The first step in getting clean and sober is detox. Once you complete a detox program, you can start treatment for the addiction and any underlying mental health disorders. Whether it’s due to money, a lack of information or fear, some people choose to detox at home. While it can sometimes be safe to self-detox, it can also be incredibly dangerous. In fact, detoxing from alcohol or certain drugs can be fatal. This is why we recommend detoxing in a safe, supportive environment.
Below are seven reasons why self-detoxing is dangerous.
1. It can be deadly.
People who drink alcohol and use drugs in large quantities for a long time are most at risk for complications. The withdrawal symptoms are typically more intense for these individuals, leaving them to deal with symptoms like vomiting, insomnia, shaking, mood swings and anxiety on their own.
Furthermore, detoxing from certain drugs can be deadly. For example, alcohol withdrawal symptoms include seizures, hallucinations and delirium tremens, which can result in death. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can also be deadly because of the intense psychological withdrawal effects like anxiety, panic attacks and depression.
Bottom line: There is no reason to put yourself in potentially deadly situations while detoxing. A detox center has 24-hour support staff who manage your symptoms and ensure your safety.
2. It’s not as successful.
Detox centers have a variety of medications and therapies they use to help clients detox safely and effectively. These treatments make the withdrawal symptoms more tolerable. For instance, you may be prescribed clonidine to treat an alcohol or opiate withdrawal, or you may be given Zofran to help with nausea.
When your symptoms are well controlled, it’s easier to complete detox. Unfortunately, if these symptoms are not managed, you’re more likely to use drugs and alcohol again. Addiction is not a disease of willpower. The pain can be so bad that returning to drugs and alcohol appear to be the only answer.
3. There may be a lapse in treatment.
If you were to detox at home, it’s imperative that you have a treatment center lined up immediately after. Addiction is a complex disease that requires more than physical symptoms. Many people who struggle with substance abuse also have mental illness or previous trauma. They also tend to lack problem-solving skills and stress management. This is why counseling, alternative therapies, 12-step meetings, etc. are essential to long-term recovery.
Acceptance Recovery Center offers a full continuum of care. We offer drug and alcohol detox that includes detailed medical assessments, monitoring of withdrawal symptoms, alternative therapies and medication-assisted treatment. Our clients are kept as comfortable as possible until they are fully detoxed. At this point, they can start treatment.
If there is a lapse in treatment, it’s easier to fall back into old habits because you haven’t learned the proper lifestyle skills yet. When you transition straight into treatment following detox, you’re more likely to stick with your recovery goals.
4. There is no peer support.
Not only does professional detox include medical monitoring but also peer support. You are not alone during this process, which can make the difference between completing detox or relapsing. Typically, the first few days of detox are the worst. After this, some symptoms begin to subside, and you can take advantage of alternative therapies to improve comfort and mood.
Going through this experience alongside others can be helpful to your recovery. You’re reminded that you are not alone in your struggles and that others are facing similar circumstances. The connections you form may also make it easier to attend self-help groups and participate in group therapy.
5. Your environment may not be safe and supportive.
When recovering from addiction, it’s imperative that your home environment is safe and secure. If it’s not, your chances for a complete recovery are compromised. Unfortunately, some people with addictions have grown up in environments where drugs and alcohol are readily available. If you have a home environment that is toxic in any way, it will be difficult to have a safe and successful detox.
What if your home setting is safe and sober? It’s probably still not the best place to detox in. You might have distractions, such as family or household chores. A detox center provides a structured environment for you to thrive in. There are no distractions or temptation. Your only goal is to focus on yourself and your recovery.
6. There is no education for the family.
A successful recovery depends on many factors, including family education. It’s important for your family to participate in family therapy, learn about addiction, know how to maintain a safe environment and so on. If you detox on your own, your family is not getting the information they need to be assets to your recovery.
Most drug and alcohol rehab centers include family therapy in their services. This makes it possible to educate families on how to be positive role models for their loved one. Counselors can also help families identify and fix codependent relationships, enabling and other destructive patterns.
7. The risk for relapse is higher.
Keep in mind that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects the functioning of the mind and body. It takes time to recover from drug and alcohol use, as addiction changes pathways in the brain. Therefore, even if you are able to detox safely in your home, you’ll lack the skills and tools to stay sober. The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation, your desire to return to drugs and alcohol will be high.
With medically supervised detox, you have access to various therapies that support your recovery, include family education, relapse prevention and stress management. Of course, the goal is to transition to inpatient, outpatient, sober living or aftercare, but you will still learn valuable information in detox.
Acceptance Recovery Center provides the necessary tools to support lifelong recovery. To learn more about our programs and how we can help you or a loved one, contact us today.