If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, there are numerous options and therapeutic models for rehab—residential, outpatient, 12-step, group therapy, CBT, mindfulness, and many more. But detoxifying the body of all traces of the addictive substance, whether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, meth, or anything else, will begin the moment you decide not to look for that next drink, fix, or pill. There’s no way around it.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal can be a difficult, painful, and potentially risky process. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are many but may include:
- Anxiety, irritability, depression
- Tremors or shakiness
- Foggy thinking and exhaustion
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
The most severe withdrawal symptom that can occur is delirium tremens. About 5% of those in recovery from alcohol addiction experience the DTs, including hallucinations, hypertension, seizures, extreme confusion, and agitation.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are similar in many ways to alcohol withdrawal and include stomach cramps, muscle aches, chills, and other flu-like symptoms.
Whatever the substance—from methamphetamines or cocaine to morphine, Oxy, heroin, or alcohol, detox and withdrawal are a reality and should be done under round-the-clock medical supervision.
5 Risks of Going Through Detox at Home
Substance abuse recovery is possible. When the first step—detox—is endangered, the entire recovery process is endangered. Why not give yourself the best chance for success? Below are five risks of at-home detox.
Without medical supervision and management, detox is unnecessarily brutal. A medical team can monitor symptoms such as pain and nausea and mitigate them with medications as needed. If there are underlying medical conditions, they can create real problems during detox. Patients often do not realize they have medical issues because they began during addiction and have gone undiagnosed. In addition, chronic medical issues that are ordinarily quite manageable can create complications during detox, making the immediate availability of medical professionals important.
Likelihood of Relapse
When someone detoxes at home, the temptation to end all the cravings and suffering with a dose of alcohol or drugs is unimaginably intense. Addiction is a disease and with enormous power. The force of will is often simply not enough for people to make it to the end of detox without relapsing. Over 80% of patients successfully detox in a medical setting, whereas only about 14% make it through at home.
Risk of Overdose
The body begins to recalibrate very quickly after a drug is withheld. A dose that was just a few days ago considered “normal” (able to create a high) can be enough to cause overdose after only a brief attempt at home. In a detox program, there is no access to controlled substances, making overdose unlikely.
Mental Health Concerns
During detox, psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be as severe as physical symptoms. Agitation, irritability, paranoia, depression, anxiety, and insomnia are all common. If someone has an underlying mental health disorder, diagnosed or not, it can worsen or become critical during detox. At-home detox increases the risks presented by a potential mental health crisis.
Decrease Chances of Long-Term Success
Not only is the risk of relapse during at-home detox significant, but the risks to long-term recovery are also greater. When medical professionals, therapists, and a caring support staff shepherd a patient through the detox process, the chances of successfully attaining and maintaining sobriety are greatly increased.
Patients are at their most vulnerable during detox. They have finally allowed themselves to believe that sobriety is an option for them, overcome their fears of withdrawal, and taken the important and courageous first step. Why put all that at risk with at-home detox?
Learn More About Medical Detox at Serenity Light Recovery
Serenity Light Recovery is more than a light at the end of the tunnel. We can also help you shine a light on your own sober future and help you walk the path to get there. Our staff is available to talk to you about medical detox options in our safe, tranquil facility, discuss the steps for getting started, and answer any questions you have. Reach out to us through our confidential online form or call us at 855.658.6109.