Detoxification, or more commonly called - detox, is the first step in treating substance abuse. Depending on each individual, they can last from several days to several weeks. When done safely and correctly, all detox processes lead to addiction rehabilitation programs.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the proper treatment and safely detox from drugs or alcohol, but we’ve chosen to lay out all the risks of the home detox here. Then, with the suitable precautions for a home detox, about which you’ll read further in the text, you can learn how to do it safely and successfully.
The detox process is primarily just the starting point on the road to sobriety and leads to further treatment. Unfortunately, the very process of detox can’t treat the addiction that’s underlying.
If a rehabilitation program follows right after the detox period, it can maintain abstinence from alcohol or opioid drugs. Detox, even though not sufficient to treat the very addiction, is, however, a very helpful, important, and initial step in the process of recovery.
Primary Keys to Safe Detoxification
The three key components that lead to a safe and effective detox are as follows:
- Detox is not effective in the very treatment of addiction and should always be followed by additional substance abuse treatments- the main goal of the detox process is to enter individuals into the long process of successful withdrawal, or in other words, to be the initial step that will later lead to further rehabilitation;
- Every detox process should include these three steps: evaluating the needs of the person entering the process, stabilizing their health and overall wellbeing, encouraging them to enter further treatment;
- The detox process can be done in many different ways, with the aid of different methods, and take place in many different settings. This should depend on each individual’s needs. Also, it should be equal for everyone, regardless of their culture or their personal beliefs;
Once the detox process has started, people who are physically dependent on alcohol and drugs will always have withdrawal symptoms. That’s the period at which the body has to get used to the lack of substances it was abusing. You can use alcohol testing kits at home to make sure there are no substances in the body.
The length of the withdrawal symptoms may last up to a week, or even months, depending on the abused substance. For instance, oxycodone withdrawal symptoms linger longer than those caused by a short-acting opioid like heroin. The physical symptoms usually include insomnia, diarrhea, muscle pain, vomiting, and cold flashes.
Some psychological symptoms may occur, such as anxiety from withdrawal or even depression. These can last for months. Luckily, the detox process can successfully address most of these symptoms.
Risks of Doing Detox at Home
Some individuals tend to simply stop taking harmful chemicals on their own and want to carry out this process at home. However, this can turn out to be incredibly dangerous. The reason is that some withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and require medical supervision.
If a patient is withdrawing from, e.g., nervous system depressants, medical supervision is highly recommended. Some symptoms of withdrawal from, say, benzodiazepines can be life-threatening, and stopping the usage of these sedatives too suddenly is dangerous.
In addition, detox from alcohol should be carried out in an inpatient setting since DTs (delirium tremens) can occur in some people going through alcohol detox. Help and medical assistance here can solve all the inconveniences.
Staying at home can also increase the risk of relapses. In these cases, people simply use the substances again to null the withdrawal symptoms.
TLDR; most attempts to do a home-detox process turn out to be unsuccessful.
What Do to if You Decide to Detox at Home
Here are the three must-dos if you decide to carry out the detoxification at home:
- Remove all alcohol from your house - this is the first and the critical step, even though it may sound obvious. When the withdrawal symptoms kick in, you may not control all the cravings and not prevent a relapse. Therefore, get rid of all alcohol that is nearby;
- Get help - find a family member or a friend who will monitor you and help you in the process. This person can also get medical assistance if needed for the more severe withdrawal symptoms;
- Take some time off work - this step is equally important as the previous two. If you want to detox successfully, you need time to focus on your recovery;
The Wrap Up
As you have witnessed, home detox can be risky. Withdrawal symptoms, in a small number of cases, can even be life-threatening. Even though most are not that severe, it’s crucial to stay on the safe side. Medical supervision is, therefore, highly advisable.
Also, bear in mind that the detox process is not the rehabilitation itself. It’s just the initial step on the long road to sobriety.