While the detoxification process removes drug and alcohol traces from the body, in some cases medication may be used to counteract withdrawal symptoms, depending on the type of substance addiction (see Detoxification).

Medications such as buprenorphine, clonidine, trazodone, and lorazepam can alleviate the suffering of withdrawal symptoms and strengthen the bond between patients and their treatment providers. Medication-based treatment increases the success of the detoxification process, and so individuals are more likely to stick with the treatment program. It is important to remember, though, that medication used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms is a technique to support independence, and proper management and close supervision of medication is critical to long-term recovery so that it does not introduce an additional substance addiction.

Medically-supervised withdrawal typically does not necessitate an inpatient or residential facility, and the outpatient model increases independence for the recovering individual. Treatment grounded in detoxification through medication management is most appropriate for patients who have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, no major coexisting issues, and an environment supportive of sobriety with a primary individual willing to closely monitor their progress on a daily basis.