol dependence can help individuals engage in treatment.
It can also help people realize the severity of their addiction and the need for ongoing treatment and support.

Relapse Prevention

Detox can help prevent relapse by providing a strong foundation for ongoing recovery. It can also help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Helping to reduce the risk of relapse during the early stages of recovery.

Important First Step in the Recovery Process

Detox is an important step in the recovery process that can help individuals overcome their physical dependence on drugs or alcohol while also preparing them for ongoing addiction treatment.
Less than 42% of the individuals who enter treatment for drug and alcohol abuse complete it.10
That’s why it’s recommended to seek a program that best suits your needs. This will help to ensure that the process is safe and effective.

The Importance of Aftercare

It is important to understand the need for aftercare when entering medical detox and the recovery process.

Is Aftercare Important in Recovery?

Yes, aftercare is a crucial part of the recovery process. Aftercare refers to the ongoing support that individuals receive after completing a detox and initial addiction treatment.
The goal of aftercare is to help people maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse.11
It’s important to seek ongoing support and treatment after completing detox to prevent relapse and maintain a healthy life in recovery.

Why is Aftercare Important?

Aftercare is important because it provides ongoing support and treatment to individuals after they complete detox and initial treatment.
In fact, continued support after treatment has shown to be effective in maintaining recovery. During the first year after treatment, alcohol-related problems show a 60% decrease.12
Let’s discuss some of the reasons why aftercare is so important.

Preventing Relapse

Aftercare can help individuals maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse. This is done by providing ongoing support and resources to help manage triggers and cravings.

Continued Support

The ongoing support and encouragement help individuals stay on track with their recovery goals. This can include:
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Support groups like AA or NA

Addressing Underlying Issues

Aftercare can help individuals address underlying issues that may have contributed to their addiction. This might include:
  • Mental health disorders
  • Trauma
  • Relationship issues

Continued Learning

Aftercare can provide ongoing education and resources. This will help individuals learn more about addiction and recovery and develop the skills needed to maintain sobriety.


Aftercare can provide accountability and monitoring. This helps individuals stay motivated and committed to their recovery goals.

Building a Support Network

Aftercare can help individuals build a strong support network of peers, counselors, and other professionals. These people can provide ongoing support and encouragement.

Improving Well-Being

Aftercare can help individuals improve their well-being by addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. And also promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Seeking continued services after completing a detox and initial treatment is key to continuing your recovery journey. Continued care will help set you up for continued success in recovery.
medical detox

How Can Vista Taos Help with Medical Detox and Sustainable Recovery?

Vista Taos is a treatment center that specializes in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring disorders. At Vista Taos, we provide a holistic approach to medical detox and sustainable recovery.

Below are some ways that Vista Taos can help you overcome your addiction.

Medical Supervision

Vista Taos offers medically supervised detoxification services to ensure that individuals detox safely and comfortably. 

Our detox program is a 6 to 10-day healing process individualized to fit your needs.

Personalized Treatment

Our staff creates personalized treatment plans for each individual based on their unique needs and circumstances.

"At Vista Taos, we start by conducting thorough assessments to gain insights into each person's physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Based on these assessments, we collaborate closely with the patient to design a personalized treatment plan that integrates holistic modalities. We continuously monitor progress and adjust the plan as necessary to ensure that it meets the evolving needs and preferences of the individual. By prioritizing customization and flexibility, we empower our patients to actively engage in their healing journey and achieve lasting wellness."

Evidence-Based Treatment

Vista Taos offers evidence-based therapy modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and trauma-informed therapy, to address underlying issues that may contribute to addiction.

Holistic Treatment Approach

At Vista Taos, we offer a holistic approach to treatment. We aim to address physical, emotional, and spiritual needs through a range of services, such as , massage, and mindfulness meditation.

"At Vista Taos, we believe that holistic treatment approaches play a vital role in complementing traditional mental health therapies. By integrating methods such as mindfulness, yoga, nutritional therapy, and art therapy alongside evidence-based practices like psychotherapy, we offer a comprehensive approach to healing. This holistic approach addresses the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, allowing us to better support our clients in achieving lasting recovery and overall well-being. Our goal is to empower individuals to cultivate resilience and self-awareness, fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and their mental health journey."

Family Involvement

Vista Taos involves family members in the recovery process. We do this by offering family therapy and education to help them support you in your recovery.


Vista Taos offers ongoing aftercare services. This includes alumni support groups, relapse prevention planning, and continued therapy to help you maintain your sobriety and achieve sustainable recovery.

Contact Vista Taos Today

At Vista Taos, we combine our medical expertise, a healing environment, and holistic services to help you achieve lasting recovery.

For more information about our programs, contact us today at 575.758.5858 or reach out online.

We’re excited to help you thrive.

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Ready to Renew Your Life and Well-Being?

Reach out to Vista Taos Renewal Center today and let us guide you toward sustainable recovery. We will help you heal from the addictions and substance use challenges that hinder you from leading your most fulfilled life through personalized, whole-person treatment.