Detoxification (or detox) is the initial period of medical management aimed at helping a person who abuses alcohol or other drugs. Medicines may be used to treat symptoms and prevent complications, such as seizures.

Detoxification is most successful when it takes place in a setting like a hospital. But it may also be done in an outpatient setting depending on the severity of the person's dependency and other medical problems. It usually includes mental health counseling with medical monitoring, supervision, and support.

Current as of: February 20, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction