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Best Ways to Help Someone With At-Home Drug Detox

It is true that detox from drugs can take place in many settings including your home, but that does not always mean it’s the best option. Addiction more often than not involves physical dependence, and to break the cycle of addiction, you must first address your dependence to bypass the acute withdrawal period.

The first phase in treatment is known as detoxification, and it is defined as the process of ridding the body of the harmful toxins found in drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and other dangerous substances. The purpose of professional detox is to implement specific medical and psychological strategies to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and dangers from drug withdrawal.

Addiction specialists recommend that those going through this process attend a professional treatment center to manage the withdrawal period medically. Medically assisted or medically supervised detox takes place in many forms, and you can find many inpatient and outpatient settings that best fits your needs. While withdrawal from some substances isn’t severe, there are drugs like barbiturates and benzodiazepines that can pose immediate risks upon sudden cessation.

Our minds and bodies grow dependent on these drugs to the point where cells will not work unless the drugs are available, and what happens when they aren’t? You can get very sick. With severe health risks attributed to drug withdrawal, it begs the question, “Is stopping at home the best idea?” For some, the comfort of their surroundings may be the motivation they need to stop the drugs, but for others, a more hands-on, structured approach will be the remedy they need to quit using. No one is the same, and a different approach will benefit some while failing others.

Even drugs like marijuana can cause health issues that need to be addressed during detox, and being at home will not provide that kind of care. There are many risks of attempting this process at home, and immediate medical care that could be provided in a hospital-like setting will be delayed if you’re at home. 

In medical detox, clinicians can provide medications that will alleviate the worst symptoms of withdrawal. In the event of rehab from benzos, the staff will provide you with other benzos that counteract the withdrawals and stop you from having seizures. If you are serious about trying detox from home, here are some things to consider.

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The only time an at-home detox should be implemented is if a medical professional has approved the process. If you are dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction, you may not be in the right frame of mind to attempt something of this magnitude without the supervision of professionals. Trying to detox alone without a doctor can have repercussions, and in some cases, end up being fatal.

A safe at-home detox will begin with a medical professional’s blessing. You must consult with an addiction specialist who can guide you through the process. The specialist can provide you with a thorough assessment of your status and the potential risks you will be facing. You will be asked questions that include:

  • How long have you been using drugs?
  • How frequent were your doses?
  • Are you currently under the influence of any substance?
  • Are there any mental health conditions that you have?
  • Have you attempted to stop using drugs in the past?
  • Do you have support at home?

For your detox to be effective, you must answer the questions as honestly and to the best of your knowledge as possible. The answers will dictate your level of care and be your guide toward success.

Health Risks

The mind and body can acclimate to the use of drugs very quickly, and unfortunately, it will not adjust back to normal as easily. When the substances you relied on for normalcy disappears, the brain and body will try to return to a normal level of functioning, and when this occurs, withdrawal symptoms can develop. For many drugs, this can be life-threatening. 

Alcohol withdrawal is often associated with complications during the rehab process, and these symptoms include heart rate abnormalities and seizures. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends anyone with moderate-to-severe alcoholism must receive help from a qualified treatment facility. The health problems that you can experience could require immediate medical care that you will not have access to at home. If the symptoms are neglected, they can lead to seizures or death. If you are ready to get help, you shouldn’t risk your life in the process. 

A hand stopping a chain of dominoes from falliing.

Risk of Relapse

While the health risks that can arise during withdrawal should be considered, there is still another factor that should be thought of when attempting an at-home detox. Those who try an at-home detox do not experience the same recovery rates than people who get help from the professionals. Addiction specialists dedicate their lives to developing the best practices and how to cope with this disease, and with that, those who recover at home are much more prone to relapse than those who attend formal treatment.

Most detox programs offer medication that alleviates the physical and mental distress that is present during withdrawal, and that contributes to the prevention of reverting to drugs to relieve pain. When you don’t feel ill, it helps you to follow the therapy program implemented by the medical detox team. Supervision has also been said to play a role in this process, and when trained medical professionals surround you throughout the day, you don’t have the opportunity to relapse. The constant attention and supervision can deter you from regressing to bad habits.

Seventy percent of those who attend around-the-clock care were free of drugs on discharge, whereas 37 percent in outpatient care.

The support offered in these facilities can help keep you on the right path toward recovery, and while attending the program, you will be away from the community that your drug use occurs. At-home detox may sound good in theory, but there is a lot to consider if sobriety is something you are taking seriously.

At-Home Detox Vs. Traditional Treatment

At-home detox can seem like the solution to your problem and make you feel like you’re on the road to recovery, but there are areas you cannot ignore. If you are using drugs like barbiturates, alcohol, benzodiazepines, or sedative-hypnotics, detoxing at home may not be the best solution. The withdrawals are dangerous, and the statistics back up its effectiveness. Someone that is serious about getting sober and wants to save their life should not risk harming themselves by doing this on their own.Traditional treatment has decades of data to back up its claims about how useful it can be. If you want a safe and efficient way of getting sober, your best option is to attend a professional treatment facility. At-home detox does not offer the relief or supervision that you will receive from at-home detox.


Alcohol withdrawal: MedlinePlusMedical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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