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Can I Detox at Home from Alcohol or Drugs?

It’s understandable that, when faced with the difficult prospect of quitting substance abuse, so many people wonder, “Can I just detox at home?” Seeking professional medical help at an official detox center can be an intimidating endeavor even under the best of circumstances, let alone during difficult or uncertain times. And at first glance, it may seem—to the uninitiated—like a fairly straightforward task: stop using, and you’ll get better.

However, withdrawal can be a complicated, even dangerous, experience without the right support and resources. While detox at home is possible in some cases, it is neither as safe nor as effective as a medically supervised detox program undertaken in a properly equipped facility.

Can I Detox at Home? Consider the Medical Risks

The withdrawal experience, much like that of addiction, is a highly personal one. The specific symptoms involved, and their severity, are influenced by a number of factors, including what substances a person has been using; how long, how frequently, and how much they have been using each; what medications they may be taking in conjunction with those substances; and whether they have any underlying physical or mental conditions with which to contend.

Physical ailments such as headaches, trembling, nausea or vomiting, gastric distress, and other flu-like symptoms are common, as are depressive and anxious symptoms. Withdrawal can also include:

The duration of withdrawal symptoms can also vary wildly—alcohol withdrawal may last anywhere from days to weeks, whereas benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms may come and go for months in extreme, protracted cases.

Withdrawal has become quite manageable in a professional medical setting, thanks to advances in both medicine and care. When attempting to detox at home, however, it is unlikely that you will have access to the equipment—or medical experience—necessary to adequately address the inherent risks involved or to cope with an emergency situation, should one arise.

There is also the issue of disclosure—it may be difficult for you, or for your loved one, to be fully honest about what substances are being used and to what extent. Guilt or shame can drive us to hide things from the people we care about, and minimizing the truth can be a way of coping with an otherwise overwhelming situation. Only with the help of trained clinicians can the truth be empirically determined—along with the appropriate treatment.

The Safest Way to Detox from Drugs or Alcohol

While safe detox is possible in a regular hospital setting, specialized detox centers offer the best option in terms of comfort, care, and long-term success. In the secure, drug-free environment of an addiction treatment facility, you or your loved one will benefit from:

Ultimately, the goal of detox is to rid the body of harmful substances and initiate the healing process. It is counterproductive, therefore, to attempt detox at home, where the risks are many and the benefits few.

In short, the answer to the question “Can I detox at home?” is, technically, a reluctant “yes.” The answer to the more important question of whether you should attempt detox at home, however, is a resounding “no.”

Your Safety Is Our Priority

At New Choices Treatment Centers, the health and wellbeing of our clients are at the heart of everything we do. We understand that during times of uncertainty and fear, such as a public health crisis, it is tempting to think that staying home to detox is the safer option. However, in addition to the benefits of clinical care that we have outlined above, we want to reassure you that we are implementing special measures during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect our clients and their families—as well as our staff—from illness, including symptom screenings before and after admission, additional sanitation and safety protocols, and more.

As such, there is no need for you or a family member to suffer through unsupervised withdrawal alone. Now more than ever, the best place to detox is in an addiction treatment facility equipped with the right tools—and the right people—to keep you or your loved one safe and well throughout detox and beyond.

New Choices Treatment Centers‘ comprehensive care curriculum includes detox support as well as long-term treatment and aftercare programming. To learn more, contact us today, or call us at (726) 888-7003.

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