Definition of Detox

16 October 2016 Written by 

Many addicted people must undergo a detoxification process (detox) before they embark on a treatment plan. Detox is the process of getting the alcohol or other drugs out of the addicted person's system and getting him or her physically stable.

This procedure is best conducted under the watchful eye of an healthcare giver (medical detox), because it can be painful and dangerous. Medical detox safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal. For example, when a person withdraws from alcohol dependence, in a small proportion of cases he or she may experience delirium (the DTs); seizures, nausea, rapid heart rate, tremors and other symptoms.

"Detoxification is the initial stage that allows a person to stay clean," says Dr. Nora Volkow of National Institute on Drug Abuse. "But that's just the beginning of the road. And then the rest is what we're going to call treatment and recovery - that process by which the person who has been addicted is reintegrated into society without the need of drugs."

Doctors may prescribe medicines to make the detoxification process safer and easier. They may gradually reduce the amount of the addictive substance until the person has completely withdrawn. Or they may have the patient take a medical substitute for the addictive substance (such as methadone for people addicted to heroin). At the same time, the doctor can make overall assessments that will be useful as a treatment plan is established.

Years ago, people equated detoxification with rehabilitation; some mistakenly maintain this belief today. But detoxification does not have any impact on the fundamental psychological, social and physical aspects of addiction. Treating the underlying problems and issues is the next and very important step on the path to recovery.

Read 511 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 November 2016 17:29
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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass is the winner of the American Society of Addiction Medicine 2016 Media Award for her groundbreaking documentary "The Secret World Of Recovery." She is a journalist, playwright, the author of 15 novels and the founder of Reach Out Recovery. She is the producer/director of "The Secret World Of Recovery," and the teen addiction prevention documentary "The Silent Majority" which was distributed by American Public Television to all PBS stations in 2015. Leslie is currently developing more websites and technology to further the recovery and healthy living cause.
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