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Title: Detoxification  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Purification Rundown, Narconon, Glyoxalase system, Second Chance Program, Detoxification (alternative medicine)
Collection: Detoxification
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Detoxification or detoxication (detox for short)[1] is the homeostasis after long-term use of an addictive substance.[2][3] In medicine, detoxification can be achieved by decontamination of poison ingestion and the use of antidotes as well as techniques such as dialysis and (in a limited number of cases) chelation therapy.[4]

Many alternative medicine practitioners promote various types of detoxification such as detoxification diets. Scientists have described these as a "waste of time and money".[5][6] Sense About Science, a UK-based charitable trust determined that most such dietary "detox" claims lack any supporting evidence.[7][8]


  • Types of detoxification 1
    • Alcohol detoxification 1.1
    • Drug detoxification 1.2
    • Metabolic detoxification 1.3
    • Alternative medicine 1.4
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Types of detoxification

Alcohol detoxification

Alcohol detoxification is a process by which a heavy drinker's system is brought back to normal. After being used to having alcohol in the body continuously for an extended period of substance abuse. Serious alcohol addiction results in a downregulation of GABA neurotransmitter receptors. Precipitous withdrawal from long-term alcohol addiction without medical management can cause severe health problems and can be fatal. Alcohol detox is not a treatment for alcoholism. After detoxification, other treatments must be undergone to deal with the underlying addiction that caused the alcohol use.

Drug detoxification

Clinicians use drug detoxification to reduce or relieve withdrawal symptoms while helping an addicted individual adjust to living without drug use; drug detoxification does not aim to treat addiction but rather represents an early step within long-term treatment. Detoxification may be achieved drug-free or may use medications as an aspect of treatment. Often drug detoxification and treatment will occur in a community program that lasts several months and takes place in a residential setting rather than in a medical center.

Drug detoxification varies depending on the location of treatment, but most detox centers provide treatment to avoid the symptoms of physical withdrawal from alcohol and from other drugs. Most also incorporate counseling and therapy during detox to help with the consequences of withdrawal.

Metabolic detoxification

An animal's [10][11][12][13] Enzymes that are important in detoxification metabolism include cytochrome P450 oxidases,[14] UDP-glucuronosyltransferases,[15] and glutathione S-transferases.[16] These processes are particularly well-studied as part of drug metabolism, as they influence the pharmacokinetics of a drug in the body.[17][18][19]

Alternative medicine

Certain approaches in alternative medicine claim to remove "toxins" from the body through herbal, electrical or electromagnetic treatments. These toxins are undefined and have no scientific basis,[6] making the validity of such techniques questionable. There is little evidence for toxic accumulation in these cases,[6] as the liver and kidneys automatically detoxify and excrete many toxic materials including metabolic wastes. Under this theory if toxins are too rapidly released without being safely eliminated (such as metabolizing fat that stores toxins) they can damage the body and cause malaise. Therapies include contrast showers, detoxification foot pads, oil pulling, Gerson therapy, snake-stones, body cleansing, Scientology's Purification Rundown, water fasting, and metabolic therapy.[20]

See also


  1. ^ "detoxification - definition of detoxification by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  2. ^ "detoxify - definition of detoxify in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  3. ^ "Toxicology Primer". UIC. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  4. ^ "Get the Lead Out - Autumn 2009 Living Bird". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  5. ^ "Scientists dismiss detox schemes".  
  6. ^ a b c Mayo Clinic Website
  7. ^ Scientists dismiss detox schemes
  8. ^ No proof so-called detox products work: scientists
  9. ^
  10. ^ xenobiotic metabolic process (2013-04-13). "AmiGO: xenobiotic metabolic process Details". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  11. ^ [1] (archived version).
  12. ^ "Metabolism of Xenobiotics". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  13. ^ [2] (archived version).
  14. ^ Danielson P (2002). "The cytochrome P450 superfamily: biochemistry, evolution and drug metabolism in humans". Curr Drug Metab 3 (6): 561–97.  
  15. ^ King C, Rios G, Green M, Tephly T (2000). "UDP-glucuronosyltransferases". Curr Drug Metab 1 (2): 143–61.  
  16. ^ Sheehan D, Meade G, Foley V, Dowd C (2001). "Structure, function and evolution of glutathione transferases: implications for classification of non-mammalian members of an ancient enzyme superfamily". Biochem J 360 (Pt 1): 1–16.  
  17. ^ "Small Molecule Drug Metabolism". 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  18. ^ "Comparison of the Levels of Enzymes Involved in Drug Metabolism between Transgenic or Gene-knockout and the Parental Mice". 2001-01-01. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  19. ^ D M Dulik and C Fenselau (1988-04-01). "Use of immobilized enzymes in drug metabolism studies". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  20. ^ Metabolic Therapy

External links

  • Drug Rehabilitation at DMOZ
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