Detoxing is the process of removing toxic chemicals from the body or waiting for them to exit.

What is Detoxing?
Detoxing generally refers to the period during which someone who has a chemical addiction goes through chemical withdrawal. During this period, the addictive substance is still exiting the addicted person’s body.

Detoxing can also refer to measures people take to remove other substances from their body and improve their health. For example, many people attempt to detox from unhealthy foods such as candy, sugar, and fast food by going on juice fasts or engaging in other forms of cleansing. Some people report that they feel much healthier after a period of detox.

How is Detox Done?
Depending upon the type and severity of addiction, detox may be simply a process of waiting or may require medical care. Heroin addicts, for example, frequently become extremely ill when they stop using heroin and may require intravenous fluids, monitoring, and medical care to prevent long-term illness. Conversely, nicotine withdrawal can have unpleasant physical symptoms but does not require medical care.

Detox to remove unhealthy foods and substances is done in a variety of ways, some of which are safer than others. Fasting, the use of herbal supplements, ingesting certain foods, and drinking large quantities of water may all be ways to detox. Some people use enemas or laxatives to speed up the process of detox, and this can pose some health risks, particularly if done to excess or without competent medical supervision.

What are the Effects of Detoxing?
People who detox to remove unhealthy foods or chemicals argue that these items can function like drugs, and that once they are removed from the body, they no longer crave sugars and similar items. People addicted to drugs and/or alcohol typically feel fewer symptoms of chemical withdrawal after a period of detox, but may continue to experience psychological cravings for weeks, months, or even years.


  1. Column, K. M. (n.d.). Body detox diet myths. WebMD. Retrieved from
  2. Treating opiate addiction, part I: Detoxification and maintenance. (n.d.). Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-5-2015

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  • Chantelle

    September 5th, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    hi my name is Chantelle seeking help for my 20 year old daughter who needs help for her drug addiction

  • The Team

    September 5th, 2016 at 9:02 PM

    Thank you for your comment, Chantelle. If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here:

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