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Virginia Detox Centers

What Is Drug Detox in Virginia?

Detox in Virginia is the removal of alcohol and drugs accumulated in the body. Individuals seeking addiction recovery need medical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms after they stop substance abuse. However, drug detox is only the first step in overcoming drug dependency. After detoxification, patients may need to join an outpatient rehab or participate in other treatment programs to stay sobriety and prevent relapse. 

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) provides Virginians with all the essential resources to deal with substance use disorder. Residents can also use resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to find credible drug detox centers in Virginia. 

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Drugs in Virginia?

According to a 2019 report by SAMHSA, standard detox takes 13 days, while medication-assisted drug detox takes 19 days. However, the detox duration varies depending on factors such as the patient's age, addiction history, dual diagnosis, substance type, and substance use method. 

The Patient's Age

Elderly residents often have additional health conditions such as mental disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can complicate the detox process. As such, older patients may spend more days detoxing than younger patients. Generally, other factors will also determine the timeframe of medical drug detox. 

Addiction History

Medical detox is faster for individuals new to drug and alcohol abuse. In contrast, patients with a long history of substance dependency may spend more days detoxing since more accumulated chemical toxins are in the bloodstream. 

Other Health Conditions

Other physical and mental health conditions can intensify withdrawal symptoms, thereby extending the duration of a patient's drug detox process. The medical detox facility will be required to manage the side effects of detox while treating the patient's additional health concerns. The more severe a patient's health problems, the longer the detox period. Also, individuals with multiple health concerns apart from substance dependency will spend more time in detoxification. 

Substance Type

Each substance has different chemical components that react differently in the body. As a result, some toxic substances may stay in the bloodstream longer than others, ultimately affecting the detox duration. Frequent drug use can also extend the detox timeline due to accumulated addictive substances in the body. 

Substance Use Method

The method of substance use is another factor that determines how long a person stays in a medical detox center. For example, individuals who use drugs orally spend less time detoxing since the drugs enter the body slowly without further complications. On the other hand, drug detox time may be longer for persons that inject or smoke addictive substances. 

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol in Virginia?

The average alcohol detox time in Virginia differs from one individual to another. Like every other addictive substance, alcohol creates both mental and physical dependency. As a result, detoxing can also take up to 13 days, according to SAMHSA's report. Persons who stop taking alcohol experience withdrawal symptoms in different stages depending on their addiction history. Other factors such as gender, age, physical health, and other mental health conditions will affect the detox duration.

The Detoxification Process at a Virginia Drug Detox Center

The drug detox process helps individuals manage withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision. It consists of three stages: evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for continuing care.


The evaluation stage reveals the amount and type of substance accumulated in the bloodstream. During this stage, patients get to provide answers to questions like the source of the substance used and the method of use. Professionals in the medical detox center will also perform other tests to discover the possibility of physical and mental health problems. After testing, the results will determine the type of detox treatment suitable for the patient. 


In stabilization, rehab specialists aim to manage withdrawal symptoms making the drug detox process comfortable for patients. During stabilization, addiction specialists in Virginia offer FDA-approved medications to patients with severe substance abuse disorder. The drugs administered here are identical to addictive substances but are safer. This medical-assisted treatment maintains the patient's body chemistry and eases discomfort caused by the side effects of drug withdrawal. Counseling is also part of the stabilization process; it helps reprogram the patient's mindset.

Preparation for Treatment

After being stable and free of addictive chemicals, individuals will need further treatment to remain sober. The preparation stage helps to transition safely from medical detox into a formal rehab facility for further therapy.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Detox

Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that occur when individuals stop abusing drugs and alcohol. While some detox side effects are unique to the drug type, others are general withdrawal symptoms experienced by all patients. Some common side effects include sleeplessness, fatigue, headache, anxiety, and panic attacks. Withdrawal symptoms unique to the type of substance include the following:

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

A study shows that alcohol side effects are mild between six to 24 hours after a person stops taking alcohol. After 24 hours, people will start to develop mild symptoms, which will persist for months in older adults. These mild symptoms include anxiety, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and hallucinations. Severe side effects like Delirium Tremens often begin after 72 hours. Delirium is characterized by a nervous breakdown, extreme confusion, seizure, and hand tremor. 

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Although marijuana is widely accessible, its withdrawal symptoms are often mild, especially for patients with no co-occurring health conditions. Examples of marijuana detox side effects include depression, mood swings, sweating, loss of focus, insomnia, headaches, and appetite loss. Severe symptoms like hallucinations and suicidal tendencies are common in patients with diagnosed mental concerns.

Methamphetamines Withdrawal Symptoms

Methamphetamines (known as 'meth') are stimulants that may be recommended in small doses for individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity, according to research reports. It is mainly used recreationally and can infuse users with energy. Examples of meth withdrawal effects include dizziness, dry mouth, depression, and anxiety.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that can cause a rapid rush of euphoria, reduced appetite, and insomnia. Individuals that stop cocaine misuse may experience psychological side effects like poor concentration, mood swings, depression, restlessness, and exhaustion. In severe cases, withdrawal symptoms like excessive drug cravings can last several weeks.

Benzodiazepines Withdrawal Symptoms

Physicians prescribe benzodiazepines (or benzos) for individuals with anxiety and acute stress. However, the drug contains addictive chemicals that can make people dependent on it. The withdrawal effects of benzos can be psychological and physical. Some physical detox effects include sweating, hand tremors, panic attacks, and weight loss. On the other hand, patients may experience sleeplessness, anxiety, and irritability during benzo detox. 

Opioids Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioids are frequently pain relievers for patients undergoing surgeries or suffering traumatic injuries. Nevertheless, individuals may easily become addicted to it since they are very effective. Some common opioid detox side effects are runny nose, sweating, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe withdrawal symptoms of opiate abuse include seizures and hallucinations. 

Can You Detox at Home in Virginia?

At-home drug detox is possible but not advisable since some withdrawal symptoms often lead to unpleasant complications. Individuals need medical supervision to help them manage withdrawal symptoms properly. The major disadvantages of detoxing at home without supervision are as follows:

Addiction Relapse

Detoxing at home without medical supervision often leads to relapse. Excess drug craving is a common withdrawal symptom that is best managed with counseling. Thus, visiting a medical detox facility is important to avoid drug relapse.

Physical and Mental Health Complications 

Drug detox in Virginia often comes with complications that may be psychological or physical. While some mild symptoms like headaches and sleeplessness develop after some hours and fade off immediately, severe withdrawal symptoms that begin after some days may result in a medical emergency if they persist for long. Therefore, detoxification under medical supervision must help patients monitor and stabilize both moderate and severe withdrawal side effects.

Social Triggers

Individuals in detox are reminded of their previous appetites by social triggers as the urge to relapse increases when patients hang out near places or people influencing the habit. Patients who detox under medical supervision are shielded from social triggers, making the drug detox process more effective.

What is Ambulatory Detox in Virginia? 

Ambulatory detox is an alternative to detoxification at home. It is a structured outpatient program that may be administered in a patient's home or office. Experienced clinicians visit the patient according to a planned schedule to deliver medically-supervised evaluation, detox, and other treatment services. 

According to studies, ambulatory detox, also regarded as outpatient detox, is cost-effective and saves a lot of time for individuals with a mild to moderate history of substance abuse. Clinicians can easily tailor therapy to meet the patient's needs in the specific home environment. Ambulatory detox allows family participation, which ensures the patient will receive more support at home and sustain sobriety in the long run. Also, health insurance companies can extend the duration of therapy since ambulatory detox is less expensive. 

Ambulatory detox is often recommended only for individuals who meet basic criteria such as:

  • Available transportation
  • Good support from friends and family around
  • No history of complications from previous detox programs
  • No co-occurring physical or mental health conditions

What Is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detox is a type of medical-assisted detoxification involving using approved sedatives to hasten the removal of drugs from the body. So, unlike traditional medical detox, which takes days to achieve sobriety, rapid detox can make a person sober within hours.

Is Rapid Detox Dangerous?

Physicians do not recommend rapid detox since it can lead to further health complications. Although individuals overcome unpleasant withdrawal symptoms within some hours using rapid detox, there are reports of side effects like heart problems, respiratory distress, and problems with other organs. Rapid detox is not a guarantee for sobriety. In fact, studies show that patients are at a higher risk of relapse.

Rapid Detox vs. Traditional Detox

The purpose of medical drug detox is to provide the patient with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy, peer support, group counseling, and life skills coaching. Unfortunately, most of these treatment plans are not part of rapid detox, which puts individuals at risk of relapse.  

Rapid detox is much more costly than traditional medical detox. The anesthesia, medical monitoring, and hospital stay drive up the price. Additionally, health insurance providers view rapid detox as unconventional and do not pay the bill.

Steps After Virginia Detox 

Medical detox is only the first step in addiction treatment. After Virginia drug detox, patients can take a step further by participating in other major treatment programs to remain sober. Here are some steps to take after detoxification: 

Residential or Inpatient Treatment

Patients with severe substance abuse disorder can enroll in a 24-hour treatment like inpatient or residential rehab. Alternatively, individuals can pick a flexible option like partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), where they can only receive treatment during the day. Unlike inpatient rehabs, PHPs allow patients to return home and get support from their family and friends. 

Outpatient Treatment 

Outpatient treatment is a step-down alternative to 24-hour care or monitoring provided by inpatient rehabs. Every program in outpatient treatment is designed to meet an individual's needs, so they don't need to come for treatment every day. Some treatment services offered in outpatient rehabs include behavioral therapy and counseling services. 

Sober Living 

Sober living serves as a safe transition from inpatient or outpatient therapy back to society. Individuals unsure of living independently after rehab may need to spend some weeks in a sober home in Virginia. Participation in a sober living program after receiving formal addiction treatment may make the difference between maintaining sobriety and relapsing.

Join Support Groups

Even after leaving inpatient rehabs or sober houses, individuals may still need to join support groups while living independently. In these meetings, individuals share their struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. Common examples of support groups in Virginia include Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-step support groups.

Continue Living Healthy

Remaining sober and avoiding relapse is a lifelong process that individuals can achieve when they understand their social triggers. Social triggers like financial constraints, emotional issues, peer pressure, and interpersonal troubles can make a person relapse. As such, persons should maintain healthy routines like meditation, exercise, and yoga to help them overcome these social issues.

Substance Abuse Detox Near Me in Virginia

Contact the DBHDS for help finding rehab centers providing medical detox and other addiction treatment services near you in Virginia. Use the agency's contact information: 

1220 Bank Street

P.O. Box 1797

Richmond, Virginia 23219

Phone: (804) 786-3921

Fax: (804) 371-6638

You can also use the Virginia Community Services Boards (CSBs) directory to find addiction treatment providers close to you. Likewise, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also provides a 24/7 hotline. You can speak with a SAMHSA representative by calling (800) 662-4357. Alternatively, use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration treatment facility search to find a credible rehabilitation program rated by professional physicians.