Do I Need Detox?

If you are battling drug or alcohol addiction and considering treatment options at Castle Craig, you may be asking yourself an important question: “Do I need a detox?” Here we aim to provide you with a clear understanding of whether a medically supervised or assisted detoxification is necessary for your recovery.

Detoxification, commonly known as detox, is the process of clearing the body of addictive substances in a safe and controlled manner. It’s often the first and crucial step in the treatment of addiction. However, not all substances necessitate a medically assisted detox, and the need can vary significantly based on your circumstances and the nature of your addiction.

Here, we will present a comprehensive list of substances that typically require detox and those that might not, offering you a clearer picture of what to expect during your treatment at Castle Craig.

Key Takeaways

  • Detox is necessary for substances such as alcohol, heroin, prescription opiates, and benzodiazepines due to the potential for severe withdrawal symptoms and physical dependence.
  • Cocaine, methamphetamines, cannabis, pregabalin, and ketamine do not require detox but can still lead to addiction and health issues, so seeking professional help is important for quitting safely.
  • The duration of detox varies depending on the substance, duration of use, and severity of addiction, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Reaching out to professionals for help is crucial, as they can provide medically supervised care, tailored treatment plans, access to support groups, and ongoing support for maintaining sobriety.

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What Happens During Detox?

When you embark on a detox journey at Castle Craig Hospital, you’re placed under medically supervised care in our specialist detox facility where we manage the withdrawal process with utmost precision and compassion. Our detox specialists are dedicated to making this first step in your treatment process as comfortable as possible, helping you manage the physical and psychological challenges of withdrawal symptoms.

The drug detox process is more than just abstaining from substance use. It’s a comprehensive treatment plan that involves using approved detox medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and minimise discomfort. These medications are administered and closely monitored by our medical team to ensure your safety and mitigate any potential risks.

Our detox specialists understand that each individual’s experience with addiction is unique, so our treatment plans are tailored to fit your specific needs. We’re committed to supporting you throughout this critical phase of your recovery journey, providing expert medical care and emotional support.

Our Detox Specialists

Dr Brendan Sweeney
Dr Brendan Sweeney
Speciality Doctor
Dr Giedre Putelyte
Dr Giedre Putelyte
Specialty Doctor
Dawn Dixon
Dawn Dixon
Head Nurse
Duncan Dewar
Duncan Dewar
Deputy Head Nurse

Which Substances Require Detox?

Understanding which substances require a medically supervised detox is a crucial step in your journey to recovery. If you’re wondering whether you need detox, it’s important to know that not all substance use disorders require this step. However, certain harmful substances, if heavily relied on, can lead to physical dependence, making detox necessary.


When it comes to alcohol, understanding whether detox is necessary can be a crucial step in your journey towards recovery. If you find yourself unable to stop drinking alcohol, experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, or needing to consume more to achieve the same effect, you may need to consider detox and alcohol rehab.

Severe withdrawal can lead to delirium tremens, a potentially life-threatening condition characterised by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever. It’s essential to seek professional help to manage these symptoms safely.

Treatment options can range from inpatient detox programs to outpatient counselling and support groups. Remember, you’re not alone. Help is available to guide you towards recovery.


Shifting the focus to heroin, it’s important to understand that this powerful opioid can create a severe physical dependency that often necessitates a professionally supervised detox. If you’re struggling with opiate addiction, you likely need a drug detox to safely navigate the withdrawal symptoms that may accompany discontinuation.

Here are three key aspects of the treatment process:

1. Medical Detox: This is the first step, where medical professionals manage your physical withdrawal symptoms.

2. Therapy and Counselling: These aim to address the psychological aspects of addiction, helping you understand and change your patterns of substance use.

3. Aftercare and Support: Post-detox, ongoing support is crucial to prevent relapse and maintain recovery.

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Prescription Opioids

Turning to prescription opioids such as Fentanyl, Hydrocodone (Vicodin), and Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet), it’s crucial to recognise that these potent substances also necessitate a comprehensive detox process for safe and effective recovery.

If you have an opioid addiction, withdrawal can be daunting. Drug withdrawal symptoms, which may include pain, restlessness, or anxiety, can be severe. However, with medically assisted detox, you’re not alone. Specific detox medications can help manage these symptoms, and a medical team will guide you through the process.


Just as with opioids, benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan can also lead to physical dependence and require a structured detox program for recovery.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal isn’t a simple process. It’s important to understand the risks and the necessary steps for a successful detox. Here are a few important points to consider:

1. Detox from benzodiazepines should never be attempted without professional supervision due to potential severe withdrawal symptoms.

2. A slow, gradual reduction is often the safest approach to benzodiazepines detox.

3. Treatment plans should be individualised, considering your health status and the severity of your dependence.

Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, and sleep disturbances. Remember, it’s not about willpower alone; it’s about seeking the right help and treatment. It’s a journey, and you don’t have to walk it alone.

Polysubstance Abuse

When dealing with polysubstance abuse, it’s crucial to understand that combining drugs with alcohol often necessitates a detoxification process. Discerning the need for detox is a vital step in your substance abuse treatment journey.

If you’re struggling with drug abuse involving multiple harmful substances, such as cocaine and alcohol, it’s important to recognise the seriousness of your situation.

Polysubstance abuse can complicate your detox process, making it potentially more dangerous and challenging. Still, it’s an essential stage for your recovery and health. The detox process can help cleanse your body and prepare you for the subsequent steps of treatment.

Which Substances Don’t Require Detox?

While it’s true that certain substances can lead to a physical dependence requiring detox, others such as the below typically don’t necessitate a medically supervised detox process:

  • cocaine,
  • methamphetamines
  • cannabis
  • pregabalin
  • ketamine

This isn’t to say that these substances aren’t harmful. They can still lead to alcohol and drug addiction, and severe mental and physical health issues. You also shouldn’t interpret this information as a green light to use these substances without consequences.

Your body does a remarkable job of processing and eliminating the most toxic substances you ingest. However, prolonged drug use can lead to a build-up of these toxins, which may necessitate a drug detox in some cases. But for the substances listed above, detox usually involves managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings rather than flushing out toxins.

It’s crucial to remember that even if a drug doesn’t require a medical detox, it doesn’t mean quitting is easy or safe to do alone. Treatment options vary based on the individual and their substance use history. Reach out to a healthcare professional to discuss the best course of action for you.

Your health and well-being are paramount, so don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re struggling with substance abuse.

Download our Brochure

Find out more about Castle Craig’s world-class addiction treatment programme and our extensive facilities.

The Impact of Mental Health on Detoxification

Mental health conditions can profoundly influence the emotional experiences of individuals during detox. The process of withdrawing from substances like alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines can be intensely challenging under any circumstances. However, for someone with an existing mental health condition, these challenges are often compounded. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues can become heightened during detox. This intensification occurs because the substances previously used may have been a form of self-medication to manage these mental health symptoms. Consequently, the removal of these substances can lead to a temporary exacerbation of their condition.

How Long Does Detox Last?

Have you ever wondered how long detox lasts? The duration of the detox process varies greatly because it depends on the type of substance used, how long it’s been used, and the severity of your substance use disorder.

If you’re addicted to alcohol, for instance, withdrawal symptoms may start within 8 hours of your last drink and peak within 24 to 72 hours. For opioids, withdrawal symptoms may begin within 12 hours for some substances and up to 30 hours for others. The detox process for these substances can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Your treatment plan also plays a significant role in determining how long the detox lasts. It’s important to remember that completing detox is just the first phase of the recovery process. Post-detox, you may need ongoing treatment to maintain your sobriety and prevent relapse.

Over 10,000 people have achieved sobriety through Castle Craig

Get in Touch With Us Today

Now that you’re familiar with the detox process and its duration, it’s essential to take the next step towards recovery. We understand that the thought of addiction treatment can be a daunting step to take, but remember, you’re not alone. Our team of medical professionals at the treatment centre is here to guide you.

Contacting us is an important decision in your journey towards successful recovery. When you reach out, you open yourself up to a wealth of resources:

  • Comprehensive treatment plans designed by professional help
  • Access to support groups that can offer you companionship and understanding
  • Medical professionals’ advice and support tailored to your unique needs

The journey to recovery isn’t easy, but it’s possible. And you don’t have to do it alone. Our team is here to provide you with the guidance and support you need.

We Are Here to Help You

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