Medical Detox

Long-term recovery from substance use and dependence is not possible without first undergoing medical detox. This essential first step is necessary in cases of physical and psychological dependence to a substance. By safely eliminating traces of the substance from your system, your recovery at Riverwalk Ranch can begin.

Our substance abuse specialists can walk you through the process of detoxification in a safe and secure environment to reduce discomfort. This process will provide the foundation you need to tackle the issues that trigger substance use in you to ensure long-term sobriety. By learning about our detox program and what it entails, you can determine if it’s right for you.


Medical detox is a physical process that occurs when an addictive substance is removed from the body. Since chemical dependence can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, this can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous period. That’s why at Riverwalk Ranch we offer an intensive medical detox program that provides you 24-hour nursing care and an attending physician to handle significant issues. In addition to medical care, you have access to counseling 16 hours a day.

Before admission, an intake evaluator will determine your individual needs in order to create a detox plan that is tailored for you. This process includes identifying substances used and to what extent, as well as co-occurring psychological or physical disorders. To ensure maximum efficiency and comfort, a physician may prescribe you medication for co-occurring disorders or withdrawal symptoms.

Once medical detox begins, you will have psychological and medical care to help you through the process safely. Through this careful monitoring, your withdrawal symptoms are managed and alleviated as medically necessary, so you can emerge from the detox process ready to work on the underlying issues related to substance use.


How do you know when medical detox is necessary? Substance abuse is differentiated from substance dependence by whether or not there is a physical reliance on the substance. While both can be equally damaging to a person’s ability to function in everyday life, medical detox is best suited for individuals who are dependent on a substance and have developed a tolerance to it. This is because they are most at-risk for withdrawal symptoms when substance use is discontinued. Substance dependence is more likely when:

  • You have used a substance or substances for extended periods of time
  • You require more of the substance to achieve the same effect or “high”
  • You crave a substance regularly
  • You suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use the substance
  • You find yourself unable to quit


If you find yourself unable to quit without help, you may benefit from our inpatient medical detox program at Riverwalk Ranch. At our center, you will receive integrated care in a safe and home-like environment. You will consult with a team of medical and psychiatric experts to determine the best detox route for you.

Individualized treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all detox program. Our team of intake specialists will create a detox plan that caters to your needs. In cases of severe withdrawal symptoms, they may prescribe medication to help you eliminate the drug. Detox is done with continual medical assistance so treatment modification is possible along the way.

Medical and Co-Occurring Conditions

Inpatient medical detox is especially important if you have co-occurring medical or psychological conditions. Our doctors and psychiatrists are uniquely equipped to handle substance abuse when it is present alongside other issues.

A Safe Environment

Being in an unstable or unsafe environment can make detox impossible. That’s why our center provides a supportive live-in environment to allow you to recover from substance abuse safely surrounded by a team of experienced staff and like-minded peers.

We accept most insurances

...and many more.



  • 24/7 medical care
  • 24/7 transportation
  • One-on-one counseling available
  • Daily group therapy
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Board-certified medical staff
  • Licensed & credentialed clinicians


Detox can be completed at three different levels according to your specific medical needs.

Inpatient Detox

Inpatient detox is typically the most involved and immersive approach, requiring an extended stay at a recovery facility. The benefit of inpatient detox is that it provides you with 24/7 medical and psychiatric supervision in a controlled environment, making recovery more effective. Inpatient detox is often recommended for severe cases of addiction and withdrawal or when co-occurring disorders are present.


Detox is a process that can be completed in three to seven days depending on several factors including the drug(s) used, the level of dependence, and the severity of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms typically begin anywhere from several hours to several days after drug use is discontinued, peaking between two to three days later. This is a crucial time in the detox process because it is when individuals are most likely to relapse in order to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms.

During the medical detoxification process, medical and psychiatric professionals work to limit these symptoms and stabilize you by using multiple treatments including medication, medical intervention, therapy, and holistic methods among others. Treatment is tailored to your needs and adjusted throughout the process to maintain maximum efficiency and comfort.

The ultimate goal of medical detox is to rid your body of the addictive substance while stabilizing your physical and mental systems in order to begin psychiatric treatment. In other words, detox is the physical component required before true introspective work can begin on the road to long-term recovery.


Whether or not medical detox is required or recommended depends on the type of drug used and the level of dependence. Not all drugs have severe withdrawal symptoms, making detox easier to manage without medical assistance. However, psychoactive drugs can cause changes to your brain chemistry with prolonged use. When drug abuse alters the level of hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals in your brain, you experience a crash or imbalance when these levels are altered through discontinued drug use. In these cases, medical detox is strongly recommended to stabilize your system and alleviate accompanying symptoms of withdrawal.


Medications may be used during detox to alleviate withdrawal symptoms or reduce cravings. These may be simple over-the-counter medicines such as sleep aids or anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve withdrawal symptoms like insomnia or pain. In some cases, these may also be potent prescription medications.

Prescription medications may be necessary when addiction involves certain drugs that can be dangerous when discontinued suddenly. These include opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. An alternative to tapering off drug use over time is to replace them with other medications that stabilize brain chemistry.

Commonly prescribed medications for detox from the following substances include:


  • Buprenorphine
  • Clonidine (sold as Catapres)
  • Lofexidine (sold as Lucemyra)
  • Subutex


  • Long-acting benzodiazepines
  • Beta blockers
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Sleep aids
  • Clonidine (sold as Catapres)


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Beta blockers
  • Clonidine (sold as Catapres)
  • Acamprosate (sold as Campral)
  • Ativan


Medical detox has been empirically shown to be a safe and effective way to eliminate toxic substances from the body. Since the process is carefully supervised by medical professionals in a safe environment, the likelihood of life-threatening withdrawal or relapse is greatly reduced. Vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature are closely monitored and staff is on hand to treat significant changes. In a licensed facility like Riverwalk Ranch, you can be sure that you are receiving only the best care to ensure your wellbeing as you detox.


Detox is an important component of sobriety because it helps your body achieve natural balance without interference from substances. However, detox alone does not constitute substance abuse recovery treatment. It doesn’t address underlying causes of substance use, which require further psychological treatment. These causes may include psychological, cognitive, or behavioral components.

After successful detox, you will have to learn to identify these causes in order to develop a plan to address them. You will also work toward developing healthier daily habits in order to maintain recovery. Even though detox can be completed in less than a week, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, effective addiction treatment should last at least 90 days.

Since addiction is complex, addiction treatment may require a variety of multifaceted programs that include nutrition, physical health, life skills, along with continued mental health support. Holistic approaches like meditation, yoga, and acupuncture may also help on the road to recovery.


Detox is usually followed up by a comprehensive treatment plan that may include therapy as well as medication. If detox was part of inpatient treatment, seamless transition into the next level of care is possible. Professional staff at the recovery facility can facilitate such transitions, providing continued monitoring and support during the process.

Since detox addresses the physical components of addiction and dependence, it is typically considered the first course of action as part of a longer substance abuse treatment program. During continued therapy, individuals learn to identify and combat triggers that lead to substance use, modify self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and learn relapse prevention and life skills that can be used during the ongoing recovery process.

While detox cannot “cure” addiction, it forms an essential part in the framework of recovery. It allows your body and physical processes to return to a stable baseline in order for more complex treatment to be effective.

Take the First Step