Addicts often like to believe that they have things under control. The same mentality can be present when it’s time to detox. Addicts tend to think that they can stop using drugs or alcohol on their own. The prevalence of detoxes in our society doesn’t help, either. With so many different drinks and pills on the market, people have the illusion that they can manage detox in the comfort and privacy of their own home.
Unfortunately, at-home detoxes can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. The process is intense and uncomfortable. It is best done through a licensed detox facility that provides medical supervision around the clock. This arrangement isn’t a luxury for the most elite addicts. It’s an essential requirement to getting clean and sober.
Let’s explore the risks of at-home detoxes and why they should be avoided.
Debilitating Withdrawal Symptoms
Some withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, but they aren’t deadly. Others can be fatal. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug to detox from. Users cannot stop cold turkey. Sudden cessation can lead to hallucinations, convulsions and seizures. Withdrawal from heroin is also extremely difficult and potentially unsafe. Withdrawal symptoms can lead to respiratory complications and seizures.
High Risk for Relapse
Addiction is not a character flaw. Once a person has detoxed from drugs or alcohol, it’s not their “choice” to return. Unfortunately, if addicts don’t receive counseling and therapeutic help from a licensed treatment center, the risk of relapse is very high.
Many addicts who have tried to detox at home ended up relapsing immediately. Either they couldn’t tolerate the withdrawal symptoms or they were surrounded by too much temptation. Keep in mind that when the body goes through detox, its tolerance is lowered. If a person relapses and takes the same dose as when their tolerance was high, they could die from an accidental overdose.
Compounding Mental Health Issues
Cocaine is a drug that has severe psychological effects. If an underlying condition is present, such as depression or PTSD, this will only complicate the withdrawal process. Doing an at-home detox doesn’t address psychological or emotional effects, and it does not take into account mental health conditions. A person detoxing on their own can be at risk for suicide or other harmful behaviors.
Addicts need time to heal. Even if an addict is to succeed at home, they don’t have the tools and resources that they would if they sought treatment from an addiction treatment center. The next time the recovering addict is dealt stress or an anxious situation, would they know how to handle it? Chances are high they would revert back to their self-destructive tendencies.
In the end, at-home detoxes are rarely effective. Addicts can benefit from a comprehensive treatment program that includes safe, medically supervised detox, counseling and an aftercare plan. Not only does this make the treatment process more manageable and rewarding, but also it increases the chances for long-term recovery.