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Holistic Detox

Medically Reviewed Fact Checked
Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Cleaning the inside of the body is more important than one may think. Holistic detox is beneficial in all processes of recovery and healing.

We are exposed to an enormous quantity of toxins from our environment. Our air, our water, our food, fuels, solvents, drugs, heavy metals, hygiene products, dry cleaning, plastics, building materials for our homes and furniture, and almost everything in our life is contaminated with a chemical poison with which our body must contend.

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Holistic Detox

We can differentiate between what is casually referred to as “detoxing” (a short stay in a clinic to abstain and dry out after drug or alcohol intemperance) and holistic detox — a more comprehensive umbrella term with more far-reaching health goals. Holistic detox at Alternative to Meds Center aims to gently purge accumulations of toxins from the body and replace vital nutrients and micronutrients that have been stripped away, to restore balance to the body and mind and begin the path to recovery. Lab-testing provides a window of clarity that informs the treatments that can be used in holistic drug detox, including sauna, colon hydrotherapy, nebulized glutathione treatments, environmental medicine, orthomolecular medicine, IV treatments, and many others. This full spectrum that combines holistic detoxification and alternative medicine can be expected to take 60 days or more to complete.

Learn more about the dangers of toxin exposure, prescription drugs, and addictive substances below, then discover how holistic drug detox can help you begin healing and recovery.

The Problem With Prescription Drugs

Illicit drug and alcohol use continues to pose a serious toxicity issue for many Americans — over 14.8 million people1 admitted to experiencing alcohol use disorder and 39 million people admitted to using illicit drugs within the past year. However, when it comes to the number of people who admit to abusing or misusing prescription drugs within the past year, the figure skyrockets to 58.8 million people.

Fatty TissuePhysicians, psychiatrists, and other health care practitioners prescribe medications in an effort to help us improve some aspect of our physical or mental health — as a result, most people believe they are inherently safe, effective ways to restore health. However, prescription drugs — like illicit drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other common toxins — can accumulate in the adipose (fatty) tissues of the body over time, causing harmful side effects, additional health issues, and even advanced drug toxicity. Food sources of toxic elements are also a primary route of human exposure.2 Worse, many prescription drugs are highly addictive.

While many people begin taking prescription drugs to improve their health or quality of life in some way, the belief that prescriptions are safe, coupled with the positive effects of the drug itself, can lead to accidental dependence over time. Other prescription drugs have well-known euphoric side effects and can produce a “high” that many people seek for illicit, recreational benefits. In either case, simply because doctors prescribe a medication does not make it safe — in fact, in the CDC’s recent study3 of overdose death data through 2016, seven of the top 10 causes of overdose deaths were prescription drugs (fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, alprazolam, and diazepam).

What Happens When the Body Is Exposed to Toxins?

Toxin exposure commonly causes multiple short-term and long-term effects.4 The harmful effects of toxic exposure are not limited to alcohol use, prescription or other drug use. Exposure to mercury, cadmium, lead, chemicals in cleaning products, and even processed food can cause multiple short-term and long-term effects. Effects tend to increase over time, as many toxins are fat-soluble, meaning they build up and stabilize in fat cells and increase the body’s chemical burden over a lifetime. Unfortunately, just as it is difficult for people to rid their bodies of excess fatty tissue, it is challenging for the body’s natural filtration system — the liver and kidneys — to remove toxic chemicals. Safe chelation and biotransformative administrations combined with sauna and exercise can assist because these methods of elimination bypass the liver & kidneys, reducing the burden on these vital organs.

Exposure to toxins, including alcohol and prescription drugs, can interfere with the body’s natural processes.12-22 Toxic effects and damage can include the following:


Certain toxins, like those added to commercial cigarettes, pesticides and many other environmental toxins, and anabolic steroids, can cause cell death and cell regeneration issues that can lead to cancer.

Cardiovascular Effects

Many toxins, including prescription stimulants, methamphetamines, and more, can cause cardiovascular irregularities that increase the chances of vascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Respiratory Issues

Inhaled toxins and prescription opioids can lead to shallow breathing, slowed breathing, reduced oxygen, and lung damage.

Bone and Muscle Effects

When toxins replace the natural chemicals necessary to support proper bone and muscle growth, muscular and skeletal fragility and weakness can occur.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Exposure to many toxins, including prescription opioids, can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, gastric reflux, and constipation.

Kidney and Liver Damage

Over time, the use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs — especially when taken together — can cause toxicity, increases in body temperature, muscular breakdown, and dehydration that can overwork or damage the liver and kidneys.

Hormonal Issues

Many prescription and illicit drugs access the same pain and pleasure receptors as essential hormones in the body. In turn, hormone imbalances may increase the chances of continued addiction and relapse.5

Neurological Effects

The same interaction with the brain’s pain and pleasure receptors can cause toxic effects on individual neurons, reducing their ability to function normally. Addiction can inhibit cognition, memory, stress response, impulse control, and more. Worse, toxins in prescription drugs, illicit drugs, and alcohol can cause damage that leads to stroke, seizure, and early cell death.

What Is Medication Detoxification?

In a traditional sense, this typically means abrupt or rapid discontinuation of alcohol or medications such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, heroin, prescription barbiturates, and prescription opioids that require a hospital level of support. Abrupt discontinuation of medication can result in a shock to the neuroreceptors that have come to depend on a substance to function and can lead to seizure, stroke, or death.22

holistic detox at alternative to meds centerFor certain medications, especially benzos, we find these rapid detox methods to be at times damaging to the patient. Our methods involve a slow and gradual reduction that does not involve acute withdrawal. Safe cessation gently and gradually eliminates the use of prescription drugs, whether prescribed or not, to avoid or mitigate the health issues listed above. As mentioned, methods of holistic detoxing from prescription drugs aid the body to rid itself of harmful toxins. Holistic prescription medication detoxification follows a gradual tapering process to safely reduce or eliminate prescription drug use along with gentle, deep cleansing to eliminate toxic residues. Nutritional and alternative therapies are provided to address symptoms so the drugs are no longer required for improved natural mental health.

We recommend safe, holistic detoxing from prescription drugs in a professional setting, under the observation of trained medical professionals. Certified staff can help you eliminate toxins from your body in a controlled manner that minimizes withdrawal symptoms, which reduces the likelihood of relapse. Careful monitoring of the vital signs, as well as closely monitoring overall physical and mental health, ensures that no aspect of your health is at risk.

What Is Holistic Drug Detox?

The process of holistic detoxification is the first step toward eliminating your dependence on prescription medications and other addictive substances. However, it is important to remember that this addiction is both physical and psychological in nature, and we believe an effective holistic detox process should provide a balance between the two. As a result, holistic drug detox focuses on the whole person — the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual components that make you, you.

Detox PlanAs a part of a larger, more comprehensive, addiction treatment program, much of our holistic detox is rooted in science-backed, evidence-based services while also providing a more integrated approach to whole-body health that only alternative medicine can offer. For example, many holistic detox programs include the use of traditional practices like acupuncture, massage, and meditation. At times, acute detoxing from illicit and prescription drugs or alcohol may require a temporary visit to an acute care facility for the administration of select, essential medications for safety and standard medical protocols. If needed, we provide referrals to these acute care facilities. However, the ultimate goal of holistic drug detox is to halt or at least significantly reduce all prescription medications and achieve improved natural mental health.

What to Expect From Holistic Detox at Alternative to Meds Center

At Alternative to Meds Center, we firmly believe in the benefits of addressing the whole person during the prescription drug holistic detoxification process. To reduce and remove the toxic burden these substances can cause on your body and brain, it is important to begin with a series of lab tests designed to give our practitioners a comprehensive picture of the toxins affecting your life as well as your unique biochemical makeup. In addition, we will assess any present physical, neurological, and mental health issues that may manifest along with substance dependence, including depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, malnutrition, and more.

Based on your lab and examination results, we will build a personalized, comprehensive holistic detoxification program for you.

At Alternative to Meds Center, holistic detox may include:
  • Medication tapering – the practice of slowly reducing the body’s exposure to prescription medications.
  • Acupuncture – a traditional Chinese practice involving thin needles inserted into key points of the body, that may stimulate the central nervous system,6 release chemicals, and promote the body’s natural detoxification and healing responses.
  • Massage therapy – when utilized along with other detoxification procedures, massage may help promote circulation, increase oxygenation, and restore organ health. In addition, massage offers numerous relaxation and mental health benefits.
  • Sauna therapy and ionic footbaths – similar to massage, sauna and ionic therapies provide relaxation and may improve mental health outcomes while acting as a part of a comprehensive detoxification program.
  • Exercise – maintaining a healthy metabolism is key to ridding the body of toxins. Our goal is to promote exercise that optimizes your holistic detox and speeds the process as much as possible.
  • Nutrition – our center is proud to feature nutrition experts who are well-versed in a balanced diet free of foods and additives that increase the body’s toxic burden.
  • Nutrients and enzymes – additional nutrients, like glutathione,7 can be nebulized in mist form to aid the detoxification process directly from your bloodstream. We also focus on key conjugation enzymes8 that help convert the remaining drug toxins in your system into a form your body can easily dispose of on its own.
  • Other therapies – we are proud to offer counseling in various genres, including meditation, yoga, art therapy, and equine therapy. Additionally, colon hydrotherapy, extensive spa services, and many other therapeutics are provided to help ease your transition to a medication-free life.

nebulized glutathione for detoxWhile Alternative to Meds Center’s trained and certified medical staff will be at your side throughout the entire process, it is critical to understand that holistic detox is only the first step in the recovery process. Our goal is to help you remove the toxic substances that have hampered your mind, your body, and your spirit for so long, readying you for the next step in your recovery. As such, even holistic detox cannot substitute for broad-ranging holistic addiction treatment.

Fortunately, our comprehensive treatment services are designed to integrate holistic detox, holistic substance abuse and medication dependence treatment, and ongoing recovery treatment options. When you choose an integrated, holistic approach from Alternative to Meds Center, you can seamlessly move through all stages of the treatment process toward long-term recovery.

Real People, Real Recovery

Over the years, our Sedona, Arizona, holistic treatment center has helped thousands of people achieve lasting recovery from dependence on prescription drugs. Here are just a few testimonies from real people who have experienced Alternative to Meds Center’s holistic detox program:

    • I worked the program and did everything. We went to the Detox Shoppe every day from 9 am to 1 pm. I really worked the sauna program to help get rid of all the toxins. The spa had various treatments and I did them all …
    • I tapered off ALL of my medications. I went home without any anti-depressants, opiates, or benzos. I’m happier than I have ever been in my life, I am confident and looking forward to a clean and sober life. I will forever be grateful for my family at ATMC. I will never forget this journey.” — Holistic Medication Detox Success
    • I am proud of my accomplishments here at Alternative to Meds Center. I have learned more than I could ever have imagined in eight weeks. I’m thankful for all the staff; they made the taper and detox process run smoothly.
    • When I got here, I was sleeping fifteen (or more) hours every day. Also, I just didn’t feel good. Coming off my psych meds, Klonopin and Zyprexa, I really felt the cloud in my brain clear.” — Zyprexa and Klonopin Success
    • After I first arrived at ATMC, aside from being afflicted with lupus, I was also going through severe methadone and benzodiazepine withdrawals. Through the taper program, supplemental, therapeutic, and nutritional options offered, I completed my detoxification with minimal discomfort and little pain. The ATMC staff was incredibly accommodating, always available, and always willing to give me answers to any questions that I had.” — Benzodiazepine & Methadone Success

Seek the Help You Deserve

If you are experiencing drug toxicity, medication dependence, or addiction to prescription medications, there’s no better time than now to take that first step. Eliminate the overwhelming toxic burden on your body by seeking holistic detox at Alternative to Meds Center, then continue the holistic recovery process to achieve a new life free of prescription medications. For more information on the benefits of holistic detox or any of our holistic treatment programs, contact us today at Alternative to Meds Center to speak with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable professionals.

We are always happy to assist families and individuals who are gathering information in preparation for selecting the right holistic detox program. We are here to help during your decision-making process.

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3. Ernst D RPh, CDC: Top 10 Drugs Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths, MPR Publications, 2018 Dec 12, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

4. Health Consequences of Drug Misuse,, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

5. Women’s hormones play role in drug addiction, higher relapse rates, Science Daily, Vanderbilt University, 2019 Feb 8, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

6. Gupta M, Gokarakonda S B, Attia F N, Withdrawal Syndromes, NCBI, 2021 Jul 31, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

7. What is acupuncture?, Johns Hopkins Medicine, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

8. Galan N RN, What are the benefits of glutathione?, Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, Pharm.D., 2018 Dec 10, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

9. Hodges R E, Minich D M, Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application, NCBI, 2015 Jun 16, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

10. Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report, National Institute on Drug Abuse, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

11. Lesser B, How to Detox from Prescription Drugs,, Last Updated May 15, 2021, [cited 2021 Aug 20]

12. Salerno M, Cascio O, Bertozzi G, et al. Anabolic androgenic steroids and carcinogenicity focusing on Leydig cell: a literature review. Oncotarget. 2018;9(27):19415-19426. Published 2018 Apr 10. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.24767 [cited 2021 Nov 9]

13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US); Office on Smoking and Health (US). How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2010. 5, Cancer. [cited 2021 Nov 8]

14. Sinha A, Lewis O, Kumar R, Yeruva SL, Curry BH. Adult ADHD Medications and Their Cardiovascular Implications. Case Rep Cardiol. 2016;2016:2343691. doi:10.1155/2016/2343691 [cited 2021 Nov 9]

15. Wong J, Magun BE, Wood LJ. Lung inflammation caused by inhaled toxicants: a review. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2016;11:1391-1401. Published 2016 Jun 23. doi:10.2147/COPD.S106009 [cited 2021 Nov 9]

16. Bohannon AD, Lyles KW. Drug-induced bone disease. Clin Geriatr Med. 1994 Nov;10(4):611-23. PMID: 7850693.[cited 2021 Nov 9]

17. Philpott HL, Nandurkar S, Lubel J, Gibson PR. Drug-induced gastrointestinal disordersFrontline Gastroenterol. 2014;5(1):49-57. doi:10.1136/flgastro-2013-100316 [cited 2021 Nov 9]

18. Bergstrom RF, Beasley CM Jr, Levy NB, Blumenfield M, Lemberger L. The effects of renal and hepatic disease on the pharmacokinetics, renal tolerance, and risk-benefit profile of fluoxetine. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1993 Winter;8(4):261-6. doi: 10.1097/00004850-199300840-00009. PMID: 8277145. [cited 2021 Nov 9]

19. Ma RC, Kong AP, Chan N, Tong PC, Chan JC. Drug-induced endocrine and metabolic disorders. Drug Saf. 2007;30(3):215-45. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200730030-00005. PMID: 17343430.[cited 2021 Nov 9]

20. Lane RJ, Routledge PA. Drug-induced neurological disorders. Drugs. 1983 Aug;26(2):124-47. doi: 10.2165/00003495-198326020-00002. PMID: 6349966. [cited 2021 Nov 9]

21. Beshir SA, Chee KH, Lo YL. Factors associated with abrupt discontinuation of dabigatran therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation in Malaysia. Int J Clin Pharm. 2016 Oct;38(5):1182-90. doi: 10.1007/s11096-016-0350-1. Epub 2016 Jul 23. PMID: 27450507. [cited 2021 Nov 9]

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Originally Published Sep 13, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus and updated November 9, 2021.

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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