Life After Detox: What Happens After Drug & Alcohol Detox

By Midwest Detox Staff

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Drug detox is difficult for anyone. Making it through the other side requires commitment and dedication, and having a solid detox center who can support you through it certainly helps. But how about after detox? What steps should you take to make sure you can go on to live a long, happy and successful life of sobriety?

In this blog, we’ll be looking at exactly what to expect after drug detox. By the time you’ve read this, you’ll have a clear idea of what you should do and not do to ensure the best possible outcomes following your detox.

In This Article
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    Medically Supervised Detox

    Before we dive into what you should do after detox, let's first take a look at what the detox process itself involves. It’s important that you know all about this before starting your rehab journey, as it isn’t possible for you to complete the other steps of recovery without first going through detox.


    When you first get to your medically monitored detox, you will go through the admission process. This usually involves going to reception and briefly filling out some forms. The best rehabs expedite this process, as much of the time when you arrive at a supervised detoxification program you are not in good shape.

    After filling out these necessary forms, if you feel up to it you may be shown around the facility. This will give you a good idea of the geography of the detox center, so you will know where everything is. Not everyone does this, and often you will skip this part and go to the next step.

    Everyone who goes to a supervised detoxification center will have a medical exam to ascertain their physical and mental condition. The medical professional on duty will also ask you questions that will help them to figure out how much medication you require. Once you have been given this medication, whether you are doing a medically supervised alcohol detox or a medically supervised drug detox, you will usually go and relax in your room for a while.

    Sometimes the medication you are given makes you feel sleepy, so it may be time for you to take a nap or just rest on your bed for a while.

    Detox Process

    After you have been admitted to the detox center and have acclimatized, it is time for the detox process to begin. If you are at a high-quality detox center, you will be made to feel as comfortable as possible with a combination of detox medicine and staff looking after you.

    The type of medicine that you are given will depend on what substances you have been using, and the amounts and length of time that you were using them for. Someone who has been smoking cannabis may be given a small amount of a benzodiazepine like Xanax, while a person who has been drinking large amounts of alcohol for a long period of time might be given a larger amount of Xanax alongside a drug like Gabapentin, which is used to increase the comfort of someone withdrawing from alcohol while reducing the risk of seizure.

    The length of the detox process is again dependent on the factors listed above. Some people may have successfully detoxed in a period of a week, while for others it may take a longer time frame.

    Note that Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) may kick in after the initial withdrawal period. This is a time when people who were addicted to substances may experience a milder but more prolonged period of withdrawal. It is important to have a program in place after you have been through the detox process, to make sure that you make it through PAWS successfully.

    Inpatient Rehab After Detox

    After you have completed detox, inpatient rehab is often considered the best place for you to go to learn the skills that you need to remain sober. Note that during the period following detox, due to PAWS you may be feeling a little raw. The support that you will receive at an inpatient rehab like Wellbrook Recovery will not only make the after-detox experience less difficult, but will also increase the chance of you achieving long-term sobriety.

    At inpatient rehab, you will have individual and group sessions that will teach you how to live without drugs and alcohol. You will also have the opportunity to look at the reasons why you became addicted to substances. This usually involves trauma work, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you look at maladaptive thought processes and behaviors.


    It is not possible for everyone to go to inpatient rehab following detox. Some people may not have the funds to do this, others may not have the time.

    Addiction professionals usually advise that you get some kind of treatment after detox, though. For people without the funds or time to go, an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a great choice. You will still learn the skills you need to be successful in recovery, but you will also be able to go home at the end of the day.

    Most IOP programs run a few hours a day, five days a week, and last for between a month and a few months. During an IOP you will be around other people who are going through the same trials and tribulations as you, which can be an enormous source of comfort.


    After you have been through inpatient rehab or IOP, the next stage is aftercare. Some people consider this stage to continue throughout the rest of your life. Aftercare is initially about getting support so that you will have people to lean on when you are new to recovery. It will also involve continued education regarding yourself and addiction, so that you minimize the chances of a relapse.

    Moving on into the later stages of recovery, your aftercare may actually involve helping other people. Those in recovery from addiction often find that doing this helps recovery stay fresh, and provides them with a purpose that keeps them clean and sober.

    Midwest Detox To Start Your Recovery Journey

    Before attending rehab or going to IOP, you first need to go to detox. This will provide you with unparalleled support to get clean and sober. Choosing a good detox center is crucial, as many people consider detox among the most challenging stages of addiction recovery.

    If you are choosing which detox center to go to, give Midwest Detox a call. We have helped countless people begin their first steps in recovery, and nothing gives us greater satisfaction than helping people through this first tricky stage and onto long-lasting recovery.

    Don’t wait until it’s too late. Reach out to Midwest Detox at 414-409-5200 or send us a message today.