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3 Stages of Detox

3 Stages of Detox

You’ve made the decision to get sober. Congratulations—that is a monumental first step that will make things so much better for you and for those who love you.

Depending on the substances you’ve been using and the duration of your use, you may need to go through a detoxification process. It sounds scary. We’ve all heard horror stories of detox and withdrawal. Be encouraged. While detox can be a very trying experience, you won’t be alone. You’ll have professionals by your side, and medicines to help alleviate some of your symptoms, all helping you concentrate on the hard work at hand—your recovery.

Because it can be helpful to know what you may experience, here is a breakdown of three stages of detox: acute, emergent and post.

The Acute Detox Stage

Detox begins with the acute stage, which you’re wise to go through at a detox center. Medical supervision is often necessary during this period, especially when coming off of harsh drugs like benzodiazepines, heroin or alcohol. Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal. You may still experience many unpleasant side effects of your body’s withdrawals, shaking, sweating, nausea, anxiety and more.

Acute detox is only the first stage of addiction treatment. By itself, it does little to change long-term substance use behaviors. Stop here and you’ll likely start using again. Think of acute detox as a necessary first step in your recovery and renewal.

The Emergent Detox Stage

Following the acute detox stage, people in recovery enter the emergent detox stage. Health conditions which may have gone undetected during your active addiction sometimes emerge. Issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or clinical depression are common.

Substance use and addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Whatever underlying issues may have contributed to your using will need to be addressed. This is why it’s important that you see both a medical doctor and a mental health therapist as you come off of your drug of choice, and work with them to detect and address all possible issues.

The Post Detox Stage

The last part of detox is known as the post detox stage. This stage occurs as you’re completing your program and returning home. Now you’ll be facing life without using your substance of choice and dealing with any lingering withdrawal symptoms on your own.

The post detox stage lasts for about a month or two, depending on what your drug of choice was and how much detoxifying your body has to do. The overall experience tends to vary based on factors like the work you’ve done and the life skills you’ve gained through the first two stages, and the presence of ongoing therapy, support group attendance and participation, and your general mental and physical health.

It’s worth mentioning again for clarity—the work you’ve put in during the first two stages can greatly impact this third stage, and your overall recovery and renewal.

If you are looking into recovery for yourself or someone you love, we’d love to help guide you along this journey. Speak confidentially with a counselor right now at (888) 837-6577.

We can help. Let us assist you in every step towards a complete recovery.

At Honey Lake Clinic, we understand that substance abuse is a complex and dangerous mental health concern, affecting not only the one in its grip, but also others. Our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists, strongly believe that faith-based treatment, encompassing mind, body and spirit, will provide you with the long-lasting tools and knowledge to find freedom from substance abuse.

A beautiful and tranquil 1300-acre lakeside setting, a safe medical environment, 24-hour nursing, doctors and psychiatric specialists, all administering care from a Christian worldview and perspective— Honey Lake Clinic is a unique solution in Christian mental health.

Make a phone call right now. To learn more or to get help today, call Honey Lake Clinic (888) 837-6577 Email or visit