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Why Is Detox The First Step In Recovery?

Addiction is a complex -- yet treatable -- condition. It shouldn’t be treated at home or on your own when better and safer options are available.

With the proper care, addiction is manageable, and many people who suffer from addiction go on to live full and well-rounded lives without substances. However, this is not a simple process.

Recovery is a lifelong effort that begins with detox. Drug detox is not just some part of recovery. It is the first step that sets you off on the path to success. Without proper detox treatment, someone can easily relapse or struggle to move along in their recovery.

Why Is Detox The First Step In Recovery?

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The Importance of Detox

Detox is the management of withdrawal symptoms of substance addiction. It is the process of ridding the body of harmful substances so that treatment can begin with a clear, sober mind.

Addictive substances like drugs and alcohol cause the brain to expect the sensations that come along with using such substances. When that ceases, the brain and the body go into a form of shock and now have to readjust to functioning without the substance.

This adjustment leads to painful and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, but detox can treat those symptoms and make the process a lot more bearable. Plus, detox leads the way to a smooth transition into the rest of the treatment. 

Without detox, the road to recovery becomes a lot harder.

5 Reasons Detox Is Necessary

#1. Detox treats the toll withdrawal takes on the body.

When someone stops taking a drug they are addicted to, the body begins to show withdrawal symptoms within hours of ceasing use. Those symptoms can be mild to severe and even fatal.

There is no way for someone to know how their body will react to withdrawal, so entering that state without the medical supervision and intervention of professional detox puts your life in danger.

Some symptoms of withdrawal are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue and insomnia
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

If these symptoms occur without medical staff nearby, the effects could be detrimental. Submitting to detox means your symptoms are cared for and treated with medications that ease the symptoms and keep you safe and healthy.

#2. Treatment won’t work without detox.

Without detoxing from the substance, treatment cannot continue. When you have a mind-altering drug in your system, you are under the influence and therefore are not in the right state of mind to make care decisions or be involved in your treatment plan.

Detox and treatment include assessments by a medical professional both before and after detox. If you don’t detox, the post-assessment to determine your continuum of care is moot.

Although detox is not a cure for addiction, it is the first step to the rest of the recovery process. Without it, you are never sober, and recovery can’t occur.

#3. Detox prepares you for treatment.

Detox’s primary focus is safely ridding the body of any substances, but that isn’t all it entails. Detox treats the physical symptoms of withdrawal, but it also begins the psychological treatment.

Depending on how you react to detox, you may be going to therapy, meetings, and participating in other activities to prepare you for further recovery at a drug rehab. This stage of recovery introduces you to what’s to come.

#4. You are more likely to continue treatment after detox.

Whether detox is voluntary or not, it clears your mind. While under the influence, you may not want treatment. Your mind is absorbed with using and getting high, so health and stability are not priorities at that time. 

Someone who hasn’t detoxed is more likely to give up on treatment than someone who has successfully come out of detox and is ready for further treatment.

Someone who may have had misgivings or hesitations about recovery prior to detox is likely to see things differently once they’re sober. 

#5. Detox leads to a diagnosis of co-occurring disorders.

Diagnosing someone while they are using drugs or alcohol is not advised or possible. Most treatment centers require detox for this reason. A doctor cannot assess your mental status without you being free from substances that alter your behavior. 

This is a critical part of recovery because treating an underlying condition can help lead to recovery. Addiction is often caused by co-occurring disorders like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression. Being able to treat these issues can make facing your addiction and continuing in recovery a much easier process.

Detox Is A Necessary Part Of Addiction Recovery

This process of ridding your body of drugs and alcohol while under medical supervision sets you up to achieve your goals throughout the rest of your recovery. Detox is the first step of your treatment plan and is necessary for you to clearly move on to the next steps. Not only does this process ensure you are safe and as comfortable as possible during withdrawal, but it promotes a positive mindset, motivating you to keep moving forward.

Detox offers treatment for both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms so you can begin facing the cause of your addiction and other aspects of treatment to come later. It’s why finding the right detox center is so important. is a great source of information about effective detox centers near you. With thousands of listings at your fingertips, finding a detox center near you has never been easier. Start your search today with!

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