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Sub-Acute vs. Acute Detox: Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment

A teenage boy during an individual therapy session

Making the decision to break free from the grip of addiction usually means detox as the first step. During the detoxification period, individuals face challenging withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous without professional supervision. Drug treatment in Los Angeles and around the country now often includes medication to help reduce or eliminate these symptoms.

Whether or not an individual needs medication to safely move past this early phase of recovery depends on a number of factors, including the severity of their addiction and the substance itself. Medical professionals separate detoxification treatment programs into two types: sub-acute and acute detox.

The Differences Between Sub-Acute and Acute Detox

To determine where an individual will fall in this spectrum, addiction centers perform a full evaluation to determine:

  • Current mental and physical health factors
  • Length and severity of the addiction
  • What substances or toxins exist that must be cleared from the body

Based on this evaluation, you and your doctor will determine which types of treatment will be most successful for recovery, and a treatment plan will be created that identifies the right level of care during the detox process.

Acute Detox Treatment

“Acute” is a medical term meaning critical or life-threatening. Persons in acute detox are expected to have dangerous withdrawal symptoms that require 24/7 medical supervision and support in hospitals, medical rehabs, or residential treatment centers.

Sub-Acute Detox Treatment

“Sub-Acute” means that the condition is less severe and life-threatening but still serious. Individuals who have short-term addictions to less dangerous substances, and who are in good physical and mental health, may not need continuous supervision and support during detox. Focused therapy, counseling, and services will still be needed, but their addiction treatment may be provided in an outpatient or sober living environment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT Programs

Both acute and sub-acute programs may use FDA approved medications to limit symptoms and support sobriety. Under federal law, those receiving MAT for opioid addiction are required to attend counseling, behavioral therapy, and other formal treatment services to receive the prescription.

Approved medications used in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery include:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Clonidine
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Vivitrol
  • Narcan
  • Antabuse

Choosing the Correct Patient Approach to Recovery

woman talking to his psychologist in the studio

Everyone fighting addiction is a unique individual. Whether your need for detox support and ongoing therapy is life-threatening or slightly less dangerous, it is the most important program you may ever engage in. Caring and compassionate support can also be evidence-based and effective. If you or your loved one needs help, don’t wait to connect with a professional team that practices a holistic and humanistic approach to treatment.

Of the residential facilities and rehabs in Los Angeles California, Dedicato Treatment Center has a proven track record of success and individual satisfaction. Our team provides clinically managed sub-acute detox services facilitated by an ASAM accredited addictionologist, as well as healing therapies for all aspects of life, including fitness, art therapy, family counseling, and vocational advancement.

Dedicato Treatment Center is Joint Commission Certified and adept at helping individuals overcome addiction in an empowering environment free of judgment and confrontation. Contact us today to choose all-encompassing support during detox and throughout the recovery process.