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Unveiling 8 Drugs Detox Myths

Detox is a dual internal and external process that involves facing the obstacles you must overcome and the prejudices and myths that conventionally surround the process. Among these myths, detoxification myths are widespread and very confusing. They also pave the way for people to heal with shades and doubts. 

7 Minute Read | Published Apr 12 2024 | Updated Apr 12 2024 Expert Verified
Dameisha Gibson
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Dameisha Gibson
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This article takes us into the realm of myths that hold back progress, like the myth that detox is a one-shot solution or the belief that jumping the shark is the only way to get things done. By exposing these myths and emphasizing the importance of a totalistic approach in detox, individuals can improve their chances of success regarding recovery. Detox is only a primary step; recovery must be continuously supported by care, self-care, and overall wellness.

Myth No. 1: Detox is a One-Time Fix

One of the widespread beliefs about detox is that cleaning out a person's body is a single task. It can be a person's one-time effort to "purify" the weaknesses and sick parts of the body and mind. However, the simplified approach of this view cannot look at all the complexities of addiction and the multifaceted aspects of detoxification. Undeniably, recovery takes sustained effort and devotion; thus, detox is part of the entire road to recovery.


In practice, the detox is just the first of many steps on the road to recovery, as contrary to popular opinion, it does not signify the end of the recovery path. However, detox is just a preliminary step, and though it is significant, further assistance is needed to overcome this problem. The absence of a balanced treatment plan involving the evacuation of the essential causes of addiction and enrolling people into programs of long-term support and embracement of self-care increases the relapse risks.

Myth 2: Extreme Drug Detox is More Effective

A pervasive trend of trying some of the most aggressive methods, like rapid detox therapies and rigorous cleansing regimens, which are meant to get the body rid of toxins and stop the cycle of addiction, has been established. Nonetheless, this logic does not allow people to consider all the risks and dangers that can come to those who use this way to detox.


Holistic approaches for detoxification include activities that are safety-driven and physiologically acceptable. The use of extreme detox may promise a rapid result, but on the contrary, it might come with serious effects such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and emotional distress.

Myth 3: Cold Turkey Detox is The Best Approach

For many people, "Cold turkey," or the abrupt stopping of drug consumption, is a powerful metaphor for such a quick and determined action, pointing to the willpower and healing from addiction. This tactic may be considered commendable as it discloses its straightforwardness and determination. Others may perceive that stopping all at once will accelerate the elimination of chemicals from the body and get results faster.


Among the most widespread mistaken views is the belief that the best way to go through detoxification is to stop drug intake without medical care suddenly. The fact is that a lot of chemicals like alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines lead to severe withdrawal symptoms when they are stopped abruptly. 

Such symptoms can vary from a slight inconvenience to a severe life-threatening condition that depends on the substance and the dependent levels of an individual. Besides the physical risks, quitting "cold turkey" and not consulting a medical professional may also compromise your long-term success in rehabilitation. 

Myth 4: Detox Can Cure Addiction Completely

The belief that detoxification by itself can fully clear away addiction is a false impression that reveals a lack of knowledge of addiction’s nature. Most people think that the goal of the detoxification process is to eventually get rid of substances such as drugs and alcohol within the body. Then, an addicted person can start to live a drug-free life without any extra help. This belief denotes false expectations that are overly optimistic and understand the challenges of daily life after a successful quit.


The detox process is essential for drug rehab. Still, its primary role in drug addiction treatment is to deal with or solve the physical aspect of dependence by addressing and managing withdrawal symptoms. Despite that, abstaining from the drug is only a small part of the process for a successful recovery. The key here is that detoxification doesn’t help to get rid of the mental and emotional aspects of addiction. Such factors can include trauma, coexisting mental disorders, social and environmental triggers, as well as maladaptive ways of coping.

Myth 5: Natural Remedies Can Replace Medical Detox

There are many widespread legends, including the one that states that natural remedies are the solution to clinical detox. This is based on the desire for a "holistic", self-administrated, and non-invasive approach to detox to reach health and wellness. This widespread belief probably originated from the hesitation that some people could have for treating a substance abuse disorder with the use of other drugs.


In reality, the detoxification process may be more complicated than we imagine, especially for those with severe substance dependence or combined medical conditions. Although certain natural remedies provide extra support for liver function, reduce swelling, or make the withdrawal experience smoother, they are not the ultimate solution to the detoxification process, which needs to be done the right way to prevent any danger.

Myth 6: Detox Only Requires Willpower

The notion that a strong-minded individual is capable of detoxifying solely based on personal strong will and moral values is a common misunderstanding of the nature of addiction as a psychological disease. This myth claims that the main thing the individual should do to get rid of the addiction is to be firm and resolute, even if, on the biological and psychological level, there are mechanisms of slavery that some drugs can produce in the human body.


The fact that addiction is classified as a chronic, relapsing brain disease affecting the executive functions of the brain has brought a brand new dimension to discussions on the causes of addiction. Chronic drug abuse results in remarkable alterations in the brain's structure and operating code, interfering with decision-making, impulse control, and reward-handling areas. Consequently, this means that for people with addiction, it is extremely hard to overcome it as it always gets worse, even when they want to change.

Myth 7: Detoxing at Home is Safe and Effective

The belief that detoxing at home is a safe and effective approach is based on many different beliefs and desires, such as privacy, comfort, and freedom. For some individuals, detoxification might take place either in their usual surroundings or without the doctors' control, which at the moment might be perceived as harmful. Another reason for that wrong idea is a lack of comprehension of the possible threats and complications of detoxing without medical supervision.


Undertaking the detox procedures at home and without having the doctor around may have grave health implications, particularly for people with severe addiction as well as those who have underlying medical conditions. These substances are capable of causing quite intense physiological pains, and this is why individuals who want to opt out of the drug and alcohol usage should do it gradually. It is much advised to seek medical attention.

Myth 8: Relapse Means Detox Has Failed 

The belief that relapse displays the unsuccessful conclusion of detoxification originates from the incomprehension of the detoxification to complete and permanent sobriety. There is no linear progression involved in the recovery from addiction. People look at the relapse as a fact that the process was not practical or there was not enough willpower or commitment required to be sober.


The process of addiction recovery is not a simple and straight trajectory; instead, it involves vicissitudes with successes and failures. Relapses are among the most common challenges faced by patients trying to get over addiction; it happens to almost anyone who is trying to recover. A relapse can denote such a long-awaited chance to deem oneself a stronger person and recognize one's own triggers, weak sides, and areas to be healed. It is an educational moment exposing the multi-faceted nature of addiction, and instead of detoxification, ongoing treatment and management are necessary.


Detoxification is not a one-time solution, and for the patients, relapse should not be considered a marker of failure. Instead, it is a tool to increase their chances of success, offering them a more conscious recovery process. By realizing that treatment for drug addiction is a highly specialized process that includes psychological support, the patient can prepare for the detoxification phase with more down-to-earth intentions. When an exhaustive recovery program involves self-care and a setting that supports it, people can get over detoxification and get sober.


bullet Applied Ethics in Mental Health Care
"An Interdisciplinary Reader (Book, Page 212): myths About The Treatment of Addiction"
Retrieved on April 12, 2024
bullet Medical Toxicology (Book. Page 311)
"Detoxification of Drug and Substance Abuse"
Retrieved on April 12, 2024
bullet Oxford academic
"Does How You Quit Affect Success? A Comparison Between Abrupt and Gradual Methods Using Data from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Study"
Retrieved on April 12, 2024
bullet Springer
"New Findings on Biological Factors Predicting Addiction Relapse Vulnerability"
Retrieved on April 12, 2024

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