Alcohol and Drug Detox


When most people think of detox it can conjure up images of yoga mats, smoothies and sweat lodges. It invokes thoughts of someone cleansing themselves from a toxic substance. In a medical sense, however, it is the process of giving medical treatment to someone in order to remove the effects of poisoning from drugs or alcohol. There are different approaches to detoxification dependant on the substance of misuse. A detox program is designed to support and guide you through the withdrawal process and ease the symptoms as well as care for any medical and health issues.


When using a mind-altering chemical over a period of time the body and brain get used to having that substance in your system. The feedback systems that are present in the body change in order to compensate for the effects of this substance. Through this process, individuals can gain a tolerance for the effects of a substance and therefore need to take more of the substance to get the same effect.

Through this tolerance and increased usage, a dependency can occur. This means that when individuals attempt to stop taking the substance, they experience withdrawal effects. These withdrawal effects differ dependant on the substance used but can be very uncomfortable and in some cases life-threatening.


There is a distinction between fixed-dose detoxification regimes and symptom-based detox regimes. A fixed-dose regime is written at the point of assessment by the prescriber. The prescriber will ask the client how much of the drug/alcohol they have been using and then write a detox regime based on that information.

The main issue with this approach as it doesn’t consider how much people under or over-report their use.  Clients can sometimes over-report in order to be prescribed more of the substitute drug in the misguided belief that this will make the detox easier for them.

But in fact, the vast majority under-report their usage. This is linked with the shame and guilt that people feel around their substance misuse. Also, people can be in denial around their usage, if they have been keeping to a narrative in order to hide their shame, then it can become difficult for the individual to accept this narrative isn’t accurate.

A symptom-based detox is a detox that is monitored by medical professionals. The detox dose and rates are informed by the symptoms that the client is experiencing. The client is closely monitored for withdrawal symptoms and the dose of medication is prescribed to meet the individual’s needs.

The benefits of this approach are that the client is receiving the amount of medication necessary. This prevents over-sedation from too much medication or discomfort from not receiving enough. When clients only have a limited time to engage in the necessary therapeutic work the advantages of this style of detox is significant. This also is recommended by the NICE guidelines as best practice care. The medical team at Lovelong House take the symptom-based detox approach to care.



The time scale of an individual detox will vary depending on the level of dependency and the substance of choice. There is however an average timescale for alcohol detox. At Lovelong House we provide a package for an individual who is focused solely on just having a medically assisted detox. This can usually be facilitated in the period of 7-10 days.

In this package of care, the client would have their care overseen by a Consultant Psychiatrist with 2 ward rounds per week, 24-hour trained nursing care, a Symptom Based detox, Physical examination and blood test, one to one therapy and access to some complementary therapies.

In this package, any therapeutic involvement would be solution-focused based.


This Package of care is for those who may need a slightly longer detox and/or for those that want access to more therapy than those provided on the 7-10-day package.

In this package, the client would have their care overseen by a Consultant Psychiatrist with 2 ward rounds per week, 24-hour trained nursing care, a symptom-based detox, Physical examination and blood test, one to one therapy, group therapy and access to some complementary therapies. In this package, the therapeutic work will be more in-depth while being mindful of not raising issues that the client may struggle with after discharge.

If you would like further information about our detoxification programmes or if you have any questions, get in contact with us via the contact form below.

To speak to someone with empathy and in confidence about one of our services, please get in touch with a member of our experienced staff today via phone or email by visiting our contact page.

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