For most individuals, detox is the first vital step to long-term sobriety. It’s an essential component of getting clean and establishing a foundation for the rest of the recovery process. Unfortunately, detox and the associated withdrawal symptoms can be one of the most challenging aspects of recovery. Still, the proper approach can make withdrawal safer and more comfortable and help to prevent relapse.
Are There Advantages of At-Home Detox?
An at-home detox concentrates on the elimination of toxic substances from the body with virtually no assistance from medication or professional supervision. Although doing a drug detox at home may indeed be less expensive, it’s also widely considered to be, by far, the least effective way to detox. Many individuals begin with a definite desire to alter their life, only to find that they underestimated the unpleasantness of enduring withdrawal symptoms and are driven to relapse.
Individuals who detox at home often do so because they lack health coverage and/or cannot afford professional treatment. Also, they may be wary of involving an untrusted outsider into their addiction, which unfortunately prevents them from benefiting from specialized medical and mental health care.
Dangers of At-Home Detox
Detoxing at home without medical help can be hazardous. Discontinuation from some substances, including alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, those who are heavy drinkers or dependent on certain drugs should not attempt to quit all at once or “cold-turkey. This action could result in psychosis, seizures, and delirium tremens.
Opioids such as heroin and oxycodone do not usually lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, but there remains a risk for extreme reactions. There have also been instances of death occurring during opioid withdrawal related to dehydration and malnourishment.
If you feel you must detox at home, it is crucial to plan ahead. Make sure to buy over-the-counter medications that may be beneficial available, have a loved one nearby, drink plenty of water and fluids, and eat as healthily as possible.
Medical Detox—The Best Way to Detox from Drugs and Alcohol
A medically-supervised detox can be completed without medication but still be conducted in a clinical setting. In this situation, patients are under the supervision of a physician and have access to medical intervention if necessary. Medical detox can be performed on either an inpatient or outpatient basis and is a much safer way to detox than attempting to do it alone.
As noted, there are certain substances that can lead to life-threatening complications during withdrawal. These include benzodiazepines and alcohol. Both can lead to severe syndromes, which include effects such as high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, psychosis, tremors, and seizures, which can prove lethal. During medical detox, medications can be administered to ensure that this does not occur.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Medical Detox
The key difference between an at-home and medical detox is that the latter allows for professional monitoring that promotes comfort and safety. People who undergo this type of detox are also prevented from relapsing and often transfer to a long-term residential or partial hospitalization program.
The ideal candidate for medical detox is a person who is genuinely motivated to recover. Moreover, once the program begins, individuals commit to 5-7 days in either inpatient or outpatient detox treatment. Those who detox at home are throwing caution to the wind and may be less committed to preventing relapse.
There aren’t many drawbacks to undergoing a medical detox, other than its expense if applicable. Also, a person who chooses this method may have to take several days off away from school work. That said, if the person is planning on transferring to a rehab program, this is probably a minimal issue.
Choosing the Most Effective Detox Method
Ideally, detox should be conducted under the direct supervision of a licensed medical professional in a clinical setting. In doing so, this method of detox ensures the person’s safety and maximum comfort. It also helps to prevent relapse. Those who have any way of detoxing under clinical supervision are strongly urged to do so.
Regardless of whether an individual chooses to detox in a medical or at-home environment, subsequent participation in a personalized, integrated addiction treatment program, such as those offered by Just Believe Detox, is strongly advised. Our programs include therapeutic services essential for recovery, such as the following:
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- Peer group support
- Health and wellness education
- Art and music therapy
- Yoga and meditation
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni activities
You CAN restore health and wellness to your life and reclaim your life, free from drugs and alcohol abuse! Contact us as soon as possible and discover how we can help!