What Happens When You Detox Your Body

For you to recover from alcohol and substance use disorder, you will first have to get rid of the physical dependence your body has on whatever substance you are using. This is done through detox, which can sometimes be very painful and stressful for most patients. Once you deny your body of the substance it had gotten used to, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms kick in. Knowing what happens in detox can help in making the journey to recovery bearable. Depending on the specific substance a patient is trying to off of, there are different detox programs. A substance use disorder treatment center will be in the best position to advise on what to use to detox your body. However, the detox process for alcohol is not as intense as it is for other substances such as opioids.

What happens when you detox?

Abusing substances for a period of time leads to the body adapting to their presence in your system. This is known as becoming physically dependent on the substance. For example, using opioids to create euphoria can make the brain stop producing dopamine, which is responsible for the same effects.

Once you develop a physical dependence on any substance, detox results in a sudden absence of the substance in your system and this can result in withdrawal symptoms. Once you stop using opioids, the brain will have low dopamine levels and you are likely to experience anxiety and depression.

Withdrawal symptoms will depend on the type of substance being abused. Some substances will only have psychological withdrawal symptoms while others will produce both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can last a few days or several weeks. Some, especially psychological withdrawal symptoms, even extend for months. Some of the most common physical substance withdrawal symptoms include;

  • Tremors
  • Muscle tension and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Dehydration
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Seizures

Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms, patients are likely to experience during detox are;

Some withdrawal symptoms such as increased blood pressure can end up in fatalities. That is why it is important to detox in a treatment center where you can get access to medical care and supervision. It is also important to maintain a healthy diet during the detox process. Your physician will advise on what to eat during the detox. 

The question most people ask is, does detox work? The answer is that it does. Do not be swayed by the negative statistics from home detox done using over-the-counter detox kits. Not only do they not work, but they are also dangerous. We offer personalized, comprehensive detox programs that will set you on the right path to substance use disorder recovery.

Does detox clean your system?

Yes, but it is only the first step to recovery and soberness. You will need more than detox to treat your substance addiction problem. You might need counseling and therapy to treat underlying mental health issues that contribute to the addiction.

Are you or your loved suffering from addiction?

Addiction can hurt everyone you love. Searching for treatment can be overwhelming

If you’re worried about privacy, your call is confidential. If you’re worried about being pressured to make a commitment, you don’t have to do anything until you’re ready.We will help you heal at your pace and on your terms. We’ll help you build a sober, healthy life.

Do you have questions or concerns? Our intake coordinators will answer them. Day or night, wherever you are, we’ll do our best to help. You deserve it.


  • womenshealth.gov- Alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, and addiction
  • clinicaltrials.gov – Tramadol to Reduce Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
  • samhsa.gov – Substance Use Disorder Treatment ADVISOR
  • youth.gov – Co-occurring Disorders

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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