I have just finished an internship at a very busy alcohol and drug detox center. Entering a detox center is often the first step a person takes in trying to overcome an alcohol or drug addiction. When someone or a family member goes into a alcohol and drug detox  center it can be a very confusing and scary time. Often times clients are at a point in their life where they have lost or are about to lose everything that is important to them. A lot of people do not know what to expect out of a detox center. What will I do there? What should I expect? I aim to help answer these questions in the following segments.


If you consistently use an addictive drug for a long period of time, the chemicals in the drug can affect your body and brain function. Addiction on a physical level can reduce the ability of your body to produce necessary chemical processes, making you more dependent on the drug to provide those substances.

When in withdrawal clients can have many symptoms that can include sweating, shaking, headaches, drug craving, vomiting, shaking or tremors, stomach problems, confusion, agitation, depression, anxiety and even heart attacks and death.

The purpose of a detox center is to have a safe medical withdrawal. The treatment team gives you medication to relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal. In the detox I was at, clients are given Methadone for opiate and benzodiazepine withdrawal and the Clonidine/Librium protocol for alcohol withdrawal.

The average stay at the detox center I interned at was 6 days for opiate and alcohol withdrawal and 9 days for benzodiazepine withdrawal. The length of stay can also be dictated by the insurence company paying for the treatment.


Every detox will vary. Most programs will provide a pamphlet on what an average day looks like at their facility.

AT the treatment center I was at, an average typically looked like this

7:15-8:00 -breakfast

8:00-8:45- Med pass(for those who were taking their meds at this time)

8:45-9:15-free time/cigerette break

9:15-10:00- morning group

10:00-10:30-vitals check

10:30-11:15- Group

11:15-12:00- Lunch

12:00-1:15- Med pass/free time/cigarette break

1:15-2:00-- Group

2:00-3:00--free time

3:00-4:00-- Group

4:00-4:45--free time


5:30-6:30--Med pass/free time/cigarette break

6:30-7:30-- members from local AA or Na groups would come and talk about their experiences.

I used to leave after 7:30 but the rest of the night consisted of free time and a wrap up group.

The first few days most clients will spend a lot of time in bed.

Groups at the detox center I was at were not mandatory.

There was a tv room for clients to relax in and playing card tables set up in the hall ways.


What you bring to detox can vary between individual.

At the treatment center I was at there were a lot of clients who were homeless so they just brought the clothes on their backs.

However for everyone else it is pretty general. You should bring enough clothes, cigerettes(if you smoke) and any legal medication you are on for six days.

At the treatment center I was at they allowed for drop offs so clents could get extra clothes or cigerettes.

The money clients bring in should be kept at a minimum. Just enough for a vending machine and the pay phone. There is no good reason why someone should have a lot of money in a detox center.

The detox center I was at had a list of other things (like personal items) that you could bring in. The admissions person at a detox center will tell you what you can bring in during your intake.


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Mona 4 years ago

Wow. Thanks for posting the typical day schedule at detox centers. It gives me some idea on how a patient spends his day inside. I just wanted to share for your readers who wants to find more info about detox centers, you can go here:

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