After Addiction: Three Key Changes Following Detox


The abuse of alcohol and drugs claims thousands of lives every year. The decision to enter a detox program may save your life. This is something that most of us know. However, we may not know how our brain changes when we are no longer engaging in substance abuse.

We’ve all heard about detox diets, juice fasting, and eliminating all wheat and dairy products from our diet. Following these strict diets, we are supposed to rid ourselves of toxic buildup and toxic waste lurking within our digestive system: the byproducts of which make us feel sluggish, lethargic, or overweight. 

The Body During Detox

Upon entering a detox or substance abuse program, we are meant to remove substances such as alcohol or opioids that are harmful to our health. After the detox phase is over, the long term rehabilitation phase begins, primarily consisting of counseling and therapy.

Heading into detox first enables the body to reset and begin its physical restoration journey, while counselors and other therapists help with the psychological repair. It’s generally agreed that what we put into our body can affect moods and energy levels. To benefit from a rehabilitation program, the body should be free from substances.

Key Changes

Just like the detox diet mentioned earlier, once we have completed the intense physical demands of removing toxins from our body, we may notice several fundamental changes that are beneficial to our long-term health and can support our ongoing sobriety and substance-free lifestyle.

  1. Crave Less Often

Cravings are a significant cause of relapse in early recovery. This is why it is essential to replace bad habits with new ones as quickly as possible. This can be accomplished through your aftercare plan. As your recovery progresses and you continue working with your medical and psychological team, the urge to use substances will lessen. It might also help to understand that when you remove something harmful from your body, you tend to crave the thing you are getting rid of. This could be sugar, alcohol, drugs, or another substance. The mind will continue to crave what it is addicted to. Establishing good eating habits as soon as possible also helps counter these cravings. Providing your body with critical nutrients and vitamins helps prevent cravings and aids physical recovery.   

  1. Regulate Your  Mood

When we use drugs such as heroin, it’s not unusual for mood changes to occur. This is because opioids change and sometimes damage neurotransmitters in the brain, affecting the regulation of impulses, moods, and decision-making capabilities. Following detox and a period of rest and nutrition, levels of endorphins and dopamine, both affected by neurotransmitters, should eventually re-balance. An improved sense of well-being follows due to less stress on the body’s neurological system.

  1. Hormones

When our hormones have been affected through excessive alcohol and substance misuse, everything else is affected too. Hormones that are not at optimal levels leave us vulnerable to depression and other mood disorders. Detoxing and remaining free from controlled substances eventually help restore key hormone levels.

In each of the three improvements outlined above, each experience will be different. Clearly, somebody who has engaged in substance misuse for a prolonged period will likely show more changes to neuro-transmitters and hormones than somebody who has been addicted for a shorter period. However, it is important for us to realize that no matter how long we have been abusing substances, each of us is only one use away from either an overdose or the negative consequences of risky behavior. 


The abuse of alcohol and drugs claims thousands of lives every year. The decision to detox may save your life. You may not realize how your brain and hormones change when you no longer engage in substance abuse. When we use drugs such as heroin, neurotransmitters in the brain become damaged, affecting the regulation of impulses, moods, and decision-making abilities. After detox, your levels of endorphins and dopamine that were both affected by neurotransmitters will eventually re-balance. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. No matter how far you’ve come on your journey to substance abuse or mental health recovery, we look forward to helping you explore the range of supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035.   

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