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What is the Detoxification Process?

By Synthia L. Rose
Updated May 17, 2024
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The detoxification process is the act of stripping the body of poisons, built-up waste, and addictive substances that can sap energy, cause illness, and stimulate inflammation or allergies. Users of addictive substances often pursue detoxification rituals specifically to rid themselves of addictions to narcotics or alcohol. In such cases, the detoxification process can be traumatic and painful due to drug withdrawal side effects. Many go through the detoxification process to improve health, purify their organs, and restore a sense of vitality. That process is rarely painful, but can be accompanied by bloating of the stomach, headaches and cramps.

Those who use the detoxification process for non-narcotic-based reasons, such as to promote general wellness and cleansing, often aim to shed an excess of heavy metals and toxic elements, such as mercury, arsenic and lead, which can build up in the body, polluting the blood, lymph nodes, and body tissues. Sources of these contaminants include foods with additives, produce grown with pesticides, and meats grown with hormones. In addition, tap or well water in areas where metals have leached into the soil and the general environment can also produce a build-up of toxins. Symptoms that one is laden with too many toxins include constant exhaustion, migraines, and perpetual unexplained sicknesses that cannot be understood or cured by doctors.

Ridding the body of these toxins can ease strain not only on the liver, but also on the kidneys, lymphatic system, and intestines, which have the jobs of naturally filtering poisons and harmful substances out of the body. Removing toxins can also clear up illnesses, rash, and allergies, according to alternative medicine practitioners. Some practitioners of the detoxification process also report positive side effects of weight loss and stronger immune systems.

Several methods exist for completing a detoxification process. Most last at least three to seven days. One method involves eating fruit and vegetables while abstaining from meat, dairy and processed foods in addition to taking natural diuretics and laxatives, such as psyllium. Other methods include fasting from solid foods while drinking water spiked with a cleansing acidic component, such as apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Sometimes a liquid sugar, such as molasses or maple syrup, is added to the acidic water solution to provide minerals, natural vitamins, and energy.

While these homemade detoxification rituals can successfully help those addicted to food-based stimulants like caffeine and sugar, people addicted to hardcore narcotics or alcohol often require a facility-based detoxification process in a rehabilitation center staffed by medical professionals. These professionals are able to address how any abstinence from meats, processed foods, and drugs are affecting the brain and body. If the patient is suffering too much, a medical drug might be prescribed to mimic the effects of the narcotic that is being avoided. During such treatment, the detoxification process may not completely rid the body of chemicals but can break addiction, health reports suggest. In-treatment detox programs are usually part of an overall system of recovery that includes psychological therapy.

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