Addiction Rehab Centre UK
Tel: 0800 246 5293

What is a drug detox?

Drug addiction detox refers to the medically supervised procedure involved in helping a person to become completely substance-free.  Sudden withdrawal from certain substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, can be life-threatening in some circumstances. Withdrawal from other substances can be very uncomfortable. A drug detox minimises the danger, and helps alleviate unpleasantness by carefully managing the withdrawal symptoms.

For substances such as heroin or opiates, withdrawing without medication (or going 'cold turkey') can be extremely unpleasant. Withdrawal can include diarrhoea, vomiting, restlessness, muscle/bone pain, insomnia, cold sweats and involuntary leg jerks.

Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, sleeplessness, raised anxiety, depression or, in extreme cases, psychotic episodes. Although there is not a formal drug detox for cannabis or cocaine, medication can be prescribed to help reduce anxiety and to help the person sleep.

The correct medical provision and emotional and psychiatric care is vital for successful withdrawal and abstinence.

When should someone drug detox?

When someone decides to get help for their addiction one of the first steps may be a detox programme. Usually someone who experiences withdrawal symptoms when ceasing use of a substance will require a detox for medical reasons. However a detox programme can help improve general physical well-being, as many people suffering from an addiction neglect their general health. 

Indications and warnings signs suggesting someone needs drug detox and treatment include:

If you are concerned that you or a loved one requires a drug addiction detox programme then call us. Our trained advisors speak to people on a daily basis, and can help advise if a drug addiction detox is required and if so, where and how to access it.

Where to get detox treatment from drug addiction

Residential drug detox clinics can provide the most immediate access to treatment. Residential treatment is preferable in many cases, especially for detoxification.The best outcome of success will be when a medicated detox is accessed as part of a complete addiction programme that offers psychological treatment as well. Residential clinics can also offer educational and social therapy to address all aspects of the dependence as well as residential drug detox. Another benefit is that residential treatment provides a safe and supportive environment away from many of the associations and triggers of the addiction.

It is possible to access private drug addiction treatment detox overseas, particularly appealing to those individuals who have already accessed help in the UK with limited success. Overseas, the person is completely removed from their problematic surroundings. Overseas treatment can also be better value in some cases.

The NHS can offer drug addiction treatment detox in the community or a short stay in a hospital or specialised ward.  It is important to remember that there is an imbalance between availability of addiction treatment in the NHS and the demand in the community. Long waiting lists may be involved. We can offer advice on alternative treatment options as well as offer support and encouragement during this time.

How long could treatment on a drug detox program take?

For medical reasons a minimum of 14 days in treatment is often required in order to safely detox. Research has shown that longer programmes, with a minimum of 28 days in residential treatment, offer a higher chance of maintaining abstinence than shorter programmes (National Treatment Outcome Research Study, 1996).

How much does a private drug detox program cost?

Costs can vary depending on the duration of treatment, the facilities, accommodation, location and level of medical cover in drug addiction treatment.

Triage Healthcare offers guidance towards the best treatment options based on your individual circumstances, budget and needs.

Where to find Drug Detox Centers in the UK

Triage Healthcare works only with clinics in the UK that are all fully regulated by the Care Quality Comission (CQC) and offer fully medicated and supported detox programmes.

We offer an immediate response service. Our helpline is open 7 days a week (call 0800 246 5293), and has a 24 hour messaging service which will be responded to by one of our trained advisors as soon as possible should you call out of hours.


NTORS The National Treatment Outcome Research Study: Summary of the project, the clients, and preliminary findings: First Bulletin. (1996). Gossop, M., Marsden, J., Stewart, D., Edwards, C., Lehmann, P., Wilson, A., & Segar, G. Department of Health: London.