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What is Detoxification?

Detoxification implies getting rid of or reducing toxic materials from the body system.1 Although the body can get rid of toxins from the liver and kidney, certain medications and measures have been put in place to enhance the process. However, we can’t talk about detoxification without defining toxins. Toxins are deadly chemicals that could hinder the body of its normal function and could hinder the body’s metabolism.

The term "toxin," according to Title 18 of the United States Code, means the toxic material or product of plants, animals, microorganisms (including, but not limited to, bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsia, or protozoa), or infectious substances, or a recombinant or synthesized molecule, whatever their origin and method of production.2 

The issue with these chemicals is that they build up in our systems year after year, posing a health risk. "Toxicology is the foundation upon which all sickness builds," says Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt.3 Chronic illnesses cannot heal, and the body cannot be restored to a healthy and balanced state without cleansing or detoxification.

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What is Drug Detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of removing a substance of dependency from the body without causing harm to its physiology.4 It refers to the intervention measures taken in the event of physical dependence on a substance (the withdrawal syndrome process and experience) and any of the different therapies for an acute drug overdose. 

Clinical judgment, the user's taste and surroundings, lifestyle and expectations, level of dependency, and associated health concerns all play a role in determining which detoxification approach to utilize. Drug detoxification aims to reduce the risk of bodily damage from quitting a drug (or substances) after a long time of use. 

Drug Detox Definition

Benefits of Detoxification

Removing toxins from the body is essential to improve the body’s functionality. Here’s an outline of some of the benefits of detoxification

Removes Any Waste That Has Accumulated

The most crucial benefit of detoxing is that it allows the body to eliminate any excess waste it has been storing. Most detox treatments are meant to encourage the body to cleanse itself, assisting the liver, kidneys, and colon. Because those toxins must leave the body, cleansing the colon is a vital element of the detoxifying process.

Increases the Energy Level

Sluggishness, exhaustion, and a lack of energy are signs that the body cannot digest, absorb, and use nutrients from meals. Toxin accumulation in the body might result in a decrease in cellular energy. Apart from improving energy generation at the cellular level, a good detoxification program incorporating appropriate nourishment in the diet will help jump-start effective digestion. This cleansing time aids in the restoration of vitality and energy, making you feel lighter and more vibrant.

Improves the Brain’s Functions

High toxin load clouds the brain and affects the brain's ability to process information fast. The increased energy during a detoxifying period benefits the brain by improving attention and mental clarity. Neurological improvements are among the prevalent outcomes of a full-body detox.

Because different poisons are fat-soluble, their adverse effects on the brain may be noticed right away—owing to the brain having one of the most significant fat aggregations in the body. Therefore, a well-planned full-body detox should pave the way for neurological advantages.

Supports the Function of the Liver

The liver is one of the body's principal detoxification organs, working nonstop to help get rid of toxic chemicals. On the other hand, the liver might benefit from a detox/cleanse since it takes a 'break' from working overtime. A detox aids in the restoration of liver function, allowing this critical organ to execute vital metabolic and detoxification activities more efficiently.

Boosts the Immune System's Defenses

Toxin buildup impacts all body functions, including the immunological and lymphatic systems. Higher vulnerability to infections and sickness suggests lower immunity. A full body cleanse is required if the immune system is poor. The immune system performs better after a detox phase, and white blood cells can fight infections more effectively.

Improves Emotional Balance

Because a high toxic load impacts the brain, it has an impact on how one perceives events and the sentiments or emotions that go along with them. After a time of cleansing, after accumulated poisons have been eliminated, the body's mental and emotional condition might improve.

Promotes Healthy Skin

The skin is not only the human body's biggest organ, but it is also one of the most important detoxifying organs. Any toxic buildup or imbalance in the body quickly shows up in the skin. This creates skin issues that make it dull, pale, and prone to breakouts and rashes. One should anticipate having better skin health after undertaking a cleaning detox.

Types of Drug Detoxification

Inpatient Detoxification

Detoxing from a substance can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Most detox treatments are difficult to stick with since users will suffer unpleasant and perhaps dangerous withdrawal symptoms. When detoxifying, it's usually a good idea to be under the guidance of a medical practitioner. Here are the types of drug detoxification that can be administered:

Medical Detoxification

Medical detox is a procedure that allows a person to detox from substance abuse safely. Withdrawal is a term that describes the unpleasant or even fatal symptoms that occur when an individual stop using a substance. Medical detox involves using medications and other treatments to assist the body in eliminating the substance (drug or alcohol). This allows the body to heal before beginning drug abuse therapy or rehab. 

Medical detox is only the first step in recovery from a substance use disorder. Medical detox for opioids sometimes includes medication-assisted therapy (MAT), which entails giving drugs to help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The drugs are meant to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, control cravings, and avoid medical consequences.5

Drug Tapering

Many rehabilitation facilities are beginning to include medication tapering into their drug treatment to ease severe withdrawal symptoms and encourage long-term recovery. Tapering is the gradual reduction in the amount of an addictive drug used over time. Tapering can help the body adapt to abstinence and provide relief from several severe withdrawal symptoms when done under the supervision of qualified medical specialists.

It should be emphasized that these tapering regimens dramatically diminish the individual's tolerance levels.6 Throughout a tapering program with Suboxone or methadone, an individual who has been using a narcotic like heroin will have a lowered tolerance for heroin. If the person relapses, they are in grave danger of overdosing if they consume the substance in quantities equivalent to their previous abuse levels.

Rapid Detoxification

Rapid detoxification works as a quick fix detox to cleansing opioids from the system while the patient is under anesthesia. At first sight, quick detox, or the act of rapidly purging your system of opioids, may appear to be a smart notion. 

Patients who want to go through this procedure should be conscious of the risks associated. This kind of detox may be completed quickly, usually in a few days — and withdrawal symptoms can be avoided to a considerable extent. However, compared to other treatments, the treatment procedure is very contentious.

It is also regarded as hazardous. In a study of seventy-five patients at a New York clinic who did a rapid detox, five experienced significant adverse reactions that required hospitalization, and two died. As a result, New York health officials began to discourage rapid detox, and opioid treatment standards advise against it.7

At-Home Detoxification

Detoxing at home should only be done with the approval of a doctor or medical expert. Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol should never try to quit on their own without medical guidance. This might have significant health consequences, and it could be deadly in some cases. 

To begin a safe detox, speak with a medical practitioner, ideally one who has expertise with addiction therapy or withdrawal management. This expert can examine your current situation and potential hazards.

Detoxification Kits

Many retailers provide detox drug kits consisting of tablets or liquids to cleanse the body. Detox drug kits are an "easy out" and a momentary fix, not a long-term solution. These kits are usually available in tablet form, as a liquid to drink, or both. The most prevalent online drug detox kit is for marijuana and THC.

Different cleanses say it takes seven days to remove THC from the body entirely. At the same time, more costly kits claim it takes 90 minutes to swallow, and the drug is temporarily eliminated from the body for five hours. The goal of these drug detox kits is not to treat withdrawal symptoms. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, several detox kits have been linked to adverse effects, including insanity.8

Natural Detoxification

Natural detox focuses on eliminating poisonous toxins from your body naturally, without the need for medicine.  Alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture, herbal medicines, and yoga can help with natural detox. While undergoing a drug detox at home might save money, it is also known to be the least effective detox method. Many people begin with a strong desire to improve their lives, only to find themselves relapsing due to withdrawal symptoms.

Cold Turkey

Cold turkey refers to abruptly ending a chemical addiction and the painful experience that follows, rather than progressively easing the process by a gradual decrease or the use of replacement medicine. Sudden withdrawal from alcohol or drugs can be exceedingly harmful, resulting in possibly deadly convulsions. Going cold turkey can produce life-threatening delirium tremens in long-term alcoholics, making it an ineffective way to overcome alcohol addiction.

The Process of Drug Detoxification

Drug detoxification involves specific processes, which include:


Individuals who want to go through the detoxification process need to be evaluated by professionals for physical and psychological issues. Specialists use blood tests to determine the amount of medication in a patient's body. This determines the extent to which prescriptions are required.


Stabilization is necessary to prevent negative consequences from arising. Physicians might provide dependency therapy treatments to minimize problems and improve withdrawal symptoms.

Preparing Entry into Treatment

Preparing patients for clinical withdrawal symptoms therapy is the final step in detoxification. Patients are usually informed about what to expect throughout therapy by their doctors. Inpatient rehabilitation is the most likely consequence following detox.

Drug Withdrawal and Detoxification Symptoms/Timeline

Detoxification Stats

Drug withdrawal is a physiological reaction to abruptly stopping or gradually reducing the usage of a drug on which the body has become reliant. Different forms of drug withdrawal syndromes can cause various physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, some of which can be deadly if left untreated. Drug withdrawal symptoms include:

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical withdrawal is a distressing condition that can leave a person in a depressed mood. Anxiety, muscular pains, runny noses, sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramping, dilated pupils, acute physical pain, diarrhea, and even constipation are among the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological withdrawal symptoms represent symptomatology characterized by emotional and motivational characteristics: depression, anxiety, low motivation, difficulty experiencing pleasure, and lethargy.

The Most Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

More severe symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures, and delirium may ensue in certain withdrawal cases. 

Drug Withdrawal Timeline

The length of withdrawal is determined by the drug consumed and the degree of dependency on the substance. Depending on various causes and individual characteristics, it may take days, weeks, or even months to resolve all withdrawal symptoms completely. The initial indications of alcohol withdrawal can show as soon as a few hours after the last drink and linger up to 72 hours. 

Delirium occurs 48-72 hours after severe drinking ceases and lasts for 3-4 days but can last up to 8 days. Short-acting opioid withdrawal symptoms usually appear 8-24 hours after the last use and last 4-10 days on average; however, long-acting opioid withdrawal symptoms like methadone might take 2-4 days.

Factors That Affect the Length of Drug Detoxification

Various factors affect the duration of drug detoxification; they are listed below:

  • Family History: Having a family history of addiction may prolong the duration of drug detoxification.
  • Type of Drug: Different drug substances affect the body system. The type of drug used is a factor that can influence the length of drug detoxification.
  • Duration of Addiction: People who have been dependent on drug substances for a long time may need to get a drug detox for a more extended period.
  • Method of Drug Abuse: The method used in drug abuse can affect the length of the detoxification period.
  • Amount of Drug: Consumption of high doses of drug substances may need a long duration of drug detoxing than low doses.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Some patients may have an underlying medical condition coupled with addiction. Patients like these need extra medical care, which may prolong the drug detoxing period.

Drug Detoxification Side Effects and Dangers

drug detoxification

Here in this section, we will discuss the common side effects and dangers of drug detox.

Common Side Effects of Drug Detox

Here are the most common side effects of Drug detox:

  • Mental Health Changes: Detox causes brain imbalance in the patient. This imbalance can lead to anxiety, despair, and even suicidal ideation in severe circumstances. The patient will be tired as well.
  • Physical Withdrawal Symptoms: Constipation, headaches, muscular spasms, stomach pains, sweating, and other physical side effects are common side effects of drug detox.
  • Drug Cravings: Because the brain is trying to find a balance, it will experience frequent and intense drug cravings. 

Dangers of Drug Detox During Pregnancy

Both mothers and physicians find drug detoxification during pregnancy difficult. Withdrawal symptoms may affect a pregnant woman during drug detox, and when an addicted woman goes through withdrawal, her body is badly out of balance, which can damage the fetus.

Dangers of Rapid and Ultra-rapid Drug Detox

While the prospect of undergoing rapid detox under anesthesia may sound appealing, rapid detox is hazardous. The accelerated detox treatment enormously impacts a negative response on the bodies of those who undertake it, and it can even be deadly. It can cause seizures, cardiac arrest, or death.

Dangers and Risks of At-home Drug Detox

Here are some risks associated with at-home drug detoxification:

  • Relapse: Relapse is common for at-home detox treatments because withdrawal symptoms and cravings can become intense and challenging to ignore during home detox. 
  • Overdose: When someone is detoxing at home, they may withdraw and consume more of the substance than they would typically, raising the danger of a lethal overdose.
  • Medical Complications: During home detox, underlying medical issues might become severe.

Alcohol Detox: A Process You Shouldn’t Undergo Alone

Drug Detoxification Options

Medically Managed Inpatient Withdrawal Management is a structured inpatient detoxification program. It is provided in an acute care inpatient environment by medical and nursing experts and provides 24-hour medically directed observation, evaluation, monitoring, and withdrawal treatment. Some treatment centers offer less than 24 hours of medically managed inpatient detox services.

Medically Monitored Inpatient Detox

Patients in a medically monitored detox get round-the-clock care for the duration of their stay, ensuring any harmful withdrawals are adequately addressed for maximum patient safety.

Clinically Managed Residential Detox

This can involve managing addiction and withdrawal symptoms with other clinical conditions like kidney disease, cancer, etc.

Ambulatory Detox with Extended Onsite Monitoring

The availability of credentialed and licensed nurses (such as registered nurses [RNs] or licensed practical nurses [LPNs]) who monitor patients for many hours each day of treatment is referred to as ambulatory detoxification with prolonged onsite monitoring. Aside from that, this degree of detox is also a structured outpatient service. Detoxification services are supplied in regularly scheduled sessions and are performed according to a set of rules and procedures or medical protocols at this level of care.

Ambulatory Detox without Extended Onsite Monitoring

Ambulatory detoxification without extended on-site monitoring is an organized outpatient service provided by qualified clinicians who provide medical supervision, evaluation, detoxification, and referral services according to a predetermined schedule in an office setting, healthcare or addiction treatment facility, or a patient's home. 

Common Types of Drug Addiction and Detoxification Treatment Programs

An inpatient program involves confining the patient in a treatment center, which may be a hospital or a rehabilitation center. A patient is examined by specialists 24/7 before being discharged.

Outpatient Rehab

In outpatient rehab, the doctor places the patient on occasional appointments. Before placing individuals under this program, the specialist

Holistic Treatment

Holistic addiction therapies are non-pharmaceutical recovery strategies that are utilized in conjunction with established treatment methods. The goal of holistic healing is to connect the mind, body, and spirit. Exercise, meditation, and diet are used in holistic treatment clinics to assist patients in overcoming their addiction.

Luxury Treatment

Luxury treatment is a resort-style treatment option for addiction that provides a high-end treatment alternative, with medically supervised detox, round-the-clock care, and a tailored treatment plan, all delivered in top-notch comfort. These luxury rehabs are typically significantly more expensive than traditional treatment centers, and they cater to people who lead a more wealthy lifestyle than the general public.

Faith-Based Program

Faith-based drug recovery centers and programs focus on the medical and spiritual needs of someone recovering from addiction are addressed by faith-based drug recovery centers and programs. This program uses standard techniques such as medically assisted detox and behavioral therapy to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The spiritual aspect of treatment is essential, but conventional drug rehab approaches are also critical.

Other Treatment Programs

Other treatment programs include cognitive behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, contingency management, and treatment with medication, among others. 

Treatment for Drug Detoxification and Addiction at BoardWalk Recovery

In BoardWalk recovery, we are committed to assisting you in overcoming addiction and helping with drug detoxification. We offer:

Our medical team is trained to assist you medically in substance use treatment. We also offer therapy and counseling sessions for our clients on which type of drug detox option is suitable. Contact a drug detoxification specialist right now. Quickly contact our specialists who are always on hand to assist.

Drug detoxification has both advantages and disadvantages. It can help a lot in removing drug substances from the body. However, if not managed properly, it can cause dangerous consequences. This article explains drug detoxification, its types, benefits, dangers, and consequences.

A Deeper Look at the Root of Addiction
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