Substance abuse withdrawal occurs when an individual has been using drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time or develops a tolerance even after a short period of use. Detox is usually needed before real substance abuse treatment can start. As long as the individual still has residues of the drug or alcohol in their system the person can not think clearly or make the right decisions. There are programs and facilities that offer both detox and treatment at the same place, and others which require a facility or program change in order to receive both. Someone who has substance abuse issues may require a medically supervised detox because of the risks that the substance abuse withdrawal can involve. Someone who has been drinking alcohol for many years and consuming this substance to excess frequently may require medications during withdrawal in order to prevent seizures or other life threatening complications.
During substance abuse withdrawal the symptoms experienced by the user can be very mild, very severe, or somewhere in between. Inpatient or medically supervised detox may not be needed by everyone, and some programs for substance abuse withdrawal and treatment combine both elements at one facility. During the detox period the individual is encouraged to exercise and eat right in order to eliminate the built up residues and substances from the body. Individual and group counseling are also essential so that the user can work through the personal factors and contributing elements in order to reach a full and permanent recovery. Detoxing before substance abuse treatment can improve the odds that the individual will stay recovered and put substance abuse in the past.