Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How Healthy Does Detox Get Me?

How Healthy Does Detox Get Me?

Detox is a great step toward recovery, but it does not constitute complete treatment.

In the year 2012, only 10% of addicts were estimated to be treated medically for their condition, which means that addiction did not receive the medical attention that it needed for people to get clean from drugs. However, if you understand the process of rehab and how detox begins long-term recovery, then you may feel encouraged to seek professional help and stay clean for the long haul.

The Purpose of Detox

Detox is a process of extraction and expulsion. During this time, an addict’s body will go without the drug it has grown to need, but it will do so in an environment that eliminates all traces of the drug. This task is usually performed in a controlled setting where patients can receive assistance to withstand the adverse physical, mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms1. Detox and the length of treatment will vary between people and their drug abuse habits. Furthermore, in the case of certain drugs, stopping drug use immediately can have devastating effects. In these situations, professional assistance and supervision are required to taper drug use so addicts can detox without shocking their bodies into failure.

Detox is extremely necessary for addiction recovery. The drugs that the body has absorbed must be ejected, so, when detox starts, the body immediately responds positively. The body has an outstanding capacity to heal itself, so simply removing harmful substances gives the body back its natural advantages for recovery.

Recognizing Limits – Why Detox Is not Recovery

As helpful as detox is, addiction recovery requires much more than that single process. Simply stopping drug use for a period of time and eliminating harmful substances from the body will only allow people to stay drug free for a short amount of time. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long–term drug abuse”2. In other words, if a recovering addict desires detox to be the first step toward recovery, then she must take action even after she clears her body of drugs.

Living addiction-free means you must adapt your lifestyle. To accomplish this feat, incorporate behavioral therapy as you experience and finish detox. Treatment and relapse prevention are often included in detox, and prescription medications can even help you control cravings during this trying time. In that light, a good treatment program may utilize all of these factors, not just detox3. In fact, patients who receive detox and avoid these elements may soon relapse, perhaps even quicker than people who seek help. More help is, indeed, necessary for recovery to endure.

The truth is that withdrawal symptoms extend beyond physical problems. While some issues begin immediately during detox, other problems occur much later on, even after someone has spent months in sobriety. For example, most people consider withdrawal symptoms to include vomiting, headaches, cravings, shaking hands and dizziness, and these problems often come along during detox. However, other effects linger throughout a recovering addict’s life, and they, too, are withdrawal symptoms. For instance, what is a recovering addict to do to connect with other people when he cannot return to his friends who still abuse drugs? This problem is also withdrawal, but it occurs well after physical detox ends. People need professional support to stay clean throughout this time.

Addiction professionals argue that recovering addicts must replace drug abuse and associated activities with other behaviors. In other words, recovering addicts need coping skills to resist relapse if they want to stay sober for the long haul. Furthermore, how can someone get clean if he does not learn how to resist situations that brought him to addiction in the first place? A painkiller addict may be thrown right back into temptation for relapse if he gets a prescription for a legitimate medical concern, so he must learn resistance skills and ways to address peer-pressure if he is to stay clean after detox ends.

Problem-solving skills must also accompany the recovery process. Stress may turn recovering addicts to back to drugs, so recovering addicts need strong relationships with people who support sobriety if they are to stay clean. Some recovering addicts need alumni groups that form during rehab, but others may find help from their families after they repair the damage they caused while they were actively addicted. Such patients can create healthy support networks with help, and none of these tasks will occur purely through detox4.

Begin Detox and Rehab Today

Many schemes offer rapid ways to detox, yet it is vital to join a program that shows that it can actually work. An addict has already had enough damage done to her body, so why subject it to poor treatment any longer? In that light, please reach out today to our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now. Our admissions coordinators will address your addiction recovery concerns if you make the call, so make it now.


1 http://www.drugabuse.gov/frequently-asked-questions#detox. National Institute on Drug Abuse: “What is Detox?” Retrieved: 1/12/16.

2 http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” Revised September 2009. Retrieved: 1/12/16.

3 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64115/. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment: “Treatment Improvement Protocols: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment.” Retrieved: 1/12/16.

4 http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification. National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says.” Retrieved: 1/12/16.

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