Detox and Cleansing: The First Steps to Sobriety

Even though every journey to sobriety is personal and unique, everyone must begin with the same basic starting point: detoxification. Detox differs based on the drug of choice, how much of the drug is being abused and how often it’s being abused. Someone who is addicted to methamphetamines will have a different detox regimen than someone who is addicted to alcohol, for example. Even so, detox is the first step in ridding the body of harmful toxins and essentially creating a clean slate.

The River Source practices naturopathic detox, and many of our clients are curious to know what the difference is between the detoxification process and a natural cleanse. We’re here to sort fact from fiction and inform our readers of what goes on behind the doors of our naturopathic detox center.

Dr. Terranella, a naturopathic doctor at The RS, explains the difference between a detox and cleanse in the above video. Basically, he shares that “detox” is a medical term that refers to the elimination of toxins in the body. A person who is addicted to meth needs to remove these toxins from the body, while also eliminating other harmful toxins that have accumulated from leading an unhealthy lifestyle through smoking, drinking or eating unhealthy foods.


Detox can be done in many ways, and The River Source uses holistic therapies to make drug detox as effective and comfortable as possible. Infrared sauna detox works by sweating out harmful toxins in the body, while vitamin IV therapy replaces essential vitamins and nutrients that the body has lost. We also use a combination of herbs and nutrients that help the body’s natural detoxification processes, such as milk thistle and NAC.

Additional therapies used in the detox process include :

  • Acupuncture
  • Oral vitamin therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Physical manipulation
  • B-12 shots
  • Light exercise
  • Counseling
  • Medication management


Cleansing, on the other hand, is a term that is more associated with pop culture or promotional products that are marketed to people who are interested in losing weight. Like detoxing, cleansing does remove harmful toxins from the body, but the focus is more on cleaning out the body, losing weight, feeling better and increasing energy. Even though cleansing is popular in the modern world, its benefits are worth acknowledging.

The most effective way to achieve a proper cleanse is by eating a healthy diet that includes vegetables and fruits. Carbs are to be eaten as little as possible, especially those that contain refined sugar and flour. By following a diet that is clean and fresh, addicts begin to feel better, lose weight and gain energy. The typical American eats a lot of carbs and doesn’t follow a healthy eating regimen, so just imagine what an addict will live off of! It’s not surprising to think about how much better the body feels when being fed the right foods.


One aspect that is worth talking about is the use of laxatives, which are common in cleansing. Part of the cleansing process is increasing stool production, but this shouldn’t be done with laxatives alone. Dr. Terranella advises people not to use products that contain just a laxative, as this could lead to losing a significant amount of water weight, which could make a person dehydrated and sluggish.

It’s better to increase stool production with natural methods such as drinking fluids and eating a diet rich in fiber, which should come naturally in the cleansing process. Some of the best fruits and vegetables to eat for this purpose include apples, berries, grapefruit, flaxseed, kale, beans and dark leafy green vegetables.

Our Approach

When coming to The RS, the first steps that will be taken include a combination of detox and cleansing. Through alternative therapies such as infrared sauna detox and vitamin IV therapy, we’re able to get rid of the bad stuff in the body and replace it with the good. Our doctors will use conventional medication when necessary to keep our clients comfortable. Cleansing will come in the form of eating healthy, wholesome foods to naturally help the body lose weight and gain energy.

There is no magic formula that works in a day or two, but we feel that we’ve come close. By hitting the reset button, it’s almost like our clients are getting a new body that is refreshed, energized and motivated to stay clean, sober and happy.

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Welcome to The River Source, the place where new beginnings are created. We commend you for taking the first step in your recovery, and we want you to know that we are here for you.