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What Medications Are Used In Detox?


medication for detox

Detoxification, also known as detox, is the process by which an individual fully cleanses his or her body of all foreign substances. Any person that has engaged in habitual substance abuse will have developed certain physiological accommodations to enable functioning with the presence of the abused substance or substances in his or her system. When the substance or substances are removed from one’s body, it must make the necessary adjustments to learn to function in its absence. Drugs and alcohol affect each young person differently. There are different detox methods available, offering varying levels of support and interventions, depending on one’s needs.

Detox Methods

Detox methods are typically divided between two umbrellas terms: inpatient detox programs and outpatient detox programs. Inpatient detox programs include medically supported detox (medically assisted detox programs, medically supervised detox programs…etc.) as well as inpatient nonmedical detox programs that provide twenty-four-hour support and supervision for the individual undergoing detox. Outpatient detox programs have a range of support available. Some individuals may choose to undergo detox in their own home with minimal or no support, while others may opt to enlist twenty-four-hour support for the duration of their detox process, while remaining at home. Depending on the situation, in some cases it is best to undergo detox in an inpatient facility, with the assistance of medical professionals. 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are the physiological response to removing a foreign substance (e.g., drugs and/ or alcohol) with which an individual’s body has become accustomed to functioning. They typically present during the detox stage and can last varying lengths of time, depending on each individual. The specific types of symptoms that can occur will differ. Some examples of commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms that may present an adolescent that is undergoing detox could include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight fluctuations 

There are a plethora of potential withdrawal symptoms that have the propensity to manifest, but are specific to each teen’s unique situation. Moreover, it is possible for the acute detox process to conclude prior to the complete resolution of every withdrawal symptom. 

Medications Used in Detox

When a young person undergoes a medically assisted detox, various medications are utilized in conjunction with therapeutic modalities to assist in the detox process. Specifically, the medications that are administered during detox are used to help treat different withdrawal symptoms. Some examples of the medications prescribed by physicians that are used during the detox process include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Antidepressants: such as Zoloft and Prozac, to reduce anxiety 
  • Clonidine: primarily used to treat withdrawal symptoms from opiate and/ or alcohol withdrawal symptoms 
  • Benzodiazepines: can help to decrease anxiety and irritability 
  • Suboxone: used to moderate severe opiate addictions in people sixteen years old and older

Medications can help an individual going through the detox process reduce some of the adverse side effects and discomforts associated with specific withdrawal symptoms. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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