Dangers of Detoxing at Home

Today, almost everyone talks of detox without worrying about the dangers of detoxing at home. There are so many ads on the internet promising to help you get rid of all toxins that have accumulated in your body after a long period of alcohol or drug use. With all the “home remedies” and discussion forums out there, it is easy to assume detox is a simple process. 

For starters, the extensive use and advertisement of detox programs make it seem like every type of detox is right for your body. However, this is wrong. Detoxing from alcohol and drugs is a much-involving process than a simple colon cleanse or DIY process to remove water and excess fat cannot provide. Sure, a detox from junk food and other substances might affect your muscles and cause a change in weight. However, the toxins from alcohol and drugs affect your mental and physical health differently than foods you eat every day. As such, a medical detox should only be sought from a licensed medical facility.  

Under medical supervision, it will be highly unlikely that you will give in to drugs or alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Read on to learn more. 

Why Do People Detox At Home?

A large number of addicts are assumed of their alcohol or drug use tendencies. As such, to avoid enrolling in a medical facility or interacting with medical professionals, they attempt to detox at home. In some cases, you might consider that it is much more affordable to detox at home. However, when you consider the dangers of detoxing without following a strict detox program, detoxing at home might cost you much more than you save using detox products at home.

asian man smoking a cigarette looking distressed

What substances are most dangerous to try to self-detox?

Withdrawing from alcohol cold turkey is one of the most dangerous detox mistakes. If partying has become a nonstop affair where you drink and abuse drugs regularly, then detox is the first step in gaining back control of your life. However, if you quit alcohol suddenly because you have the will to do so, the risks can end up being life-threatening. You will have the normal hangover that you can handle, but that is not all. Sudden alcohol cessation can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as hallucinations, convulsions, heart seizures, and even death in severe cases. Anyone with a serious alcohol addiction problem should never consider quitting cold turkey as the risks might be fatal. 

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous addictions to detox from. But it’s not the only substance that presents dangers of detoxing at home. Other substances include heroin, benzodiazepines, and meth. If you have developed a dependence on any substance to the point that you cannot go a day without that substance, consider it dangerous to detox at home.

Detox “kits,” drinks, and cleanse scams

A drug detox kit does not set you up for recovery. Instead, it helps you cheat your body (and the system) that you are free of drugs. The kits come in the form of pills, liquid, or a combination of the two. The most common kits are for alcohol and THC from marijuana. Most of the kits promise to cleanse your body and help you get rid of toxins within a day — some promise to help you pass any drug test.

The truth is, these kits might help you pass drug tests. They are ideal when you need a quick-fix, or an easy way out that leads you back to drugs. After using these detox kits or drugs, they will show in drug test screens as suspicious substances, or you might even appear clean. In fact, many drug tests these days can detect these false drug “pass” scams. What’s even worse, after a few days of this “detox” kit, you will likely be back to using alcohol and substances.  

The difference between these detox kits and medical detox is that the latter happens under supervision. Medically-supervised detox involves more than detox. It is a complete journey to the start of recovery. Here, you will receive fluid, medications, nutritional supplements, and anything else you need to recover fully. Getting past the initial withdrawal symptoms can be the hardest part. With medical help, these painful side effects from withdrawal can be eased and monitored for your safety.

How To Safely Detox From Alcohol And Drugs

If you still feel you absolutely need to detox at home, seek the help or advice of a medical professional. Even as you do so, stopping drinking or using drugs should be gradual. Weaning off is safer, but unfortunately harder to do. That’s why it’s crucial to enter a facility that can help you through this process. 

The first thing you need to do is to get rid of all alcohol and drugs from the house. You also need to clear your schedule for a few weeks and focus on the detox. Being free of work is essential for the success of the detox. With the help of a professional, you can focus on ditching your substance use disorders. Under medical care, you also reduce the risk of relapse. 

blue plate with the word "DETOX" on it in scrabble blocks

During the detox period, you will experience symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, and nausea. These feelings are severe immediately after you quit alcohol and substances. They may limit your ability to eat. As such, you need to drink a lot of fluids as that will help you get rid of toxins and rehydrate your body.

Besides drinking a lot of water, ensure you eat a balanced diet to avoid most of the dangers of detoxing at home. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. Again, in a treatment center, you will get medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. At home, there are some vitamins you can take to help remove toxins. Foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, E, and calcium will help. 

Safe Detox Increases Chance of Long-Term Recovery

If at-home detox does not harm your health, it ends up incomplete. The incomplete nature presents the risk of relapse. Repeated relapses tend to come with severer withdrawal symptoms if you ever try detoxing again, this is called the kindling phenomenon. If you try self-detox several times without following a licensed detox program, you create a potential chain of reaction that makes the symptoms worse with each trial you make.

According to a study on addiction, addicts who received substance abuse treatment from professionals were less likely to relapse. The study found that up to 60.5% of those who did not receive treatment from a treatment center ended up using alcohol and substances. For those who received treatment from a treatment center, only 43% relapsed.

The risk of relapse is greatly reduced when you seek help for drug or alcohol use disorder from a treatment center. The program you go through at the treatment center does not focus on detox alone. To achieve long term results, the centers engage you in therapy, support, coping strategies, and much more to help you stay away from alcohol and substance use completely.  

Where To Find A Medical Detox Facility

You can go to a hospital for medical detox as an inpatient addict. You can also attend a licensed outpatient or residential treatment center near your home. These treatment facilities offer medically-supervised detox programs that are ideal for those with chronic addiction problems. Anyone with a less severe addiction problem can seek treatment from outpatient facilities. These facilities offer different services and have different structured programs. 

two people having a conversation near a bright sunny window

When picking a treatment center, consider core specialties, facilities available, price range, and level of services. You can start by using a Treatment Facility Locator, a database tool designed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA. On the database, select your state and then click “Detailed Search.” You can choose a treatment center based on your income, detox services you need, payment assistance, and much more. The database will show you which treatment center offers the exact type of service you need. 

Besides using the database, you can ask for a referral from your primary physician. Alternatively, call SAMHSA Referral helpline 1-800-662-HELP. While seeking help, the essential point to remember is that it is not safe to attempt self-detox at home for alcohol and drugs.

Get Help Today

The longer you have used alcohol and drugs, the more challenging it is to detox. However, addiction treatment is possible and safe only with the guidance or supervision of a licensed professional. When you start experiencing delirium tremens, convulsions, and breathing difficulties, none of the products you buy will help. As such, avoid the dangers of detoxing at home and visit a treatment center today. A detox kit only gives you a temporary solution, but medical detox gets you clean and keeps you that way.

If you want to learn more about a drug or alcohol detox center, call us at Opus Health