Staying home is often the best idea when someone feels ill or under the weather. The surroundings are familiar, the family is there to help, and the space just seems comforting and appropriate. However, when that illness comes about due to an addiction and the need to detox, the home could be the worst place in which to heal. Here’s why.
Some drugs cause serious medical distress during the detoxification phase. For example, according to Psychology Today, alcohol detox can cause severe symptoms that lead to a medical emergency. Some of theses symptoms, that can appear in just a few hours after the last drink include:
- Severe confusion
- Mood swings
- Increase in blood pressure
- Racing heart
- “DTs” —delirium tremens
- Cardiovascular collapse
These symptoms can become their most severe up to 72 hours after the last drink and last for several weeks.1 This happens because brain cells that have long been sedated wake up in a hurry when alcohol is removed. That’s why trying to detox on your own at home can be dangerous.
The Role of Detox
The Mayo Clinic describes detox as a time that enables the addicted person to stop taking his or drug of choice as quickly and safely as possible. Each type of drug requires a different approach which is why medically supervised detox in a rehab facility or hospital is so important.2 By detoxing in a safe way, the person struggling with addiction gives his body the opportunity to rid itself of the drug, setting the stage for addiction treatment.3 And beginning rehab in this way decreases the risk of relapse and greatly increases the likelihood of treatment success.
At-home detox can also be dangerous simply because it’s too easy to relapse. When a person is at home, that sense of sobriety is vulnerable. It’s too easy to:
- Order drugs online
- Buy alcohol at the store
- Beg or borrow drugs from friends
- Buy drugs from street dealers
All of the methods the person once used in order to get drugs are still available in the early days of recovery. And the urge to use drugs can be absolutely overwhelming. People might feel as though they simply have no choice in the matter, and that they must get their hands on drugs as quickly as they can. When a deep craving for drugs is paired with the ease of getting drugs, a relapse is more likely.
Inpatient facilities are different. Here, people have access to a variety of therapeutic techniques that can help them to manage their cravings, including medications and support groups. And unlike fighting the battle at home, those who struggle don’t have the ability to buy drugs, as those substances aren’t allowed on the grounds of the facility. For people with a low level of motivation to recover, going into an inpatient detox might mean finally beginning a life of recovery, rather than falling back into bad habits.
Finding Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
At Michael’s House, we offer a medically supervised detoxification process in our stabilization center with the help of consulting physicians. Here, we provide medications, therapy and more in order to help each patient get and stay sober. When the detox process is complete, our patients can learn more about the steps they should take to preserve their sobriety through our treatment program. Our techniques work. Call our toll-free helpline now to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options. We’re here for you 24 hours a day.
1 Taite, Richard. “Medically Supervised Alcohol Detox Aids Alcoholism Recovery.” Psychology Today. 18 Nov. 2013.
2 “Drug addiction (Substance use disorder).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 Oct. 2017.
3 “Alcohol Addiction Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Jan. 2018.
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