Detox is an essential first step toward recovery. But is it safe to detox at home or do you need professional help? Before choosing to detox, it’s imperative to understand how the process works and what risks may be involved. Your comfort and safety should be among the factors in the decision-making.
The choice to detox at home might come from a familiarity with the setting, a sense of privacy, and a belief that you should be able to end drug or alcohol use independently. Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not ensure the outcome of an unassisted detox will be successful or safe. Even family members offering support won’t be able to provide the level of care that comes from medical professionals.
Understanding the Effects of Drug Withdrawal
Over time, continued substance use creates a physical dependence in the body, and tolerance of a particular drug increases. As a result, you may begin to use higher amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect.
The level and duration of use play a role in the withdrawal process. As the body begins to intake smaller amounts of the chemicals, or none at all, physical symptoms start to appear. These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to serious medical risks. To learn if it’s safe to detox at home, let’s look at the common symptoms of alcohol and opioid withdrawal.
We can also help you safely detox from stimulants and prescription drugs, including:
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Within Six Hours
- Shaky hands
After 12 Hours
After 48 Hours
- Racing heart
- High blood pressure
- Heavy sweating
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Within 12 Hours of Last Dose
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Widened (dilated) pupils
- Body aches
- Belly cramps
- Fast heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- High blood pressure
Substances with High Risks During Withdrawal
The answer to is it safe to detox from home depends on the substances used. Some substances have high-risks from withdrawal and are potentially life-threatening. Detoxing at home from these types of substances is strongly discouraged. Even if the outcome isn’t fatal, it can have severe medical consequences.
The high-risk list of substances includes prescription opioids, heroin, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. As a part of a medically-supervised detox program, patients withdrawing from one of these substances may be administered treatment medications.
Other Factors for Withdrawal Symptoms
The severity of withdrawal symptoms can also be influenced by the length of time a person used the substance, the average dose used, and how frequently they took the drug. In addition, the following factors may contribute to withdrawal symptoms.
- Mixing of multiple substances
- Body chemistry
- Genetic makeup
- How substance was administered (swallowed, snorted, injected, etc.)
The Process of Detoxification
During a detoxification period, the body eliminates all traces of drugs or alcohol through natural processes. The length of the process can vary from person to person and substance used. For example, a person with alcohol use disorder may notice fewer withdrawal symptoms after a week of detoxification. On the other hand, someone using benzodiazepines may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for two weeks or more.
The detoxification process not only affects a person physically but can also lead to mental health and emotional changes. You may process information more slowly, have trouble concentrating, experience a weaker sense of judgment, struggle to remember things, and notice a difference in sensitivity to sound, light, and tactile input. Emotionally, you may feel irritable, lonely, or depressed. You may feel intense cravings as well.
The body’s dependence on the substance makes it extremely challenging for you to relax or sleep, creating a feeling of desperation for alcohol or drugs.
Advantages of Detoxing Under Medical Supervision
First and foremost, medical supervision during detox ensures patients safely and comfortably experience withdrawal as their symptoms will be managed 24/7. This increases the patient’s chances of starting and staying in recovery.
Another advantage of medical detox is the ability to treat co-occurring physical and mental health concerns. Treatment of severe depression, for instance, allows a patient to have mental health needs met while under the medical team’s care. This holistic approach to detox is the most effective way to ensure a patient is ready for the recovery work ahead.
Medically-supervised detox provides an opportunity for undiagnosed mental health disorders to be discovered. A patient who has detoxed and relapsed frequently may not have received an underlying mental health diagnosis. The medical team can create a personalized care plan for a patient as they navigate the next steps of inpatient or outpatient programs.
Restored Path’s Solution
Restored Path Detox is DFW’s premier location for sophisticated medical detox. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified RNs have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: 561-841-1268.