Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

25. What is usually the first step in treatment?

The first step in a substance treatment program is often detoxification (“detox”), the process of allowing the body to get rid of the substance. Detoxification under medical supervision allows the symptoms of withdrawal to be treated, but is not addiction treatment in and of itself. (Withdrawal is the sick, sometimes unbearable feeling that people have when trying to stop or cut down on a substance they have become addicted to or have been taking for a long time.)The type of withdrawal symptoms and how long they last vary with the substance abused. For example, withdrawal from certain stimulants may lead to fatigue, depression, and sleep problems. Unsupervised withdrawal from barbiturates and benzodiazepines can be dangerous.