Sub-Acute Medical Detox

Detoxification or detox is the first step to recovery from substance use disorders. This is because detox interventions remove all toxins from the body that accumulate during addiction. Also, by managing acute intoxication and withdrawal, acute detox helps reduce physical harm induced by substance abuse. The entire treatment may take hours, days, or weeks and should be monitored under medical supervision. 

How the body reacts during detoxification is different for everyone. While some people have an easier time with the detox treatment, others need close supervision to manage life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Everlast Recovery Centers offers two types of detox: sub-acute and acute detox. This page discusses the sub-acute medical detox and the medications used during the treatment.

Sub-Acute Medical Detox
Sub-Acute Medical Detox

Sub-Acute Medical Detox in Riverside, CA.

People who do not need continuous medical supervision during the detoxification process can admit into a sub-acute medical detox depending on the severity of their addiction and the types of substances that were being abused.

Sub-acute detoxication can take place through a doctor’s office, a licensed outpatient program, or a residential detox facility.

It is common for people to start with a residential detox facility like Everlast Recovery Centers. At Everlast, our residential detox provides close monitoring and 24-hour support throughout the detox process. We also offer therapy and other programs to help our clients throughout the recovery process.

At a doctor’s office or outpatient program, people receive their detoxification medication under medical supervision, but they do not sleep at the facility. In IOP, patients participate in intensive therapy during their detoxification process. However, the support of a residential treatment program offers more clinical support and services throughout detox.

Difference between Sub-Acute and Acute Detox

Sub-acute detox is designed for those undergoing recovery but with less severe withdrawal symptoms than those needing a complete detoxification process. Sub-acute detox occurs with less medical supervision in an outpatient setting such as a residential detox facility, urgent care center, or doctor’s office.

Acute detox is for those with severe addiction and more intense or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. This type of detox has higher risks of life-threatening side effects, seizures, and respiratory failure. The treatment, therefore, must be monitored 24/7 by a clinician at an inpatient facility.


Who is the best candidate for sub-acute detox?

As mentioned earlier, sub-acute detox can help anyone with less risk of experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms. When a patient enrolls in the treatment, clinicians leverage ASAM criteria to determine the best placement for their needs. Generally, sub-acute detox is ideal for anyone with the following characteristics:

A person who has already gone through a high-level detox

When a person goes through intense detox, they are already past their worst symptoms. Usually, withdrawal symptoms peak within the first few days and subside after five to 10 days. Although they do not need 24-hour medical care, they may experience post-acute symptoms and drug cravings. In these cases, sub-acute detox treatment might be warranted.

A person who relapsed after completing treatment

If someone has gone through treatment but recently used the substances again, they may not have developed a chemical dependence on the drug. Meaning they are less likely to experience acute withdrawal symptoms. Clinicians prefer to enroll such persons in a sub-acute detox program. In doing so, they benefit from reinstated treatments to help them get back on their sobriety journey.

A person who is psychologically addicted to drugs with less likelihood of causing addiction

There are some psychoactive substances with a lower risk of causing physical dependence. Drugs such as marijuana and psychedelics are less likely to cause changes in the human brain that could trigger chemical dependency. However, some people may still become psychologically addicted to these drugs. Psychological dependence may result in anxiety, depression, or drug cravings, hence a need to enroll patients in sub-acute detox.

Medications used in Sub-Acute Detox

The following are some of the common medications used in sub-acute detox:


Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved opioid agonist that trades under Subutex. It treats opioid addictions caused by heroin and narcotic prescription painkiller addictions. It can be prescribed or dispensed at a physician’s office, making it ideal for outpatient detoxification. Buprenorphine is an alternative to methadone medication that requires full-time enrollment in a highly structured clinic.


Vivitrol is an injection that blocks the effect of opiates in the body. The generic form, naltrexone, comes in pill form. However, this medication has become popular because it is only administered once a month and it is not an opiate and has no potential for building a dependence. Despite its popularity, the use of Vivitrol can possibly lead to overdose, and needs to be used with care.


Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. The medication eases withdrawal symptoms and cravings for anyone trying to overcome opioid addiction.


Clonidine is primarily used to regulate blood pressure. However, physicians have established several off-label drug uses, including treating alcohol and opiate withdrawal symptoms.

The stages of detox

  • Early stages: The early stages occur within one hour and extend to two days after a person starts detoxing. During the early stages, symptoms are typically mild, and the risk of relapse is moderate. However, they begin to get worse with time.
  • Peak stages: Peak stages occur 18 hours to five days after the initial start. During this stage, severe withdrawal symptoms begin to set in. Several medications and therapies help one feel more comfortable and stay firmly on the treatment. The risk of relapse during this stage is extremely high.
  • Weakened stages: This stage occurs three to one week after the initial stage. During the weakened stages, the symptoms are substantially reduced. There is also a reduced need for intensive therapy and medications. During this time, the risk of relapse starts to decrease.
  • Final stages: Final stages occur five to two weeks after the initial detox. It is usually the beginning of the final stages of the process. Mild symptoms characterize the final stage. However, therapy and support groups may be used to help one stabilize their progress and transition successfully to rehabilitation. During the final stages, the risk of relapse is generally moderate.

Detox treatment in Riverside, CA

Substance and alcohol addiction is a severe disease that requires a range of treatments and therapies to address effectively. When a patient is seeking addiction treatment, they need to be familiar with all the available options. Before going through any treatment program, one must be evaluated by a medical professional. 

A professional can determine their current mental state, medical issues, and drug and medical history. Besides, several tests may also be undertaken to assess the severity of a person’s addiction. 

Our highly trained and experienced clinicians at Everlast Recovery Centers will find an ideal level of care for patients’ needs. Once the clinicians determine a patient doesn’t have a significant risk for medical complications, they will start with a sub-acute detox. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.