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Detoxify

Published: December 19, 2013
Dear TeenHealthFX,
What does detoxify mean?
Signed: Detoxify

Dear Detoxify,

 

Detoxify generally can be explained in two different ways. Since TeenHealthFX is not sure which meaning you want, both will be outlined.

When people think of detoxification they generally think of someone who is hooked on drugs or alcohol. A person who has become physically dependent in drugs or alcohol needs to be medically weaned from these substances or they will suffer significant physical distress or in some cases death. Sometimes a doctor will have to use other medications to prevent the individual from going into seizures. This is especially true of someone who has become dependent on alcohol or barbiturates. The primary goal of detoxification is to safely rid the person's body of drugs and alcohol. Someone under going detoxification, which normally lasts a week, usually stays in a specialized residential treatment program or a separate unit within a general or psychiatric hospital.

 

It is important to remember that recovery from drugs and alcohol is a long process. Detoxification is just one of the first steps. For a person to remain clean they need to commit to a treatment program that will teach them the tools to remain sober. A person who tries to go it alone frequently will fail and return to their former level of addiction.

 

Detoxification can also be described as the normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. Internal detoxification is one of our body's most basic automatic functions. Just as our hearts beat nonstop and our lungs breathe continuously our metabolic system continuously disposes of accumulated toxic matter.

 

There is a belief among practitioners of alternative medicine that our bodies can handle only so many toxins and was built for "natural" toxins and not the man made ones that are in our environment today. They advocate the use of supplements, or dietary changes to help the body rid itself of these pollutants. While some of these supplements may be helpful, there can be significant harmful side effects.

 

TeenHealthFX recommends that you consult with your doctor before you take any supplements or radically change your diet. If you live in northern New Jersey you could also call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973.889.6350 to make an appointment to meet with a doctor.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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