Millions of people have struggled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Although treating a substance use disorder is a great thing, there are risks associated with doing an at-home detox. Because their bodies become dependent on the substance and their brains rely on it to regulate their bodies and emotions, stopping the substance suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, which can be extremely uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening. To learn more about the detox process and the dangers of doing it at home, keep reading. 

What is Detox?

The detox process is often the first step an individual takes in their recovery from addiction. According to the Addiction Center, it is the process of clearing the body of any drugs or alcohol that an individual has consumed. On average, the detoxification process lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 days. Everyone’s experience with detox is different and can vary depending on the type of substance that was consumed and how long it was used. Some individuals may experience very mild withdrawal symptoms, others can experience dangerous and life-threatening symptoms during this process. 

The goal of the detoxification process is to minimize any negative effect of withdrawal symptoms, making the experience feel as comfortable and safe as possible. Research has shown that the most effective form of detox is one that is medically assisted and has been supported by trained professionals. 

There are two types of dependence that a person who has a substance use disorder may struggle with:

  • Psychological Dependence: When an individual struggles with a psychological dependency, they believe that they cannot go through life without the substance and they hold on to that belief. 
  • Physical Dependence: When a person struggles with a physical dependency, their actual body requires the substance in order to function. 

What are the Symptoms of Withdrawal in Detox?

Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, diarrhea, & vomiting
  • Shaking & Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Runny nose
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Exhaustion
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vivid & unpleasant dreams
  • Muscle & bone pain

Psychological withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Intense cravings for that substance
  • Inability to concentrate

In severe cases, an individual may experience hallucinations, delirium, and/or seizures. 

Is an Unsupervised At-Home Detox Dangerous?

Attempting to detox at home alone is highly unrecommended. Because it is not possible to know how severe your withdrawal symptoms will be until you’re in the midst of a withdrawal, you could be putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. In severe cases, individuals who experience delirium also tend to experience other dangerous symptoms, such as hallucinations, fever, seizures, and shallow breathing. 

Another risk for doing an at-home detox is that you are alone with no one to hold you accountable. Without someone checking in and holding you accountable, it can be very easy to return to your prior drug or alcohol use. 

Addiction Recovery at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centers

Detoxing at a professional treatment facility can provide you with support that you would not have doing an at-home detox. With a professional detox team, you can get help to manage your withdrawal symptoms, as well as managing your mental health symptoms. Another key benefit of using a professional treatment facility for detoxing is that our team of professionals will be there to oversee the entire process and address any concerns or problems, while keeping you safe from overdosing or relapsing. 

Here at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centers, our team of professionals understands that recovery is unique to everyone and will work with you to create a treatment plan that works best for you. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorders, treatment professionals are standing by to help with a variety of treatment options. Call or visit Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centers Today.