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detox FAQs

Is it possible to home detox off drugs and alcohol?

Home detox is nothing new, and most addicts attempt to detox at home before they seek out any professional treatment. However, when relapse happens while detoxing at home, the relapse does tend to be worse, and there are increased risks of a drug overdose. Someone who wants to get sober without feeling ill or dealing with other withdrawal symptoms may attempt to taper off the drugs they are using. This is not always easy, but when an addict does try to do this, it will be at home. The addict may purchase a home detox kit, such as products that claim to ease the path to recovery. These types of remedies include herbs, vitamins, and supplements that are advertised to help with a home detox. However, many of these products rarely do what they claim, and an addict detoxing at home struggles to get over the hump of their detox.

Many addicts attempt self-detox at some point, but very few have success with it. If you decide to detox at home, it is crucial to take the proper steps. Initially, you should speak with a healthcare provider and seek out some medical help or advice. They may prescribe medication to help you through the detox. If this is the case, you should not be the one to manage the medication as it is likely a narcotic drug to alleviate withdrawal pain. Before you start the detox, you should have the proper support available, such as family or friends. Doing a detox on your own with no help will not work out well, and you will increase your chance for a relapse. You should next remove all the alcohol and drugs from your home. This is not always an obvious step for an addict because of that fear of needing something to take the edge off. This is also a good reason why having support is vital to help you clear the house of drugs and alcohol.

It is essential to clear your schedule if you are still working or have other commitments in your life. It will be challenging to make it through detox when you are distracted by your job and other responsibilities. During the detox, you will want to focus on hydration because any drug detox causes various symptoms. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Within the first 24 to 72 hours most severe symptoms have subsided, but staying hydrated is essential and your consulting doctor will likely mention the same thing. You should also work with your family doctor about what your diet should be and if you should take any vitamins or minerals that you are not sure about for detox. Going through with a home detox does increase the risk of unwanted psychological effects, dangerous physical health problems, lack of medication, which means limited symptom relief, and the increased possibility of a relapse. If you have access to a detox program, this would be the better option to consider.

Residential Detox Does Tend to Be More Effective

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among people aged 12 or older, 1.5% received any substance use treatment out of the 20.4 million people with a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, for many people, accessing treatment is not easy because their insurance may not cover what is needed, they may not afford it, or the family cannot convince their loved one to attend detox and rehabilitation. Residential detox includes medical detox providers and standard detox providers, which are all most inpatient services. Detoxification, in itself, does not constitute complete substance abuse treatment.

A residential detox is usually the first step for addicts before they receive further counseling and therapy. The detox process consists of three essential components, per SAMHSA, which are evaluation, stabilization, and fostering patient readiness for and entry into substance abuse treatment. Overall, detox can take place in a wide variety of settings and several intensity levels. Placement for detox should be appropriate to the patient’s needs. However, residential detox does tend to be more effective, especially for more serious cases of withdrawal.

Family Intervention and Planning Detox and Treatment

Convincing someone they need help is not easy, and it is challenging to help a loved one struggling with any type of addiction. A direct heart-to-heart conversation may not be enough, and a more direct approach is needed. Family intervention and hiring a professional interventionist is the best method for a family to consider. People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about the problem and will not accept help. Family intervention persuades them to accept treatment by showing them how their addiction has impacted their life and the lives of the family.

In addition, an intervention presents a loved one with a structured opportunity to make positive changes before things get even worse, and it motivates them to accept treatment. Usually, a family intervention begins with speaking to or hiring an expert. Next, the family and those involved make a plan, gather information, form the intervention team, decide on consequences, and hold the intervention. Certified interventionists prepare the family for everything that may happen and continue to work with them while their loved one is in treatment.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.) Executive Summary. Available from:

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