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Liver Detox: How it Works, What to Expect, & What You Need to Know

In the recovery process, the first step of treatment is detox. While detoxification breaks the body free from the physical dependence of substances, it also gives the body a chance to heal. A vital organ in this healing process is the liver. In this blog we will dive into how liver detox works and what to expect. 


How the Liver Works


According to the American Liver Foundation, the liver plays a primary function in detoxifying the body. Chemicals and toxins are filtered from the blood by the liver which breaks them down and excretes them. There are two phases of the liver detoxification process:

  • Phase I: Enzymes in the liver convert toxins into substances less harmful to the body. 
  • Phase II: Any toxins that remain are further processed by the liver until they become water-soluble. Once this occurs, they are eliminated by body through urine or bile. 
  • During the detox process at substance abuse treatment facilities, these natural processes are supported through medication and nutrition, allowing the liver to rid the body of toxins from drug and alcohol abuse. 


How Liver Detox is Managed


Detoxing the liver is an integral part of the substance abuse treatment process. Liver health is vital to the healthy functioning of the body and when an individual is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the liver takes a lot of damage due to the toxic effects of these substances. Liver detox management includes:

  • Medication: In a medically managed detox facility, certain medications can be given to aid in healthy liver functioning, speed up the elimination of toxins, and manage withdrawal symptoms to prevent relapse and further harm to the liver. 
  • Nutrition: A diet rich in nutrients will help repair liver damage, promote detoxification, and aid in the recovery process. Nutrition and moderate physical activity should be a part of every good detox plan. 
  • Supervised care: Due to the potential for medical complications, especially if there are any underlying health conditions, liver detox should always be done with the supervision of medical professionals. 


Liver Detox Process


  • Initial Assessment: An evaluation by medical professionals should be conducted before treatment. This will reveal the extent of the liver damage, aid in the putting together a treatment plan, and meet the needs of the individual. 
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: If deemed appropriate, medications may be given to aid in withdrawal management, help speed up liver recovery, and prevent future harm. 
  • Monitoring: Those undergoing liver detox should be closely monitored by medical staff to make sure they are healthy and not experiencing any complications. 
  • Follow-Up Care: Once the detox process is complete, follow-up care should be established. Liver damage is a result of substance abuse and continued support and therapy will provide accountability against continued substance abuse. 

If you feel that substance abuse has damaged your liver and could benefit from liver detox, call Holland Pathways today. The detox process is a comprehensive treatment of the mind and body. Understanding how this works and what to look for in a quality detox program will ensure health and long-term recovery.