Drug and alcohol treatment and detox centers focus on helping addicts safely and humanely withdraw from their drugs of choice. For most addicts, detox is the first step in a longer term recovery program. Detox, however, may take from several hours to 3 - 14 days for completion. Drug and alcohol detox centers are usually located in inpatient settings inside of hospitals or residential treatment centers. A few detox centers are standalone facilities, which contract out to other facilities.

Drug and alcohol treatment centers use three main models for withdrawal from substance abuse, though many alternative models exist as well. The three main models for drug and alcohol detox are the social, medical and rapid detox models.

The social detox model is for those with moderate drug and alcohol dependency problems that do not have a long-history of chemical dependency issues and are medically able and willing to go through detoxification without the use prescribed detox drugs. The social model may or may not be medically supervised and emphasis is upon being in a supportive environment with other like-minded individuals who are struggling with the same issues and offering support.

Some other non-traditional detox programs may include bio-physical treatment, nutritional detox and faith-based detox programs. Bio-physical treatment may include sauna, exercise and vitamins as part of the program. The nutritional detox program uses megavitamin therapy, nutritional supplements and diet to achieve results. Faith-base programs resemble the social model, but with emphasis on specific religious beliefs.

Ideally, drug and alcohol detox centers should provide counseling along with the detoxification services to help those substance abusers with the psychological and emotional distress that usually accompanies withdrawal. Follow-up treatment in a short-term, long-term or outpatient rehab center is also highly recommended in order to assure recovery over the long haul.