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Detoxification or detoxication (detox) is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver. 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.

Types of Detoxification

1. Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol detoxing is a method through which a heavy drinker's system is brought returned to regular after being habituated to having alcohol within the frame continuously for an extended duration of substance abuse. Serious alcohol addiction results in a downregulation of GABA neurotransmitter receptors. Precipitous withdrawal from lengthy-time period alcohol addiction without clinical management can purpose intense fitness troubles and can be fatal. Alcohol detox isn't always a treatment for alcoholism. After cleansing, other treatments have to be gone through to deal with the underlying addiction that triggered the alcohol use.

2. Drug Detoxification

Clinicians use drug detoxing to lessen or relieve withdrawal signs and symptoms while supporting an addicted individual adjust to living with out drug use; drug cleansing does not aim to deal with addiction however as an alternative represents an early step within long-term treatment. Detoxing can be performed drug-free or may additionally use medicines as an factor of remedy. Frequent drug detoxing and remedy will arise in a network application that lasts numerous months and takes vicinity in a residential placing as opposed to in a medical center.
Drug detoxification varies depending on the place of treatment, however maximum detox facilities offer remedy to keep away from the signs of physical withdrawal from alcohol and from different capsules. Most additionally contain counseling and remedy in the course of detox to help with the consequences of withdrawal.

Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol detoxing, or detox, for people with alcohol dependence, is the abrupt cessation of alcohol intake, a system often coupled with substitution of pass-tolerant capsules which have results similar to the consequences of alcohol with the intention to prevent alcohol withdrawal.

Medicines/Drugs used in Treatment


Benzodiazepines such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) or oxazepam (Serax) are the most commonly used drugs used to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms. There are several treatment patterns in which it is used.

  1. The first option takes into consideration the varying degrees of tolerance. In it, a standard dose of the benzodiazepine is given every half-hour until light sedation is reached. Once a baseline dose is determined, the medication is tapered over the ensuing 3–10 days.
  2. Another option is to give a standard dose of benzodiazepine based on history and adjust based on withdrawal phenomenon.
  3. A third option is to defer treatment until symptoms occur. This method should not be used in patients with prior, alcohol-related seizures. This has been effective in randomized controlled trials. A non-randomized, before and after, observational study found that symptom triggered therapy was advantageous.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment for alcohol withdrawal. Over 20,000 cases of the alcoholic withdrawal state have been successfully treated with psychotropic analgesic nitrous oxide (PAN) in South Africa and Finland. In 1992 it was officially approved for the treatment of addictive withdrawal states by the medical authorities in South Africa. Consequently, patients receiving it can claim a refund from their medical insurance. The gas therapy reduces the use of highly addictive sedative medications (like benzopdiazepines and barbiturates) by over 90%. The technique thus reduces the danger of secondary addiction to benzodiazepines, which can be a real problem amongst alcoholics who have been treated with these agents.

Other drugs

Various vitamins, especially from the B group, are often used during alcohol withdrawal treatment.

Sodium oxybate is the sodium salt of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). It is used for both acute alcohol withdrawal and medium to long-term detoxification. This drug enhances GABA neurotransmission and reduces glutamate levels. It is used in Italy in small amounts under the trade name Alcover.

Baclofen has been shown in animal studies and in small human studies to enhance detoxification. This drug acts as a GABA B receptor agonist and this may be beneficial.

Drug Detoxification

Drug detoxification (informally, detox) is variously the intervention in a case of physical dependence to a drug; the process and experience of a withdrawal syndrome; and any of various treatments for acute drug overdose. A detoxification program for physical dependence does not necessarily address the precedents of addiction, social factors, psychological addiction, or the often-complex behavioral issues that intermingle with addiction.

Three steps are acknowledge in a drug detoxification process:

  1. Evaluation: Upon beginning drug detoxification, a patient is first tested to see which specific substances are presently circulating in their bloodstream and the amount. Clinicians also evaluate the patient for potential co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis, and mental/behavioral issues.
  2. Stabilization: In this stage, the patient is guided through the process of detoxification. This may be done with or without the use of medications but for the most part the former is more common. Also part of stabilization is explaining to the patient what to expect during treatment and the recovery process. Where appropriate, people close to the addict are brought in at this time to become involved and show support.
  3. Guiding Patient into Treatment:The last step of the detoxification process is to ready the patient for the actual recovery process. As drug detoxification only deals with the physical dependency and addiction to drugs, it does not address the psychological aspects of drug addiction. This stage entails obtaining agreement from the patient to complete the process by enrolling in a drug rehabilitation program.

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