Most individuals suffering from addiction, substance use disorder, or substance abuse often balk at going to a detox or treatment center. There are many reasons for this. Most people don’t believe that their drug or alcohol problem is as bad as it is, even if family and friends can see that it is extremely problematic. Most people suffering from addiction, when confronted with the need to seek help and treatment, are scared. They habitually only know one way to live (with the use of drugs and alcohol) and going to detox or treatment means they are going to have to give up their “solutions” of substances. They are scared of what life will be like without drugs and alcohol; they are scared about sobriety and if they will be able to live life sober; and they are often scared of the emotions that occur that they will not be able to numb or escape from through substances. Many people are worried or concerned about what others will think about them if they go to detox or treatment. And many people believe, even though it is often untrue, that they simply “can’t” go to detox and treatment due to life responsibilities, such as work or family.


Therefore, due to all these self-imposed barriers and beliefs, often a person confronted with their addiction to drugs and alcohol will say they are willing to get help but begin to put parameters on what that help will look like. Often, they will say something like “I can do this on my own.”  This is a powerful, if not dangerous, delusion. While it is true that some substances are not necessarily fatal during withdrawal, many detoxing from many substances can be fatal, and it is always best to get detox care and support through medical professionals when coming off any substance.


A second option that many people will try to choose is an outpatient detox program. This looks like enrolling in an outpatient addiction treatment program that can help someone manage their detox and withdrawal symptoms on an outpatient basis. For many people, this is an appealing alternative to an inpatient medical detox or residential treatment center. There are certainly benefits from the outside looking in- the patient does not have to leave their home or family and often can continue working at their job. And in some cases, an outpatient detox can be beneficial for the right person in the right situation.


However, an outpatient detox is not right for everyone, and it is almost always best practice for someone suffering from substance use disorder or addiction to admit to a detox facility, if only for a short period of time, that will offer 24/7 medical care and support and can continuously monitor that patient’s withdrawal symptoms until they are physically and emotionally stable.


An outpatient detox can offer varying levels of concern for patients in need of detox, withdrawal management, and medical stabilization. The major issue is that the entire detox and withdrawal management process is not overseen and supported by 24/7 medical care. While ideally in an outpatient treatment program the medication and titration protocol are overseen by a doctor or a psych nurse practitioner, the patient is only seen rarely be that medical professional. An outpatient detox program may also include clinical services like individual and/or group therapy, but that is not necessarily the case. An outpatient detox program does offer support of medication for withdrawal but offers the patient a large amount of time to be on their own. This can be concerning and dangerous if there are medical complications during the detox process and can be especially concerning or dangerous if the patient has additional medical or health issues. The lack of time with medical and clinical support also allows for a patient to go out and use drugs or drink again if the withdrawal symptoms become too severe, if they begin to deal with mental health issues like anxiety, panic, or depression, or if they are feeling just uncomfortable enough physically or emotionally. Therefore, while there is little question that the medical and medication protocols used during an outpatient detox can help ween an individual safely off drugs and alcohol, the lack of medical, clinical, and recovery care and support offer numerous barriers to this type of outpatient detox being successful.


It is always the safest, most effective, and most comfortable option for detox to detox in an inpatient or residential setting. This can even be done over a short time period of 7-to-10 days. Such a setting allows for constant monitoring and support for doctors, nurses, clinicians, and recovery support staff. It also allows medication to be changed, modified, added, or subtracted as needed, making for the most comfortable detox for the individual during their period of withdrawal. Furthermore, 24/7 medical care can protect against any medical complications that may arise during detox and withdrawal that may be fatal for the patient. Ongoing clinical support from therapists and counselors, and 24/7 recovery support from staff can help patients stay calm, comfortable, and willing and able to get through difficult withdrawal and stay throughout the process until they are medically, physically, and emotionally stable. This allows them to be clear and grounded mentally and emotionally, and at the best place to engage in further treatment and begin a journey of sustainable recovery.


If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at