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Emergency and Same-day Detox

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Detoxification for substance abuse and addiction is a vital step in the recovery process for many people. Addiction can be deadly, hence why timely interventions are critical to overcoming addiction. Emergency rehab and same-day detox services are available to you if you are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and require immediate professional intervention.

Emergency drug rehab may be necessary in certain situations such as a medical or mental health emergency as well as for drug overdose, withdrawal, and chronic drug and alcohol abuse.


What is Drug and Alcohol Detoxification?

Medical detoxification is the first step in a journey of rehabilitation that focuses on managing withdrawal with the use of medication to prevent relapse and manage withdrawal symptoms.1 The goal of detox is to clear the body of any drugs or alcohol in the safest way possible. Depending on the type of drug, amount, and frequency of use, withdrawal symptoms can lead to severe complications including seizures and even death.2 It is important to understand that detox is not substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment.

Acute withdrawal symptoms are new symptoms that emerge after drug and alcohol use have stopped; they include:3

  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Dysphoria (restlessness and dissatisfaction).
  • Sleep problems.
  • Depression.
  • Seizures.

Withdrawal symptoms can last for days, weeks, and even months, and symptoms are usually opposite of the effects of the drug.4 Medical withdrawal management refers to the psychological and medical care of patients who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms as a result of reducing or stopping drug use.2 People who experience withdrawal symptoms are suitable for detoxification services. Your length of detox and interventions required during detox will vary and is dependent on factors such as the type and amount of drugs used and the length of drug use.


What is the Medical Detoxification Process Like?

A successful detox requires 3 key elements:4

  • Evaluation: Testing for the presence of drugs in the bloodstream, evaluating the presence of mental and physical health disorders, and assessing your social support system to help determine the appropriate level of care once detox has been completed.
  • Stabilization: The psychosocial and medical process of assisting you through withdrawal and acute intoxication to a substance-free state where you are medically stable.
  • Fostering patient readiness for and entry into treatment: Preparing you for successful entry into substance abuse treatment by focusing on the importance of following through with treatment.

What is Emergency and Same-day Detox?

Medical stabilization is needed prior to engaging in substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. Detox may be appropriate for you if you are actively using substances, experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, or experiencing physical problems related to substance use. Many short-term rehab programs offer detox services, and some even offer same-day detox and emergency rehab services.

There is an underlying sense of urgency related to substance abuse and addiction. Overdose, withdrawal, and death are catastrophic consequences of addiction. Same-day detox and rehab services require a rapid admission process so you can get the care you require at the time you need it. Having to wait several days or weeks can be the difference between continued substance use and healthy recovery. If your friends or loved ones are encouraging you to get help, or you think you need help, an emergency drug rehab and detox can assist you in living a life free from addiction.

Many substance abuse treatment facilities are able to admit patients immediately even if the facility is not be marketed as an “emergency treatment facility.” Treatment professionals understand that time is of the essence when it comes to treating addiction. Facilities commonly receive requests for same-day admissions for individuals who have made the decision to stop using substances and require medical interventions to aid in the management of their withdrawal symptoms.


What is the Difference Between Rapid Detox and Emergency Detox?

You may have heard the term “rapid” detox. Rapid detox is not emergency detox. Rapid detox refers to the process by which a person is put under anesthesia while an opiate blocker is administered; the idea is to detox a patient rapidly and significantly reduce the experience of withdrawal from opioids.5

Emergency detox and emergency rehab can be thought of similarly to an emergency room in a hospital in that it is immediate access to treatment.


What Happens After Detox?

It is important to note that detox is not a substitute for addiction treatment, but rather it is the first step before entering into formal addiction treatment. Detox should not be used as the sole form of treatment or a substitute for more comprehensive rehabilitation. Studies have found that people who do not receive substance abuse treatment after detox are at a greater risk for drug and alcohol relapse.1

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment can be conducted on a short-term or long-term basis. Your length of treatment is dependent upon many factors that you and a medical professional will address when creating a treatment plan specific to your substance use history and current needs. Research indicates that staying in treatment for the recommended duration is a significant factor in whether you remain sober after treatment is over.1

Outpatient treatment:1

  • Requires that you visit a counselor at an office setting on a regular schedule.
  • Can include individual and group counseling.
  • Involves one to several hours a week of time, depending on where you are in your recovery journey.
  • Is appropriate for individuals with mild symptoms who require maintenance to sustain recovery.

Inpatient treatment:1

For treatment to be effective, a comprehensive treatment plan needs to be developed that addresses all your needs, not just your drug use.1 You and your medical professional will work together to create a treatment plan that is tailored to you. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has come up with 6 criteria or dimensions that need to be included in the development of your treatment and recovery plan.

The 6 criteria include:6

  • Acute Intoxication and Withdrawal Potential–Your past and present use of drugs and alcohol and whether that requires detoxification services.
  • Biomedical Conditions and Complications–Your health history, present physical health status, and physical health needs.
  • Emotional, Behavioral, or Cognitive Conditions and Complications–Your mental health history, and your mental and cognitive needs.
  • Readiness for Change–Your motivation and readiness to change.
  • Relapse, Continued Use, or Continued Problem Potential–Your risk for relapse and what you need to prevent it from occurring.
  • Recovering/Living Environment–Your living situation, support system, and other environmental factors that can support or discourage your recovery efforts.

Does Insurance Cover Emergency Same-day Detox?

If you have health insurance, emergency rehab centers and same-day detox may be covered under your insurance plan. Keep in mind that there may be some out-of-pocket costs in the form of co-pays and deductibles. Talk to your insurance provider to determine your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs you may be responsible for. The treatment facility may need to verify your insurance benefits prior to admission.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, mandates that all Medicaid insurance, as well as health insurance sold on the Health Insurance Exchanges, must include coverage for substance use disorders and behavioral health services7 Mental health and substance abuse services are considered essential services under the ACA. You can visit the following health insurance provider websites to verify services:


Find Emergency Same-day Detox and Rehab Services

If you are looking for an emergency drug rehab or detox center, time is of the essence. Call American Addiction Centers at and speak with an admissions navigator today.

There are a variety of treatment settings and interventions available to you. Research shows that people who stay in treatment for an appropriate amount of time stop using drugs and alcohol, reduce their criminal activity, and improve their mental, occupational, and social functioning.8

You can work with a mental health or medical professional to create a treatment plan that is specific to your substance use history, your current needs, and your future goals. Locate same-day detox and drug rehab services using our treatment center directory or check your health insurance coverage now.

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Kristen Fuller, MD, enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of mental health and addiction medicine and contributes to medicine board education. Her passion lies in educating the public on the stigma associated with mental health. Dr. Fuller is also an outdoor activist, an avid photographer, and is the founder of an outdoor women's blog titled, GoldenStateofMinds. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, backpacking, skiing, camping, and paddle boarding with her dogs in Mammoth Lakes, California, where she calls home.
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