Alcohol Detox Programmes: Choosing the Best One

When you contact us looking for more information about alcohol recovery, we will provide you with a list of alcohol detox programmes in your local area. You can choose the right programme based on your needs and preferences. The most important thing to us is that you get the help you need to overcome your alcohol problem.

Throughout the UK, there are hundreds of different detox programmes made available by NHS hospitals, government clinics, private clinics, and alcohol charities. They are supported by local alcohol support groups that come alongside clients to provide extra support during the recovery process. With so many choices, you may need help figuring out what’s best for you. We can provide that help.

Below you will find a detailed explanation of the four most common forms of detox in the UK. If you still have questions after reading, counsellors are standing by on our 24-hour helpline to speak with you. We can offer you a free assessment of your situation along with a list of detox programmes and a referral to the clinic of your choice.

Private Residential Detox

Residential detox in a private clinic will be the best option for most alcoholics. Residential detox involves checking into a rehab clinic and remaining there throughout the duration of treatment. Patients essentially become residents of the facility while they are being treated.

We refer to private residential detox because the NHS no longer offers residential programmes except in extreme cases. And even when a patient does qualify for residential treatment through the NHS, that treatment is still conducted at a private clinic that the government has contracted with to provide services.

Residential treatment tends to be the best option for a number of reasons:

  • It offers complete separation from the patient’s normal environment
  • Treatment is more concentrated
  • Treatment is medically supervised 24 hours a day
  • Detox can be immediately followed up by therapeutic treatments
  • The residential environment is more conducive to full recovery.

The only downside to residential detox is that it is not provided free of charge. Most private health insurance plans cover detox and rehab, so that’s one way of covering the costs. Private clinics also accept credit cards and cash payments.

Outpatient Alcohol Detox Programmes

Outpatient detox is offered by private clinics, charities and the NHS. Most people who choose this option access detox through their GP, who then recommends them to an NHS-backed programme. Outpatient detox gets its name from the fact that patients visit their clinics every day before returning home.


The advantage of outpatient detox is the fact that it is provided free of charge when accessed through the NHS or a charity. However, there are trade-offs here. First, NHS detox tends to be oversubscribed, therefore resulting in long waiting times. Second, outpatient detox does not provide the separation so many alcoholics need. Finally, outpatient treatment tends to take longer to complete than residential treatment.

Home Detox Programmes

There are times when an alcoholic needs more treatment than the outpatient programme can provide, but he or she does not have the financial resources to access residential treatment. In such cases, a GP or registered nurse may recommend the patient for a home detox programme.

Home detox takes place in the patient’s home with the help of a family member or friend. It is medically supervised in the sense that the patient receives regular visits from a registered nurse throughout the process. It is the nurse’s job to monitor the patient’s health and administer any medications prescribed by a doctor.

It should be noted that there are very strict requirements that come with home detox. First and foremost is a requirement that the patient’s home life be stable enough to safely support home detox. If medical professionals don’t believe that stability exists, they are not likely to recommend home detox.

Rapid Detox Programmes

There’s a new form of detox just beginning to make its way to Europe known as ‘rapid detox’. What is rapid detox? It is a treatment programme that seeks to complete the detox process in as little as 3 to 5 days, doing so in such a way as to allow the patient to return to normal life without any psychotherapeutic follow-up. Rapid detox is controversial because we do not yet know how well it works.

A common component of rapid detox programmes is the use of copious amounts of vitamins and minerals introduced intravenously. It is believed that heavy doses of vitamins and minerals speed up the healing process and make up for nutritional deficiencies at the same time.

Choosing a Detox Programme

We know from experience that choosing a detox programme is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. The one thing we would say from the start is that the alcoholic is better off choosing some kind of professional treatment rather than attempting to detox on his/her own. Detoxing without medical help can be a dangerous situation that could result in serious injury or death due to a condition known as delirium tremens. There is simply no point in taking that risk.

With that in mind, choosing a detox programme is made easier by contacting an organisation like ours. Our fully trained and experienced counsellors use a step-by-step process approved by the medical community to determine how serious a clients’ problem is and what the best treatment options might be.

In helping our clients choose a detox programme, we look at:

  • how much and how often the patient drinks
  • how long the patient has been misusing alcohol
  • any history of alcohol or drug problems
  • the patient’s current health
  • the patient’s budget
  • any other circumstances that may influence the outcome of treatment.

Our goal is to match clients with the best possible treatment out there. In the end, it is all about getting people struggling with alcohol on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. We are here to help you and your family do just that.

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UK Addiction Treatment Group.

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0203 553 0324