What Happens During Detox?

What Is a Medical Detox?

Detoxification (detox) is the process of flushing out the body of alcohol or drugs. It is the first step in recovery
from substance abuse issues and moving forward to a life of sobriety. A medically assisted detox may involve other
interventions to safely manage a person’s mental and physical symptoms – such as therapy and medication.

People sometimes use the terms “detox” and “rehab” interchangeably, however, they are quite different. The aim of a
detox is to medically stabilize people coming off of a drug and minimize the intensity and harm of any withdrawal
symptoms they may be experiencing. On the other hand, rehab is a combination of services that are aimed at the overall
physical and psychological recovery of a recovering person.

What Withdrawal Symptoms Do You Experience During Detoxification?

What Happens During Detox 1
If someone has developed an alcohol or drug addiction, it is likely they have also become dependent on the substance.
Repeated substance abuse forces the body to adapt to the constant levels of the drug in the bloodstream. When this
supply is taken away, the body can have an adverse reaction and present withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal syndrome can range in intensity from vomiting, shaking, or even seizures. This uncomfortable and sometimes
life-threatening period is one of the reasons that many people relapse during the early stages of quitting a drug.

Depending on the substance and the individual undergoing the medical detox process, withdrawal symptoms can differ.
These can include both physical and psychological symptoms such as:

  • Drug cravings
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Shaking
  • Increased blood pressure

Detoxing in a Rehabilitation Facility

When a person enters a facility for addiction treatment they will first undergo a physical and psychological
evaluation. This may include the person’s medical history, family history, and blood tests. This helps the medical
staff compile an individualized treatment program that is right for the client and assess their withdrawal potential,
physical condition, and more.

It is important to know that each person may have a different detox experience and may need a different approach
depending on their specific situation. For this reason, there are a number of different types of detox that can be
applied appropriately to best fit the person’s needs. This initial evaluation can help a healthcare professional
outline a detox plan with a patient’s needs and goals in mind, and shape it accordingly.

Following this assessment, the inpatient will then undergo their medical detox program. The aim of an inpatient detox
is to stabilize withdrawal symptoms and make the process as comfortable and safe as possible. In a rehabilitation
facility, professional medical advice and support can be given around the clock, giving each person the best chance at
completing the initial detox period.

Sometimes mental and physical withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that the recovering person’s health is at risk.
This is where medical professionals can prescribe appropriate medication to make the process as comfortable as
possible and prevent potential health complications.


For example, when undergoing alcohol withdrawal, people can experience the life-threatening symptom of delirium
tremens (DTs). People going through DTs will experience confusion and hyperactivity, before a potentially fatal
cardiovascular collapse. Therefore during alcohol detox, a medical professional will likely prescribe benzodiazepines
to calm the central nervous system, massively reducing the inpatient’s risk of seizures or DTs.

Detox and Tapering

Going “cold turkey” can seem like the most ideal approach to quit drugs to overcome the withdrawal period as swiftly
as possible. However, a rapid detox for some substances may not be appropriate due to the potential severity of
withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures and death. Going through intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms suddenly
also decreases the chance of a successful detox, leading to a return to substance use. For these reasons, a physician
should be consulted before any detox treatment process to ensure the best outcomes.

In circumstances where a rapid detox is not suitable, a detox tapering schedule may be administered. This is usually
the case for alcohol and opiate detox. A tapering schedule will be put together by a medical professional which slowly
decreases the dosage of substance an individual consumes. The technique needs to be carried out in a clinical setting
in order for it to be safe and successful. Experts may need to adjust the schedule depending on the inpatient’s
withdrawal symptoms and reaction to tapering.


What is the Cost of Detox?

It is a common misconception that rehab is too expensive for most people to attend. There is a range of prices for
rehab and detox programs: some are free and some cost thousands of dollars per day. Depending on the facility chosen,
the total coverage of an individual’s insurance, and what treatment program they need depends on the amount of money
someone may need to pay out of pocket.

How Long Does Detox Last?

It typically takes around five days to one week before the substance is out of the patient’s system, so detox
treatment is around this length. Usually, symptoms peak between 24-48 hours and then begin to decrease in intensity
before the person becomes physically stable. Longer-lasting effects can linger after this initial detox period, though
treatment for these will be conducted in the following stages of recovery.

Can I Detox at Home?

What Happens During Detox 2
Detoxing at home without the guidance of a medical professional can be dangerous and more difficult. Trying to
overcome an addiction in an environment of triggers increases the chances of relapse. For these reasons, detox
treatment is usually conducted in a hospital, rehabilitation center, or recovery village.

However, there are a number of outpatient detox programs and outpatient rehab options for people who have
responsibilities and commitments they need to uphold at home. The best way to find out which is better for your
circumstance is to contact a treatment center and your medical provider to discuss available options.


What Happens After the Detox Process?

The drug detox process is just the first step in long-term recovery from a substance abuse disorder. Part of detox is
encouraging and preparing the inpatient to enter long-term treatment, giving them the biggest chance of sustaining
long-term recovery. This next phase of rehabilitation will most likely be a stay in a residential rehabilitation

There are a number of intricate social and phycological aspects of addiction that need to be tackled in order to
prevent relapse over time. In rehab, various therapies can be used to address these issues, the most common being
cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT allows people to unpack and identify triggers linked to their drug abuse,
followed by developing coping mechanisms to help them deal with their condition.

Talking to a trained therapist is also vital to diagnose any underlying mental health disorder that a person may
have. In many cases, people struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness use illicit drugs to self-medicate, leading
to the development of addiction – whether that be alcohol, benzodiazepine, or opiate addiction.

Support groups are also extremely for overcoming addiction. These allow for a safe space to share your story and
listen to others without judgment. Addiction can be an extremely isolating disease, so having a group of people that
have gone through a similar circumstance is valuable for a person’s mental health.


Addiction Treatment

What Happens During Detox 3

It can be overwhelming dealing with addiction detox and scary to face the detox process ahead, though please know you
are not alone. NP Addiction Clinic is an inpatient detox center located in Port St. Lucie, Florida that helps people
break free from addiction and start their journey to recovery.

Our team of licensed medical professionals is trained to compassionately treat a range of mental health issues and
substance use disorders. At NP Addiction center, our staff ensures safety and comfort by providing 24/7 medical and
psychiatric support.

The treatment facility has housed countless people recovering from addiction from all walks of life, giving it the
reputation of one of the leading addiction centers in the country. Recovery is always possible with the right
treatment and support. Contact us today to find out more about NP Addiction Clinic’s world-class services to help you
or your loved one take control over their life.


Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine