Overcoming addiction is a process. It takes time and energy to make healthy changes that support a sober lifestyle, but true recovery can’t begin if harmful toxins still linger in the body. Detox is the process of eliminating traces of drugs or alcohol from the body to end physical dependence, counteracting the effects of long-term substance abuse so those in recovery can focus on healing from addiction with a clean slate and a clear mind.

At NorthStar Transitions, we offer clinically-supervised, non-medical detox services and withdrawal management for adults who are ready to take the first step toward recovery. At our residential treatment facility in Boulder, Colorado, our experienced team of addiction specialists provides high-quality care to manage the symptoms of alcohol, opioid, methamphetamine and cocaine withdrawal, as well as support for those wishing to taper from the opioid replacement drug Suboxone.

After completing detox, clients can transition seamlessly into one of our residential or outpatient treatment programs and begin the healing process with personalized care plans that meet their emotional, physical and mental health needs. Our goal is to help those struggling with addiction get a good start in recovery by providing a comfortable space where they can regain their strength and prepare for the road ahead.

For an individualized consultation and assessment, please call admissions at 866-407-2240 or submit an online inquiry.

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What is Detox?

Drugs and alcohol have an intoxicating effect that changes the way we think, feel and behave, disrupting normal processes and causing harm to the brain and body. Over time, physical or psychological dependence can develop and lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if substance use is suddenly stopped, making it hard to overcome addiction without professional help.

The goal of detox is to safely manage these withdrawal symptoms as the body eliminates drugs or alcohol from its system and readjusts to sobriety. Depending on the substance, withdrawal symptoms will range in severity but usually begin within six to 24 hours after the last dose, lasting on average for three to five days before subsiding. During this time, the risk of relapse is high, and those who try to quit on their own without support often return to using drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms.

NorthStar Transitions’ clinically-supervised detox program provides much-needed support for adults who are looking to end their dependence on drugs or alcohol. We provide a non-medical social detox that helps manage withdrawal symptoms in a comfortable way, utilizing traditional and holistic techniques like counseling, therapy and nutritional and medicinal support throughout the process. Because some withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, this level of care isn’t right for everybody and is often recommended for those with minimal risk of complications or overdose. Prior to admission, clients will be thoroughly assessed to determine if non-medical detox is right for them.


Detox is an important first step in the recovery process, helping those with substance abuse problems end physical dependence so they can begin focusing on the underlying factors that led to addiction in the first place. Without a proper detox, symptoms such as anxiety, cravings or mood swings can become overwhelming and prevent meaningful progress from being made after transitioning into a residential or outpatient treatment setting.

In fact, studies like those performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimate that between 40-60% of people relapse within their first year of sobriety, and those numbers are even higher without detox. However, treatment outcomes improve considerably once withdrawal symptoms are properly managed and a solid support system is provided throughout the entire recovery process. So detox not only helps clients stabilize their mental and physical health for a smooth transition into rehab, it sets the stage for a productive, therapeutic experience on which to build a strong foundation for lasting sobriety.

NorthStar Transitions detox Treatments

NorthStar Transitions offers clinically-supervised, non-medical detox for a number of substances, including alcohol, opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex) tapers. Each client will be evaluated prior to admission so we can determine the severity of their addiction and gain insight into their substance abuse history, medical needs, mental health issues and more, ensuring that we provide the appropriate level of care at our facility in Boulder, Colorado.

A comprehensive assessment also allows us to recommend what steps to take after detox. For most clients, participation in a residential treatment program is key to achieving sustainable sobriety, providing the skills, tools and confidence needed to overcome the challenges of early recovery without relapse. At NorthStar Transitions, we offer premier residential care that blends traditional, holistic and experiential methods for a well-rounded approach to recovery you won’t find at other rehabs.

Alcohol Detox

Our social detox may be appropriate to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms when an individual is acutely intoxicated but has not been using alcohol in large amounts for an extended period of time. For a more severe alcohol addiction, medical detox is usually recommended. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include shaking, sweating, anxiety, nausea, insomnia and intense cravings, but heavy drinkers may experience serious complications like seizures, psychosis or delirium tremens (DT) that require medical supervision. Alcohol detox will typically last between two and seven days.

Opioid Detox

Heroin and opioid withdrawal are known for being unpleasant, but symptoms are not typically life-threatening and can be managed with social detox. Opioid withdrawal is often described as flu-like with symptoms that include sweating, nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and extreme cravings. There is very little difference in detoxing from heroin or prescription painkillers like Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, morphine or fentanyl, but stronger opioids may produce more uncomfortable symptoms. Opioid detox will typically last between two and seven days.

Cocaine Detox

Cocaine withdrawal includes psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, sleeplessness, paranoia and drug cravings that can be managed with social detox. During a cocaine detox, symptoms typically subside within 48 hours.


Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person but typically include fatigue, depression, anxiety, paranoia, anhedonia, insomnia, irritability and drug cravings. Symptoms typically subside within 48 hours and can be effectively managed with social detox.

Benzodiazepines Detox

Detoxing from benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin or Valium can produce dangerous withdrawal symptoms that require 24-hour medical supervision. Due to this, non-medical detox is generally not appropriate for benzodiazepine addiction.


Tapering from buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv) can be done with minimal discomfort by gradually decreasing the dosage. A Suboxone taper is appropriate for social detox, but methadone is strictly regulated with a long withdrawal duration and not suitable for non-medical detox at NorthStar Transitions.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms After Detox

After detox, many clients experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) once their initial symptoms subside. PAWS can linger for weeks or months while in the early stages of recovery and may cause feelings of depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, memory problems, mood swings, irritability and cognitive impairment. Symptoms are similar to those seen in mood or anxiety disorders and can lead to intense drug cravings, making clients highly susceptible to relapse during this time.

To minimize the risk of relapse, it is strongly recommended that clients remain in residential addiction treatment for at least two to four weeks following detox. Residential treatment programs can help clients manage their PAWS symptoms and address any underlying emotional or mental health problems that may have contributed to addiction, giving them the opportunity to develop the coping skills needed to maintain a sober lifestyle.


Many people avoid detox because they worry that it will be a long and painful process. While detox is certainly challenging and often the first big obstacle to overcome in the recovery process, doing it alone is even harder. Without medical supervision, the risk of worsening withdrawal symptoms, powerful cravings and relapse are extremely high.

Trying to quit cold turkey can also be dangerous, especially for substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines. Not only because willpower alone is almost never enough to overcome a severe substance abuse disorder, but dangerous withdrawal symptoms may develop. Even if quitting cold turkey is successful, the underlying causes of addiction remain unaddressed, leaving people with no tools or resources to maintain their recovery in the future.

In a supervised detox, individuals are never alone and closely monitored by trained professionals. They’ll provide round-the-clock support to help people through the most challenging parts of withdrawal and help them develop the skills needed to stay sober. Even if it takes longer than expected, detoxing the right way puts individuals in the absolute best position to not only achieve sobriety, but learn how to maintain it, too.

Contact NorthStar Transitions

At NorthStar Transitions, we know that ridding the body of drugs or alcohol can seem daunting. That’s why we provide a clinically supervised, non-medical detox to help individuals overcome the worst parts of withdrawal and emerge feeling healthier than ever, ready to begin the healing process. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact or call us today at 303-625-6335 to learn more about our recovery solutions and how they can help.

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