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What is detoxification?

Detoxification is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from the body, often as the first step in the treatment of addiction. A detoxification treatment for drugs or alcohol is just the first step in a recovery process. These detoxification procedures provide medical stabilization only, and should not be considered rehabilitation.

The goal of the detoxification treatment is a safer alternative to trying to stop drug or alcohol use “cold turkey,” without medical supervision. One of the goals of inpatient drug or alcohol detoxification programs is to minimize or manage withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Sweats
  • Convulsions
  • Anxiety

Rehabilitation programs build on the progress made in detoxification as part of the process for long-term recovery.

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