Detox Definition

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Detox Definition

After abusing drugs or alcohol for a lengthy period, you’ll experience negative symptoms of withdrawal when you try to quit. These ill feelings are at the beginning of detox when your body works hard to cleanse itself of various toxins. That is the detox definition: The timeframe in which the body processes substances in your system, clearing those toxins out.

Before detox, your body has developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol. Your body thinks it needs the substances that you’ve been abusing to make it through each day. This is why your body fights so much when you take away what it believes it needs for normal functioning. 

When you look at the detox definition this way, the sickness and psychological struggles of detox make more sense. The key to getting through detox and achieving sobriety is not letting these ill feelings get the best of you. This is a time when many people relapse and end up back on the streets as slaves to their addictions or, worse yet, dead from a fatal overdose. 

When you know what to expect and feel prepared, you can get through detox and into a quality rehab program.

Benefits of a Supervised Detox

Supervised detox ensures you feel as comfortable as possible throughout withdrawal. Medical professionals in a supervised setting help keep you safe, relaxed, and well-nourished. Our goal is to provide ease as you go through symptoms of withdrawal. You’ll feel much safer with people around you that know what to expect. 

These professionals provide medications or other remedies for the worst symptoms to alleviate discomfort. In drug detox, you can also start getting ready for the next step in the recovery journey. After all, detox is only the beginning of recovery. By itself, detox doesn’t provide tools for ongoing sobriety. 

A drug treatment center is where you’ll receive the therapies and treatments you need for a life without drugs or alcohol. However, detox is still an essential first step. This sets you up for future success in a rehab program for drug or alcohol treatment. 

Medical Detox: What is it?

The definition of detox wouldn’t be complete without explaining medical detox. Medical detox is typically a three-step process: evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for future treatment. Medical detox involves prescribed medicine to allow the patient to wean off the substance abused safely. 

The medicine is not only carefully prescribed, but also closely monitored. The goal of medical detox is to alleviate the pain of withdrawal symptoms in a safe, controlled manner

The three steps of medical detox include:

  • Evaluation

The evaluation consists of a questionnaire, a physical exam, blood tests, and a screening for co-occurring mental health disorders or other medical conditions. Our staff will diagnosis the patient’s psychological and physical state. A medical professional will then use this information to create a personalized treatment plan. This is a crucial step when tailoring a treatment plan for an individual’s unique needs. 

  • Stabilization

Stabilization is the step where patients stop abusing the substance. Medical professionals then help the individual achieve a healthy, stable state. Medication may be prescribed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms for some drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and opioids. Stabilization generally takes between one to three weeks.

  • Preparation

The additional treatment following detox is crucial in the recovery process. We want to make sure our patients are prepared. The psychological challenges can become overwhelming. That’s why we’ll help you, or a loved one, tackle these obstacles with a tailored treatment plan.

A treatment plan will aim to solve the underlying issues of a drug or alcohol addiction. This includes different kinds of therapies, as well as a supportive and encouraging environment. 

Medical Detox: What Drugs are Prescribed?

Different medications are used to treat various withdrawal symptoms. Medication prescribed will also vary depending on the severity and length of the addiction. These medications can include:

Benzodiazepines

These drugs reduce anxiety and irritability. Anxiety is a common symptom of withdrawal from many drugs, such as alcohol and opiates. Benzo prescriptions must be carefully monitored as they can be addictive on their own.

Antidepressants

An addicted individual will struggle to produce natural amounts of happiness-inducing chemicals in their brain. The chemical dependency drugs create is the reason for this.

Because they’ve relied on drugs to keep them happy for so long, people in detox often experience depression. Zoloft and Prozac can help reduce depressive feelings until the brain can produce happiness-inducing chemicals on its own again.

Clonidine

Clonidine is used to treat alcohol and opiate withdrawal. Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches, and anxiety. It can also aid in fighting against tremors and seizures.

Holistic Detoxing: A Different Approach

Holistic detox is a lifestyle change that targets symptoms more naturally. You are not your addiction. Understanding how the mind and body connect can transform an addicted individual’s life. The definition of detox, by holistic means, is lifestyle centered around transforming the mind and body.

As the name suggests, holistic body detox is defined by an easy-to-follow and sustainable routine to energize your life fully.

An all-around approach achieves body detoxification. Healing yourself starts with taking care of your mental and physical well being. This can be through making sure your body is receiving essential nutrients in conjunction with daily mediation. 

To target sickness, heal yourself, and feel great, you must nourish, relieve, detox, and cleanse your body, starting from the inside! This includes getting rid of toxins that clog your arteries, hang around your intestines, wear out your body organs, and cause harmful symptoms.

Body Detox

Fasting, cleansing, juicing, and healthy eating methods are all a part of holistic body detox. This can also be defined by the understanding of what your body needs to function optimally. A juice cleanse can act as a “restart” button for your body.

Mental Detox

A mental detox can be defined by connecting back with who you are. Becoming connected with yourself means spending some time alone with your mind. This is where meditation comes in!

Through practiced meditation, many report lessened feelings of anxiety and depression. Meditation is a great way to combat stress and ease mental clutter.

Spiritual Detox

Spiritual detoxification is the last phase we need to make the health approach ‘holistic’. The definition of a spiritual detox is the connection to the higher self. This can mean something different to each person. 

As humans, we are supposed to reconnect ourselves with nature. Spiritual detox can help you reconnect with nature again. This can include spending more time outside, journaling, meditating, yoga, and a variety of other approaches.

Take Your First Steps Into Addiction Recovery

Knowing you’re not alone in detox makes the journey to rehab much less intimidating. After detox, you can fully participate in your recovery at 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida. At 1st Step, you’ll receive the therapies and education you need for the successful maintenance of your hard-won sobriety.

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, therapies include:

Therapies During Detox: A More In-Depth Look

Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a treatment method involving the process by which psychological problems or disorders are treated. These problems are treated by a trained therapist with a skilled background in psychological theories and methods. 

The goal of psychotherapy is to improve your overall mental health and well-being positively. Therapy generally takes anywhere from a few months to years. It depends on the severity of the addiction and the patient’s unique needs. Individual sessions last 30 to 60 minutes. 

By identifying root issues and working through them through in-depth, analytical, discussion can help change behaviors. 

This includes behaviors that go hand in hand with substance abuse. Types of psychotherapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Supportive therapy

Family Therapy

Family therapy aims to help families learn communication skills, work through old arguments and traumas, and find recovery as a unit. Family therapists understand how each person in the family unit is affected by other members of the family group. Our medical staff has specialized education and experience in helping our patients heal and interact within the family unit.

Every family is a system, and each part is connected to all other parts. This means that a change in any part of the family system will bring about changes in all other parts. When one family member experiences addiction (or recovery), the entire family will be impacted. 

On the other hand, healthy family units can help individual family members recover and achieve long-lasting wellness.

Call Us Today

If you or someone you love is ready to end addiction to drugs or alcohol, 1st Step Behavioral Health is prepared to help you get there. Understanding how detox is defined allows you to move forward in getting the treatment you need. Our goal is not only to treat you but to educate you too. 

Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 or contact us here for more information about available programs.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.