Should I Detox From Drugs at Home?
The term detox has become hugely popular in the past decade and it’s mainly used to mean cleansing your body from an unhealthy lifestyle. When speaking of substance use disorders, detox refers to the process of safely eliminating the substance from the body.1
Some people believe that undergoing alcohol and drug detox at home is the best option for them. However, as comforting as home detox sounds, weaning off drugs and alcohol without medical supervision or guidance is actually ineffective and dangerous.1
What Are the Common Risks of At-Home Detox?
While self-detox at home may sound like an easier option, the only way to undergo safe detox is to seek medical help. By getting consistent support from treatment professionals and a tailored treatment plan, you can minimize the possibility of risks such as:
- Relapse: People recovering from substance use disorders face an elevated risk of relapse if they detox at home. Without the supportive environment and resources provided by a medical facility, staying sober is additionally difficult.1
- Overdose: This is something all patients and their families are hoping to avoid since it can be fatal. Those who go through ‘cold turkey’ alcohol or drug detox are at a much higher risk of a relapse and relapse can lead to overdose as the patient loses tolerance.2
- Complications: Because of a lack of medical attention, people detoxing at home at an elevated risk of suffering a grand mal seizure, delirium tremens, and other life-threatening physical symptoms. Detox from alcohol or drugs at home can feel isolating, leading to mental health problems, like depression, anxiety, and paranoia.3
What Are Some Advantages & Disadvantages of At-Home Detox?
Some of the disadvantages of trying to kick alcohol at home and home drug detox are:1,2,3
- Higher chance of relapse
- Increases probability of an overdose.
- Physical symptoms that can be intensely unpleasant and potentially lethal.
- Occurrence of mental health difficulties.
Self-detox from alcohol and drugs isn’t recommended because the person doesn’t have access to medical and psychological support. While staying in the comfort of your home and the proximity of your loved ones can make the process more pleasant, there are outpatient treatment options that could still allow for this without compromising your safety.4
What Does Medical Detoxification Entail?
Medical detox is the first step to recovery. It counteracts withdrawal symptoms and acute intoxication in a carefully controlled, supportive, drug-free environment. It involves an assessment of the patient’s condition, medication management, and psychological support.1
Seeking medical help for your substance use disorder is the only safe option. Undergoing detox when you are physically dependent on alcohol or another substance is hard as it is, and doing it at home, without adequate support, will likely cause a variety of additional complications. Treatment professionals make sure your withdrawal symptoms are minimized and your well-being is restored. Top-quality detox facilities also provide an exceptional level of comfort.1
What Are the Pros and Cons of Medical Detox?
The advantages of medical detox far outweigh its disadvantages. Since it’s the only safe way to start your recovery process and avoid the dangers of at-home detox, it is far superior to experimenting with alcohol detox pills and other home remedies for detoxing from drugs that can leave you unprotected from potentially dangerous consequences.1
Some of the benefits of medical detox are:1
- Ongoing medical and psychological support provided by trained professionals.
- Addressing your withdrawal symptoms as they arise.
- The use of medication to ease withdrawal symptoms.
- Access to support groups of individuals struggling with similar issues.
There are also certain disadvantages to this process, but treatment facilities have ways to prevent them:1
- Some medication used during detox can be addictive. However, this can be prevented with careful medication management.
- Medical detox may require the patient to stay at a treatment facility for at least several days, but outpatient detox services may also be available to you, depending on your condition.
What Does Medical Detox Consist Of?
Medical detox is a scientifically-based program that depends on the type of facility you’re in, as well as your unique circumstances. However, the detox process may typically go as follows:1
- It usually starts with a professional evaluation. This is extremely important because knowing what kind of addiction you have and how intense it is helps professionals determine the type of treatment that’s best for you.
- The next step would be getting you the appropriate medication and making sure your condition is under control. This also means monitoring your withdrawal process and making sure the symptoms aren’t making you too uncomfortable. Of course, detox itself is not a comfortable process, but professional personnel will make sure you feel at ease as much as possible.
- After that, you can proceed with further treatment either in an outpatient or inpatient setting. The treatment typically combines medication and behavioral therapies.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a goal-oriented therapeutic approach that seeks to correct thinking patterns and behaviors in order to enhance feelings and encourage positive change. This type of therapy is extremely successful in addiction treatment. It involves a lot of cooperation between the patient and the therapist.5
Group therapy can be deeply healing. It involves a group of people sharing similar troubles and problems. It can be comforting and create a sense of understanding and belonging. Also, creating emotional connections with other group members can change you and your point of view regarding addiction.6
These are usually considered as additional sessions that help with issues other than addiction. For instance, if you are stressed or have any issues that you do not feel comfortable sharing in group therapies, or you are grieving – specialized sessions can help you learn coping mechanisms that help you overcome any difficulties in the future without turning to substance abuse.7
You don’t have to undergo alcohol or drug detox at home to have your family’s support throughout the process. Family can be one of the most important factors when considering what may have caused one’s addiction. Any addiction requires not only healing the individual, but also their environment.8
In this type of therapy, your family can learn how to adjust their roles and what kind of communication and atmosphere is important for a healthy family structure.8
Many people find much joy in alternative therapies – as fun as they are, they are also extremely beneficial. They allow you to create a channel for your thoughts and emotions, expressing them and getting them out of your body and mind. You can find what works best for you – whether it’s movement, touch, drawing, or singing. Some of them are:7
- Dance therapy
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Horseback riding
- Tai chi
Why Is It Better to Undergo Medical Detox Instead of Detoxing at Home?
The biggest difference between drug and alcohol detox at home and medical detox is that, with the latter, you can have round-the-clock support. This is an important factor because going through the whole process alone can feel isolating and stressful. Having a professional medical team right by your side can benefit you in so many ways.1
One of the downsides of home detox is relapse and medical detox lowers the risk of it. When you are surrounded by dedicated professionals and take medication to help with withdrawal the chances of relapse and overdose are significantly reduced.
With medical detox, you can also get specialized support, such as:
- Tailored treatment for couples battling addiction
- High-quality addiction support for executives
- Custom substance use treatment for women
- Specialized treatment programs for teens
- Helpful addiction treatment plans for seniors
- Faith-based programs that focus on spirituality
- Supportive environment for pregnant people with addiction
How to Choose the Best Detox Method for Me?
While you may be tempted to try rapid opioid, alcohol, or another drug detox at home, this can put your health at jeopardy. Having adequate professional help means you can go through the detoxification process much more easily.1To enter medical detox, you can contact American Addiction Centers via phone, talk to our staff to learn what you can expect, and find the help you need. We run multiple rehab centers nationwide, providing our patients with top-level care and treatment. Our admissions navigators will suggest potential options for you, verify your insurance right then and there, and recommend the following step. You may even be admitted to same-day detox if that’s what your condition calls for.
Frequently Asked Questions