Published on January 1, 2024

Medications Used for Drug & Alcohol Detox

Medical detoxification, commonly known as medical detox, is a critical first step in the treatment of substance abuse. It involves the supervised process of eliminating harmful toxins from the body, such as alcohol and drugs, to manage withdrawal symptoms effectively and ensure the safety of the individual undergoing detox. This approach aims to address the physical aspects of substance use and decrease the risk of severe health complications that may arise during withdrawal.


Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the specific substance, but there are some common experiences that cut across different types of drugs and alcohol withdrawal. One such symptom is changes in appetite, which can manifest as either an increase or decrease in the desire for food. Alongside this, individuals undergoing withdrawal may also experience shifts in mood, such as heightened anxiety, irritability, or feelings of depression. 

Physical discomfort is another prevalent withdrawal symptom, often including muscle aches and pains. Nausea and vomiting are also common physical manifestations during this period. Many individuals struggle with sleep difficulties as they undergo withdrawal, which can contribute to an overall sense of distress and unease.

Common Medications Used in Drug & Alcohol Detox

During drug and alcohol detox, medical professionals often rely on a range of prescription medications to assist with the withdrawal process. These medications are designed to alleviate the physical and psychological symptoms that occur when an individual stops using drugs or alcohol.

Common detox medications include:


Benzodiazepines are a class of medications commonly prescribed by healthcare providers to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. These drugs work by enhancing the activity of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which reduces feelings of anxiety and promotes relaxation.


Anticonvulsant drugs are often prescribed to individuals who experience seizures, and they can also play a crucial role in alcohol detox. When used in alcohol detox, anticonvulsants help reduce the risk of withdrawal seizures, which can be life-threatening. 


Methadone is an important component of comprehensive treatment plans for opioid withdrawal, often used under medical supervision. It is specifically approved for treating opioid use disorder and can be utilized over an extended period, not just during the initial withdrawal phase. 

The medication functions by reducing cravings for opioids and alleviating withdrawal symptoms. It has the ability to prevent individuals who are addicted to prescription opioids from experiencing the euphoric effects of other similar drugs.

Post-Detox Medications

After completing detox for opioid use disorder, individuals may be prescribed medications such as methadone or buprenorphine to support ongoing addiction treatment. These medications can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing individuals to focus on their recovery. 

For alcohol use disorder, medications like acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone have been approved for treatment. While detox may clear the body of alcohol, these medications can provide ongoing support by targeting different aspects of the addiction process.

Scottsdale Arizona Drug Detox Center

At our Scottsdale Arizona drug detox, we understand the importance of personalized care during the detoxification process. Our team is dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of services designed to address your individual needs and support you every step of the way.
Whether you are struggling with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances, our center offers a safe and nurturing environment for your recovery journey. From medical monitoring to therapy sessions, we ensure that you receive the proper attention and resources needed to achieve a successful detox experience

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