Detoxing from drugs or alcohol at home may seem like an easy option, but choosing to detox alone comes with severe risks. Substances like opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines and other drugs can cause health complications that require constant monitoring from trained medical professionals. Safety should always be your top priority when it comes to detoxing, and receiving care in a professional setting is the best way to ensure everything goes smoothly during your recovery.
Dangers of At-Home Drug or Alcohol Detox
The risks of detoxing at home are numerous. In some cases, self-detox from alcohol can be deadly. Almost 16 million people try to combat a drug or alcohol addiction every year in the United States. Anywhere from seven to 25 percent of sufferers die as a result of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The potentially fatal portion of alcohol detox is called delirium tremens, and can pose an enormous risk for those who used to consume a large amount of alcohol every day. Other complications associated with severe alcohol withdrawal include seizures, acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome and psychiatric issues that can lead to erratic and risky behavior.
While specific detox symptoms vary, all withdrawals will involve some degree of:
- Muscle aches
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Dilated pupils and poor vision
- Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
Detoxing From Drugs or Alcohol at Home Is Not Safe
Although alcohol represents the riskiest substance when it comes to self-detox, other drugs can pose significant dangers as well. Withdrawal symptoms associated with prescription opioid addiction can initially include muscle aches, anxiety, insomnia and sweating. As the detox process continues, withdrawal symptoms can turn into abdominal cramping, pain, severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Detoxing from benzodiazepines can be life-threatening if done at home. Some symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal — seizures, coma, delirium tremens and catatonia — can be fatal.
When detoxing from drugs or alcohol, one of the safest and most effective options is Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT. Medication-Assisted Treatment utilizes prescription medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Other effective addiction therapy services include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based sobriety, group therapy, motivational interviewing, and acceptance and commitment therapy.
Don’t Detox Alone — Get Help at Gateway
Detoxing under the supervision of medical professionals can make withdrawal symptoms more manageable and prevent potentially fatal side effects. At Gateway, we offer inpatient treatment services for those undergoing drug or alcohol detox. Treatments that address the multiple needs of an individual, not just their substance abuse issues, are incredibly effective when it comes to remaining sober for the long-term.
Our caring team of professionals combine evidence-based therapy services with holistic treatment options to help you get back on track — and stay there. We also utilize medically supervised withdrawal management protocols to safely guide our patients through the recovery process when detoxing from drugs or alcohol.
Contact Gateway today to receive withdrawal management services throughout the full continuum of care at our facilities.