What is detox?
Detox has become so popular these days that you’ve probably seen it in the news and on social media. But what exactly does detox mean? How does detox work, what are the effects and is it safe?
The textbook definition of detox is that it is a regimen designed to remove toxins and other impurities from the body. Usually people who use detox are dealing with substance abuse, such as smoking, alcoholism and the like. However, you can also do it to get rid of toxins that have accumulated in your body.
When you detox, you are abstaining from toxic substances. You are forcibly stopping yourself from being exposed to toxins. If you are dealing with substance addiction, this can be quite a physically and mentally taxing process, but once you get over the initial hurdle, it becomes easier and easier.
In the case of substance abuse, once your body has rid itself of the harmful substances, you will be able to move on to the next stage of your rehabilitation. If you are now detoxing from accumulated environmental toxins, you will feel much better afterwards.
How does detox work?
In terms of detoxing from addictive substances, the way it works is that you forcibly deprive your body of the addictive substances until your body has naturally eliminated them from your system. Addiction happens when your body gets used to a substance and the “good” feeling it gives you.
When you detox, especially if you have been abusing substances for a while, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms include, but are not limited to
- uncontrollable shaking
- Increased heart rate
To put it bluntly, detoxing from addictive substances is not a pleasant experience. However, if you want to get better, you need to get through this phase of the process.
On the other hand, if you are detoxing to improve your health, you will still feel some discomfort. However, it will not be quite as difficult. Also, detoxing or juicing for health only takes a day or two at the most.
Do you need to detox?
If you are struggling with substance abuse, you should have a detox. The main reason is that it is a prerequisite for rehabilitation. On the other hand, the fact that you have already considered detox means that you have realised that you have a problem and that you are ready to work on getting better.
Now you can also decide to go on a detox fast or juice cleanse if you feel any of the following
- Tired easily
- Poor gut health
- Frequent mood swings
- Getting sick easily
Lack of physical and mental energy
If you find that you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you may want to try one of the many detox diets or juicing programmes available. Once you have cleansed the toxins from your system, why not consider making a healthy lifestyle change? This will ensure that the benefits of your recent fasting/juicing regime are not wasted.
Why do you need to detox?
Although your body automatically detoxifies through the kidneys, it can’t hurt to support it a little. You may not realise it, but your body is exposed to all kinds of pollutants. For example, if you drive to work every day, you are exposed to air pollution in the city. Also, if you don’t eat as healthy as you should, you take in toxins in very small amounts that accumulate over time.
If you feel tired and weak, your body may be loaded with more toxins than your kidneys can efficiently break down. A body that cannot detoxify itself naturally can damage the liver and kidneys. If left untreated, this can lead to many diseases, such as kidney failure, which in turn can lead to multiple organ failure. Regular detoxification can protect you from many diseases.
How long does a detox take?
How long your detox takes depends on the type of detox programme you choose. There are detox programmes that last two to three days and others that last a week or longer. When deciding on a detox programme, you should consider whether it suits you and how much time and money you can invest.
This is important because you will feel very weak during the detox. You will eat little or nothing. If you are doing a juice cleanse, you will not eat any solid food during the whole programme. This means that you will feel very weak during this time and will not be able to do much. So it would not be a good idea to detox on days when you have to work. You need to focus on the detox and be able to consciously deal with the new situation.
What can you expect during the detox?
As mentioned earlier, you will feel a little lethargic during detox, but this is not the only thing you will experience. Here are some of the effects that can occur during detox:
- Extreme hunger
- Skin blemishes (mild)
What should you keep in mind during a detox?
Listen to your body and take care of yourself. If you feel very unwell, you should seek professional advice and possibly stop the detox immediately. If the symptoms persist, you should see a doctor.
Will I lose weight after the detox?
Results vary from person to person, but in most cases you will lose some weight. However, the aim of a detox is to improve your health, not to lose weight quickly. You may gain weight back a few days after the detox.