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Detox Facility Guide for Sober Living Operators

Drug & Alcohol Detox


ATS (Acute Treatment Services) or Detox, which is short for “detoxification,” is the first step toward longer-term care and rehabilitation. Its original definition was to refer to the safe medical control of withdrawal from a drug (e.g., alcohol, heroin), but it is now often used more widely to refer to both withdrawal management and an additional recovery aspect, or just a treatment component other than medical withdrawal management (e.g., “going to detox” may sometimes apply to a stay in a rehabilitation center).



  • Length of substance use
  • Primary substance
  • Route of substance use (e.g., oral, injection, smoked)
  • Substance amount and tolerance
  • Family history
  • Co-occurring medical or mental health disorders


  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Shakiness, tremors
  • Problems sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability, mood swings
  • Tension
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Nausea, vomiting



Individuals with extreme alcohol use disorder may acquire this severe and debilitating medical condition. It is a life-threatening type of alcohol withdrawal that involves abrupt and serious changes in the mental and nervous systems. It usually occurs 24 hours or longer after acute cessation of alcohol. Extreme mental confusion and hallucinations will result from these changes.




The medical method concentrated on treating the physical symptoms of drug withdrawal and achieving metabolic equilibrium in a relaxed manner. Depending on the type of drug and severity of symptoms, a variety of drugs may be used to treat withdrawal symptoms.



Although it is necessary to always seek the guidance of a licensed healthcare provider, many drug use disorders, such as stimulants (e.g. cocaine), do not have drugs that can help with withdrawal, and these withdrawals are not life-threatening. Patients with withdrawal symptoms that require 24-hour structure and support from staff but do not require medically managed inpatient detoxification can opt for social detoxification services, which focus on peer and social support.



Referring to a Detox from a Sober House

Think your resident needs a higher level of care? See our Relapse Response Guide.

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