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Detox Options

Detoxification (detox) is the first step, and one of the most crucial in the addiction treatment process.

Prolonged use of addictive substances such as illicit drugs and alcohol have altered the brain’s natural chemistry altering its ability to function normally. Because of the brain’s connectivity to, and control of the body, abuse of substances also causes physiological changes to occur throughout the body.

Detoxification and the Dangers of Withdrawal Symptoms

Detox OptionsAddiction changes the way the body carries out its daily processes. Prolonged substance abuse, causes the body to expect the physiologic changes to remain constant, adapting them as part of its system. The adaptation to the body’s system causes the user to have to increase usage of the substance by volume, or by frequency, in order to receive the desired effect. Unfortunately this causes a situation where, if the consumption of a substance is not increased, the body attempts to repair itself. In doing so, the user will begin to develop symptoms of withdrawal. In certain situations where the addiction was mild, the symptoms may also be mild and bearable by the user. Some of the more mild symptoms include: irritability, nausea, vomiting, muscle fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite.

Unfortunately, those with a severe addiction may experience withdrawal symptoms that could also become life-threatening. Some extreme physiological symptoms include: respiratory depression, seizures, coma, fluid imbalances, and cardiac arrhythmias. Along with physiological symptoms, individuals may experience serious psychiatric mental health manifestations as well. Schizophrenia, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations, are all mental manifestations that an individual in detox may experience.

Detox Options

There are two major categories for detox treatments, medically-managed (acute) treatment and medically-assisted (sub-acute) treatment. Severe withdrawal is categorized as medically-managed withdrawal that comes with an array of complications, thus it is a very closely monitored process. Less severe withdrawals can be handled at a medically- assisted facility, and often are able to begin treatment while in detox.

  •   Medically-managed (acute) detox treatments are equipped to handle moderate to serious addictions. These are also situations where the risk of developing serious to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms is extremely high. A doctor, along with a team of trained medical professionals, carefully monitors the individual typically in a hospital type setting. There are inpatient treatments that require the individual to remain at a hospital until treatment is complete.
  • Medically-assisted (sub-acute) detox treatments are for those whose addictions do not pose a threat to the safety of the individual. Monitoring is carried out by skilled facility personnel instead of medical professionals. In order to help the detox process, certain medications are administered. These medications help alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with the addictive substance. Sub-acute facilities may either be a residential or an outpatient program.

The aim of both methods is to highlight nutritionally-assisted detox. Addiction impairs the reward center in the brain causing individuals to lack the motivation to eat. While having a suppressed appetite nutrients are not absorbed into the body, and nutritional deficiencies are formed. Focusing on nutritionally-assisted detox is extremely important because, the nutrients lacking are the exact nutrients needed to help with detox. Providing the body with nutrients speeds the process along, helps repair the body’s cells, and replenishes vitality in the individual.

Drug Detox

All drug detoxification requires the careful monitoring of the substances leaving the body. Standard procedures include the administration of medication to help reverse the effects of these substances, and alleviate the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Along with the help of medications, individuals are encouraged to increase their appetite, and follow a nutritional diet. This is important because it will create nutritional support during the detox process to help the individual better manage his withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol addiction is particularly dangerous because it creates an electrolyte deficiency, which can lead delirium tremens, depression, and hallucinations. In cases where delirium tremens are possible, it’s imperative the detox treatment professionals are able to provide substantial care, that will avert the possibility of any lethal consequences from withdrawal symptoms. Along with having an electrolyte deficiency, individuals tend to have dangerously low levels of thiamine, and folate. Nutritional-assisted detox is important in these cases to replenish the nutrients depleted from the alcohol addiction.

Sub-Acute Detox

In less severe cases where individuals only require supportive care, sub-acute detox treatments are recommended. They contain both nutritional and psychosocial support in order to offer the best treatment possible, and to support those recovering with or without the aid of medications. In most situations medications free detox is recommended because the body can remove addictive substances naturally.


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