Image for Detoxification
Detoxification

Related Terms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Background

  • Detoxification, commonly called detox, is a broad term that encompasses many different ways of cleansing the body's internal systems and organs. The goal is to remove toxic substances from the body and/or assist organs that normally perform detoxification functions. These organs include the skin, liver, intestines, and kidneys.
  • Drug detoxification is a process that applies to a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. The goal of alcohol or drug detoxification is to eliminate the drugs or alcohol from the body. Although it may take several months for certain drugs to be completed eliminated from the body, licensed detox centers generally provide support and care during the first 3-7 days of abstinence. Drug detox is performed in many different ways depending on many factors, such as where a person chooses to receive treatment, the type and severity of addiction, and the person's age and overall health. Many drug detox centers provide treatment to help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms are the physical and mental symptoms that develop when a person who is physically dependent on a drug(s) suddenly discontinues or stops using the drug(s). Qualified detox facilities provide medical treatment, counseling, and therapy to help people cope with the psychological distress of withdrawal. Once detox is completed, rehabilitation programs that include group therapy, motivational interviewing, family therapy, and/or one-on-one counseling are recommended to help patients overcome their addictions in the long-term.
  • Therapeutic forms of detoxification are thought to support or augment the body's natural systems of detoxification. The major methods used during therapeutic detoxification include chelation therapy (EDTA therapy), colonic irrigation, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, fasting, juicing, probiotics, hydrotherapy, sauna therapy, exercise, and vitamin and mineral supplementation. Four main types of toxins are addressed through therapeutic detoxification: 1) heavy metals, 2) chemical toxins (including drugs and alcohol), 3) microscopic organisms and compounds, and 4) byproducts from protein metabolism.
  • Advocates believe that therapeutic detoxification cleanses the body, increases vitamin and mineral absorption, purifies the blood, reduces blood fat levels, reduces symptoms of toxicity, rejuvenates the body, and rests the organs. Proponents also believe that this therapy clears the skin, enhances the senses, aids in weight loss, slows aging, and improves fertility and flexibility.

Drug and Alcohol Detoxification

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Integrative Therapies

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Safety

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.