How Does Detox Work
May 1, 2016

How Does Detox Work?

Addiction and dependence aren’t the same thing, and as such, they require different treatments. Addiction is characterized by continuing to use a substance despite negative consequences, even though you may want to or have even tried to stop using it. Dependence is characterized by changes in brain structure and function that have led to the brain operating more “normally” when a substance is present in the body than when it’s not. As a result of dependence, physical withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug is withheld and brain function rebounds.

Detox Treats Dependence

Detoxification, or detox, is the process of withholding a substance of abuse so that all traces can be flushed from the body and brain function can begin to return to normal. Detox breaks the physical dependence so that you can focus on delving into the complex issues behind the addiction.

The symptoms of withdrawal associated with detox depend on the drug of abuse, and their intensity can range from mild to severe. Regardless of the substance, intense cravings are almost always a part of withdrawal, and detoxing from a drug without medical assistance can quickly lead right back to using due to the marked discomfort of the cravings and other symptoms.

Medical detox is a medically supervised process during which physicians administer various medications that can help alleviate certain symptoms and, in some cases, reduce the time it takes to detox. Medical detox improves the chances of successfully navigating the withdrawal process, and it helps increase the level of engagement in treatment, which is crucial for a positive outcome.

Medical detox is always the best choice for withdrawal, and it’s particularly essential for those who are dependent on alcohol or benzodiazepines, which include drugs like Xanax or Klonopin. Withholding these substances once a dependence has developed can result in withdrawal symptoms that are dangerous and in some cases, fatal.

While First Responders Recovery doesn’t provide medical detox services, we have a number of partnerships with high-quality detox centers in South Florida, and we’re always happy to recommend one based on your or a loved one’s needs and preferences.

Therapy Treats Addiction

While detox is the essential first step in treating an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s not the same thing as treatment. Detox takes care of the physical dependence, but the complexities of addiction require more intense, therapy-based treatments.

Choosing a high-quality rehab program that takes a holistic approach to treatment through the utilization of various traditional and alternative therapies is critical for improving the chances of successful, long-term recovery. A high-quality treatment program will adhere to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Effective Treatment, which include the understanding that not every treatment therapy is right for every individual, and a personalized treatment plan is essential for success.

Recovery is Possible

It can be very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the clutches of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Taking the first step and entering treatment is, for many people, the hardest part of the recovery process, but making that decision is usually the beginning of a period of great personal insight and self-discovery that leads to a vastly higher quality of life.

Through research-based therapies that address issues of the body, mind and spirit, those who want to recover from an addiction can enjoy a life of sobriety while improving their physical and mental health and repairing relationships.

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