When it is clear that drug use or alcohol abuse is a problem, the natural inclination is to assume that the best way to address the issue is simply to stop using all substances. This impulse is correct; abstinence is the best policy in the face of addiction. However, it is far easier said than done. Addiction is not a willpower issue, thus it cannot be effectively treated with a mental – or emotional – decision to stop. In fact, attempting an at-home detox in this manner is not only ineffective when drug dependence is the issue, but it can be a dangerous choice, as well.
Some of the risks of an at-home detox include:
- Relapse. Detox is not a comfortable or easy experience. Defined by physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that vary in type and intensity based on the drug or drugs of choice, detox is a challenging process. Given the knowledge that all it takes to make all the physical discomfort, agitation, and cravings end is a dose of the drug of choice, many simply cannot get through to the end without relapsing based on willpower alone.
- Overdose. Even if the attempted detox period is brief, the body can recalibrate during this time. What was a normal dose that created a high prior to the at-home detox attempt can suddenly become an overwhelming overdose due to the changes in the body. Without professional care, this can be deadly.
- Mental health issues. It’s normal for people to experience agitation, irritability, paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health symptoms related to detox, but for those who are living with an underlying mental health disorder, mental health issues that co-occur with addiction can worsen significantly and become overwhelming during detox.
- Medical complications. Similarly, underlying medical conditions can become problematic during detox. In some cases, patients don’t realize that they have any medical concerns to watch out for because they began during active addiction and have not yet been diagnosed. In other cases, otherwise manageable chronic medical issues create complications during detox.
The Benefits of Medical Detox
A professional medical detox offers patients a wide range of supportive assistance including medical and psychiatric care that can prevent or protect against the issues listed above. There is no guarantee that a detox in any context will not result in things like medical complications or mental health issues but when these problems occur at a detox program, patients have access to the treatment they need to manage these issues safely. Medical and psychiatric professionals are standing by to monitor patients from the moment that they enter the program, providing medication and stabilization as needed initially and throughout the process of detox.
Also, the risk of relapse at a professional detox is far lower than when patients attempt an at-home detox. As long as patients opt to stay in the program, they should be able to avoid relapse and thus avoid possible overdose or other medical emergencies that would result.
Additionally, the therapeutic support of the substance abuse treatment specialists at the detox program and the peer support of other patients who are going through the same thing make choosing a professional detox the best possible option for recovery. There’s simply no substitute for the comprehensive, around-the-clock care provided by specialists or the ongoing support of likeminded peers.
Learn more about the benefits of professional detox from addictive substances when you contact us at the phone number listed above today. We can also connect you to a dual diagnosis treatment program that can address your addiction and any co-occurring mental health issues. Call now.
Further Reading About What Are the Risks of At-Home Detox?
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.