When you’re serious about overcoming addiction challenges, your first instinct may be to stop using any and all substances. Even though that impulse is correct, you need to go about it the right way. Sure, the goal of detox is simple: get rid of any harmful substances in your body. But the actual process of weaning your body off addictive substances can be quite dangerous. As much as you might want to save time and money and dive right into the recovery journey, you shouldn’t try to detox from drugs and alcohol at home. Here’s why.
The Dangers of Detoxing At Home
When you self-detox from drugs and alcohol, you enter the recovery process without needed medical care and support. And detoxing at home is rarely effective for staying sober long-term. Detox isn’t a quick fix for addiction challenges. Rather, it is the beginning of your sobriety journey. Here are a few ways detoxing at home can hinder long-term addiction recovery.
Detox at Home Can Be Deadly Due to Lack of Medical Care
When you suddenly stop using drugs and alcohol, your brain experiences the equivalent of a culture shock. Think of it this way: for weeks, months, or years, you let your brain mingle with drugs or alcohol. Over time, your brain became accustomed to the substance until, one day, without warning, the substance disappears. Your brain, confused and disoriented, protests the change, which manifests itself as withdrawal symptoms which can include:
- Stomach and abdominal pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Heart attack
- Delirium tremens (a life-threatening condition due to alcohol withdrawal)
- Panic attacks
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Hypertension and an irregular heart rate
- Suicidal thoughts
Withdrawal symptoms vary but they can start hours or days after your last use and can last for weeks. Without proper medical care, these symptoms can be fatal. Sometimes, the symptoms can be so severe that individuals surrender to drug cravings which often leads to continued substance use. If you detox at home and need sudden medical care, medical personnel may not be able to reach you in time. There is no reason to put yourself in a potentially deadly situation. A medically-supervised detox program can provide you with around-the-clock support and monitor your health as you rid your body of drugs and alcohol.
You Won’t Have Support from Trained Professionals or Like-Minded Peers
When you participate in a professional detox program, you’ll receive peer support in addition to medical care. The first few days of detox can be overwhelming and depressing so support is extremely vital for your success. A major benefit of enrolling in a certified detox program is that you’ll go through the detox and withdrawal process with other people who are on the road to recovery as well. Support from peers and medical personnel can help you complete the detox process successfully.
If you decide to detox at home, however, you won’t have peer support. In fact, self-detox at home can also be risky because your home environment may not be a safe or supportive environment for recovery. If your home isn’t secure or your family and friends are not encouraging, you’re less likely to complete the detox process. Your home life may even compromise your chances of long-term recovery. Even if your home environment is safe, you may find that you have a lot of distractions that can subvert the detox process. Detox programs, on the other hand, provide a safe, supportive, structured, and distraction-free environment where you can focus on recovering from substance use challenges.
Detox At Home Might Make You Think You Don’t Need Treatment
Detox is not a quick fix for addiction challenges. If you’re looking to reach long-term recovery, you’ll need to begin with detox and then participate in a certified addiction treatment program. When you enroll in a recovery treatment program, you’ll undergo therapy, attend group and individual counseling, and work to change your behavior patterns. If you detox at home, however, you are less likely to pursue addiction treatment. You might even assume that you’re “cured” of substance use challenges. But addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease and without the right treatment, you may not see many, if any, positive changes in your behavior patterns.
When you enroll in a professional detox program, your medical support team will facilitate your next phase of treatment. In treatment, you’re more likely to see the incremental changes that can help bring about the larger changes you’re seeking.
Detox at Home Isn’t As Effective & Has a Higher Risk for Relapse
As wonderful as quitting a substance is, simply removing the substance from your system doesn’t address the root causes of addiction or help you understand why you started using substances in the first place. If you detox at home, you’re left alone without peer support, struggling to endure withdrawal symptoms and resist cravings. Even if you are successful, what happens next?
Remember, addiction is not a disease of willpower. This means that successfully exhibiting self-control won’t help you conquer future addiction challenges, overcome cravings, or change your life for the better. When you come to that realization, you may feel so overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, and depressed that using drugs and drinking may seem like your only option. This realization alone can increase your risk of relapse.
If you’re serious about recovering from a substance use disorder, you need to understand the root causes of addiction, what triggers your addictive behavior, and how to manage your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. The most effective way to do that is to complete a professional detox program followed by a comprehensive addiction treatment program.
Let Us Help You Detox and Recover Your Life
Here at Genesis Recovery, we wholeheartedly believe in the process of beginning again. You are never too far gone to change your life. But you won’t experience long-lasting change if you try to conquer your struggles alone. You need experienced, trained, and certified specialists to work alongside you and provide support as you take your first steps toward long-term recovery.
That’s what our team here at Genesis Recovery strives to do. Our mission is to help restore lives that have been broken by addiction. Contact us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction challenges.