Difference Between Detox and Withdrawals
Many people confuse the words “detox” and “withdrawal”. It is important to know the difference between detox and withdrawals when it comes to planning to end one’s alcohol or drug addiction or severe abuse.
Withdrawals are the process whereby the body is going through the transition of becoming used to not having a regular ingestion or infusion of a drug which has been given to the body on a regular and at least daily basis. This is a process that is uncomfortable but evolves in time to be the normal operating basis.
Detox or detoxification is a process whereby the body is cleansed of the toxins, in this case, drugs, from tissues in the body where it is being stored.
Most professionals do not even recognize that the body actually stores unwanted toxins in the different tissues so as to keep the blood stream clean of these deadly substances. You may have heard of people that are doing a “cleansing fast” where they are attempting to rid the body of unwanted chemicals that can be causing problems. You may have also heard that if you are going to fast to cleanse the body, that you have to be careful not to do it to fast or you may become ill from these chemicals spilling into your blood stream.
Our bodies work very hard to keep the integrity of is blood stream clean and pure supporting only the needed elements that enhance life. Certainly, alcohol and other drugs are not elements that are meant to be in our blood streams and are therefore alien substances and cause us problems. When people have toxins in their blood, they will feel flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, fever, chills, etc. On a long-term basis, toxin in our blood will cause damage to our vital organs like the liver, heart and brain.
Many times, people that have been on alcohol and other drugs think that if they go to a medical detox, then they will be back to where they were before their drug use within a couple of weeks. This isn’t the case. If you were to talk to people that have withdrawn from drugs, but haven’t detoxed the fat tissue of their bodies, you will find that they are suffering from fatigue, and a feeling of unease that is confusing and disruptive to their success.
This feeling is part of how addiction has been categorized as a “chronic (lasting forever) and progressive (getting worse in time) disease”.
Most harmful drugs, like opiates, methamphetamines or speed, cocaine, crack, marijuana and some of the metabolites of alcohol are fat soluble. When these drugs are in the fat tissue of the body, the body is continually trying to “detox” them back into the blood stream whereby the kidneys and liver can break these harmful chemical down into smaller molecules that can be execrated.
However, once these drugs are released back into the blood stream, two things happen. First you have opiates or whatever drug back in your blood which carries it throughout the body. As these drugs go to the brain, they “remind” the circuits that this the drug that served a purpose in releasing them from their perceived pain or discomfort. At that point, there is too little of this drug to actually cause that result, but there is enough to cause a cravings for more of the same.
Again, this is one of the reasons why addiction has been wrongly labeled a disease.
These toxins or drugs come out of the fat tissue when you are exercising or when adrenalin flows because of anger or other excitement. If a person isn’t aware of this process, they will think that they are just craving this drug again and many times they will become affected by those subtle cravings and visit their drug dealer for more of the same, without even knowing that their bodies are actually spilling these drugs back into the blood stream and that some of them will be metabolized and execrated from the body. The remainder will re-enter the fat tissue, leaving the body’s blood steam free of these toxins.
Biophysical rehab programs are the only programs that have a process whereby they actually get these drugs out of the fat tissue and out of the body. This process is what should be referred to as detox since it is a complete detoxifying of the effects of alcohol and other drugs from the body. Here is a link to a page by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that explains Medical Detox. Click Here
Call our counselors and they will explain how this powerful process is a major reason for drug cravings and relapse.