Can I Do Drug Detox at Home?
April 13, 2021
If you’re suffering from any form of substance addiction, and you want to quit, the best thing to do is to seek professional help. Most likely you will have to enroll in a rehab program. The first thing that you’ll have to do is to go through a process called drug detox.
Detoxing is often done in a rehab center, and it’s usually supervised by medical professionals. Detox also has an associated cost, and the price might concern you.
Because of that, you may be considering doing drug detox at home. But is it safe? Is it effective? Let’s find out.
What is drug detox for?
Before we answer the question of whether detoxing at home is safe and effective, let’s look at the purpose of drug detox first.
When you become addicted to drugs, the presence of those substances in your body has become normal for you. Your body has developed new habits, and you can hardly function normally without taking the drugs. Also, your brain has become used to the drug’s effects. Even your brain chemistry has changed to accommodate the presence of the drugs.
Addictive substances have lots of negative impacts on your mind and body. For one, you could be spending too much time finding and taking drugs. This could affect your performance in school or at work. Your relationships with family and friends would also take a turn for the worse. Once you realize how serious these problems are, you may then decide to quit drugs.
But once you try to quit, you wonder why you get a lot of unpleasant feelings. It could be restlessness, anxiety, irritability, or excessive shaking. In some cases, you might have trouble breathing, or your heart rate could turn irregular. These are called withdrawal symptoms, and they usually show up when you suddenly stop taking drugs. In turn, you’d have a stronger urge to take drugs again.
Drug detox addresses those withdrawal symptoms. The process allows your body to get rid of all traces of drugs while minimizing the painful consequences of withdrawal. In some cases, you may need to take medications, which is why drug detox is often done in a rehab facility and supervised by medical personnel.
Can drug detox be done at home?
It is not recommended to detox by yourself at home. For one, you won’t have medical help ready to assist you in case of any problems.
Also, you won’t have a supply of necessary medications to help manage your withdrawal symptoms. These medications require prescriptions, so you can’t just buy them directly from a drugstore.
Attempting to self-medicate is always dangerous. You should only take medications prescribed by doctors.
However, there are some cases where you can be allowed to detox at home.
When can I safely detox from home?
First of all, a doctor must have approved the home detox process beforehand. Consult first with a medical professional so you can receive the best kind of treatment for your case.
During a consultation, the doctor may ask you the following questions. Your answers will determine the level of care you need.
- What substances are you using regularly?
- How often do you take them?
- How much of the drugs do you take at a time?
- How long have you been using them?
- Do you have any mental health issues?
- What other medical conditions have you been diagnosed with?
- Have you tried to detox before? How did it go?
- Have you ever experienced any withdrawal symptoms?
- How much support do you have at home?
If you are healthy and your addiction is mild – in other words, you have no signs of dependence on drugs – you could detox at home using “cold turkey” methods. For this to work, it’s important that you be completely honest with your doctor about your symptoms, medical history, and current state of addiction. Withholding any important information will increase the chances of failure of home detox.
Also, if you have a strong support system at home, you are more likely to succeed.
What are my other options if I can’t detox at home?
Take note that not everyone can safely undergo drug detox at home. There are alternatives, though.
Moderate cases of addiction, which involve some level of drug dependence but only minor withdrawal symptoms, can benefit from outpatient drug detox programs. Here, you don’t have to stay in a rehab center for a long time. Instead, you just need to go to a clinic a few times a week. Outpatient detox also works well if you have a good network of support at home.
If your case of addiction is severe, and you have a clear history of substance abuse, the best option for you is inpatient rehab. Here, you will have to stay in a rehab center for a significant period. The rehab may be anywhere from 1 month to 6 months, depending on the severity of the addiction.
You may be far from your family and friends for a long while, but the benefits are worth it. When you stay in a rehab center, you get round-the-clock medical and psychological support. That means any time you have a problem, you can call for help and they’ll be there for you right away.
Also, inpatient rehabs have comprehensive programs designed to maximize your chances of successful recovery. Drug detox is just the first step. Once this is done, you will go through lots of psychological therapies to address the mental health issues brought about by substance abuse.
In inpatient rehab, you’ll also be trained to adopt a new lifestyle. You will learn new skills and ways to cope with stress that don’t involve addictive substances.
For example, you could be trained to form a new daily routine. Once you become used to it, you’ll gradually learn to function normally without the urge to take drugs. Later on, you’ll be able to live a sober, normal lifestyle again.