Josh Chandler | June 25, 2024

Medical vs. Non-Medical Detox in Los Angeles

What is Medical Detox?

You might be wondering how medical vs. non-medical detox differs and how it’s similar. Let’s start by explaining medical detox, an option often provided to people entering treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. It’s almost always offered as an inpatient plan, where the patient moves into a treatment center full-time to quit drugs and alcohol. In medical detox, they’ll have doctors, nurses, and even therapists around day and night to ensure they stay safe, with prescription medications available to help with pain, drug cravings, distress, anxiety, and discomfort. 

This process is especially helpful for people who have relapsed before when trying to quit, people who have been using drugs and alcohol for a long time, and people who have severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. When considering medical vs. non-medical detox, you must consider what you need and what type of experience you want. 

Related to a medical detox is a medication-assisted treatment plan. This is a longer-term doctor-led plan with measured doses of prescription medications provided on a strict schedule, slowly tapering down the amount as time goes on. This is often used in quitting benzodiazepine drugs, as quitting cold turkey could cause severe physical and psychological reactions. It’s also an option for those quitting opioid drugs, as replacement drugs like buprenorphine or methadone are provided to reduce the long-lasting withdrawal symptoms and cravings, with a slow tapering off to help the patient quit over weeks or months.


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What is Non-Medical Detox?

The biggest difference between medical vs. non-medical detox is the use of medicines during the detoxification process. If you choose the non-medical route in rehab, you won’t receive prescription medications. However, you will still stay inside a treatment center full-time to reduce the risk of relapse and to ensure you stay safe as your body recovers from drug and alcohol abuse. Some non-medical detox plans will integrate holistic healing processes, lifestyle and dietary changes, and exercise into the program to help you feel better while improving your overall health and self-esteem. 


Differences Between Medical vs. Non-Medical Detox

Some of the biggest differences between medical vs. non-medical detox are:

  • The substances you’re detoxing from: Some drugs are more dangerous to stop using than others, with serious withdrawal symptoms that can cause health problems and serious discomfort during detox. These include alcohol, opioid drugs, and benzodiazepines. If you’ve been using these substances or have a more severe addiction, medications are recommended to ease the pain, discomfort, cravings, and other symptoms that can feel impossible to endure. On the other hand, other detox processes can be easier to survive without prescription medications.
  • The use of prescription medication: Medical detox uses helpful medications to ease pain and reduce health risks, while non-medical detoxification is a process that takes place in  
  • The setting: Medical detox needs to take place in a location equipped with the right medications and amenities to keep you safe. In non-medical programs, you can detox in a comfortable space, with support from staff and peers and a variety of holistic methods like stretching, stress-reduction techniques, and plenty of hydration to keep you as comfortable as possible.
  • The caregivers: A medical detox center is staffed by trained medical doctors and nurses who can issue and administer prescriptions. In a non-medical program, nursing staff and clinical care will still be available, but the focus will be on support, emotional processing, and managing your discomfort naturally.
  • Peer support: In most cases, people undergoing medical detox stay private, with 24-hour monitoring and medical care. Their treatment may be quicker, but they will do so in a hospital room or an isolated detoxification center with strict visiting hours. With a nonmedical detox, there are more options available. Each person’s treatment plan will reflect their unique needs and goals and may include peer group sessions, family therapy, and more. 


Benefits of Medical Detox

One of the main benefits of attending a medical detox program is avoiding the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be painful, scary, and difficult to get through, and are the reason why so many people feel they’ll never be able to quit. 

You’ll also have 24-hour check-ins with licensed and experienced doctors and nurses who will ensure your blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity are normal and can provide medical intervention if needed. 

You’ll stay in a clean, safe, and comfortable room away from life’s daily stresses so you can focus on your well-being. There will be good, healthy food, plenty of hydration, and all the necessary therapeutic support and mental health care. A medical program can give you the confidence and comfort you need to get through the most difficult few days of adjustment so you can get started on a lifetime of healthier choices. 


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Choosing the Right Program: Medical vs. Non-Medical Detox in Los Angeles

When choosing the right detox program for your needs, you’ll want to consider your expectations, think about your treatment goals, and realistically evaluate what type of care will best help you stop using drugs and alcohol for good. You’ll also want to consider:

  • If the detox center’s location works for you.
  • The cost and whether your health insurance will cover treatments.
  • Whether they provide medications and MAT treatment plans.
  • What type of additional care they offer as you detox.
  • Whether they provide evidence-based care proven to work or are more of a “wellness” center.
  • If they have a continuum of care that’ll lead you into an effective inpatient rehabilitation program after detox.
  • Whether they have aftercare services and connections within the community to assist with relapse prevention.


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Muse Treatment’s Detox in Los Angeles

The way drug detox works at Muse Treatment is as follows:

  1. You’ll have a consultation with a counselor, who will answer all your questions, take your medical and addiction history, show you around the facility, and work with you to create a treatment plan.
  2. A medical evaluation will determine whether you need additional medical care while in treatment. Drugs and alcohol can cause a variety of issues ranging from vitamin deficiencies to severe illness, and a doctor or nurse practitioner will be able to help you better understand your options and what comes next.
  3. Drug detox can then begin. Medical detox is an option, with prescription medications offered that will reduce withdrawal symptoms and help your body purge toxins under medical watch.
  4. Detox can take anywhere from 5 days to a couple of weeks, depending on your circumstances, after which time it’s recommended to move directly into a rehabilitation program. We have inpatient and outpatient options at Muse Treatment, which we will gladly review in detail during your initial consultation.


Call Muse Treatment for Effective Medical Detox

To get started with Muse Treatment, please call us at 800-426-1818. We provide evidence-based treatments and holistic options integrated into a tailored treatment plan, made to suit your needs and help you meet your long-term health and wellness goals. Detox is only the beginning of a lifetime in recovery. Let us help lead you toward future success. Contact us online today to get started.


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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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