Detox vs Rehab: Which One is Right for You?

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A stressed and sad woman contemplating addiction treatment.

Seeking treatment is an important first step in recovering from addiction. But how do you know what type of treatment is right for you? Should you detox? Should you go to rehab? Aren’t they the same?

Although many use these terms interchangeably, detox and rehab each have their own purpose. While detox primarily focuses on addressing the physical effects that addiction has had on the body, rehab focuses more on the psychological effects.

Making the Right Choice for You

To determine whether you need detox, rehab, or both, you must first examine your substance of choice, usage interval, and the severity of your addiction.


While there are some exceptions, generally, if you are physically dependent on drugs and alcohol, you will benefit from medical detox, which means detoxing under the care of medical personnel.  Detoxing alone can be extremely dangerous, particularly if you are addicted to depressants such as alcohol and benzos or opioids like heroin and oxycodone. Unsupervised detox can lead to severe nausea, seizures, hallucinations, coma, and even death. By detoxing under medical supervision, you will have a professional medical team monitor your progress 24/7. They will be there to ensure your safety and comfort.

If deemed necessary, they can also provide you with medication to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Once your body has been stabilized, you are ready to move to rehab. If needed, a medical team will suggest personalized options for additional treatment. While not everyone who completes detox continues onto rehab, studies have shown that the longer an individual undergoes addiction treatment, the higher their chances of maintaining long-term sobriety.


If you are not physically dependent, or your substance of choice does not require a medical detox, your recovery journey can begin directly with rehab, also known as inpatient or residential treatment. Because addiction affects the mind, body, and spirit, it is best to seek a rehab facility that offers programming that addresses all these areas of life. Such rehabs have a holistic view of addiction treatment and are more effective in helping you regain total wellness. Through holistic programming, you will not only discover the root of your addiction and learn relapse prevention skills but you will also learn healthy life habits including proper self-care. You will work on developing a strong support network, and improving communication skills so that you can rebuild broken relationships, including with family. For those who suffer from co-occurring disorders, psychiatric services are also a part of holistic addiction treatment.

Fill out this questionnaire for an idea of what addiction treatment program may be right for you.  Addiction impacts everyone differently.  It is important to consult a professional addiction treatment specialist to determine the best treatment plan to meet your specific needs.

Detox versus Rehab Treatment at a Glance

Offerings may vary depending on the institution, but in general, the following should be true of a good detox and rehab program.

Detox VS. Rehab Infographic

Infographic Text


The process of removing toxic substances from the body. To ensure safety and comfort, it should be done under medical supervision.


On average, 3 to 10 day


Cleanse body of toxins

Reduce pain and discomfort

Lower your stress and anxiety levels

Strengthen your body’s immune system

Regain your ability to control behavior

Manage your withdrawal symptoms

Lessen drug and alcohol cravings


Counseling and education focused on helping individuals stop using drugs and alcohol by addressing their psychological dependence for the substance.


On average, 30 days


Receive individualized therapy

Receive psychiatric services

Gain relapse prevention tools

Relearn practical life skills

Participate in family therapy

Strengthen your network of support

Engage in therapeutic activities

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Mountainside can help.
Click here or call (888) 833-4676 to speak with one of our addiction treatment experts.