Pros And Cons of Detoxing at Home

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Seeking addiction treatment will mostly start with medical detox. This is a natural treatment process that occurs in your body to eliminate toxins caused by a prolonged alcohol use.  

The addiction treatment programme incorporates a medical detox in the first few days of the treatment, and this can take place either at home, through a self-detox, or a t a professional rehab facility. 

Whichever way you decide to detox, ensure that you have a team of licensed medical professionals to take you through the treatment options, and the whole detox programme. 

The reason behind this is that the withdrawal process from alcohol is normally accompanied by many health issues in the early stages, which is why it must be supervised carefully. 

Its setting, therefore, is normally accompanied by medications and serious therapy for the individual and their family members as well.  

The team you choose should be able to provide the complete assessment including mental health assessment and be on the lookout throughout the alcohol detoxification period in case you encounter severe and unwanted mental health effects including dangerous symptoms. 

Please note that detox will only work when accompanied with on-going treatment for alcohol abuse, as this is the only way that many individuals benefit and are able to maintain their sobriety for longer. 

There are numerous group support systems that one can join, which help with a successful detox. Most rehab facilities will be able to organize a complete package for drug and alcohol home detox programme. 

The Benefits of Home Detox 

So, if you choose home detox, here are some of the benefits of this option: 

Immediate start 

A home detox happens in the comfort of your home. This becomes the detox facility where the detox process and other detox programs will take place.  

The beauty of this is that you do not have to wait for a spot to open up so you can begin your detox, because you are already at home, and you are ready for the detox program to begin. 

It is safe 

When the detox program is done under the supervision of a skilled medical professional, it is quite safe and the medication they have on hand will help you alleviate the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.  

This specific treatment option with medical professionals is designed to accommodate the withdrawal process from alcohol and other drugs, which means that you shouldn't worry too much. 

Your body will essentially re-balance and in order to remove toxins, you have to be patient with the process and accept the side effects. 

The reason why you will have extreme symptoms is because of the discomfort you put your body under when you quit alcohol intake cold turkey. 

It is highly convenient 

Well, you do not need to pack up and go to a residential detox facility for detox, which means that being at home is quite convenient for anyone.  

You will not be isolated, and therefore you can resume your daily activities and live a normal life with home-based care. Detoxing at home allows you to carry on with work, family and other activities you are used to. 

It is affordable 

You cannot compare the cost of an at home medical detox method to that of a detox facility. They cannot even compare.  

This is because a medical detox at a treatment facility or a detox facility involves; room and board, round the clock treatment, balanced diet, and many other activities that quickly ring up the bill. 

It is confidential 

Nobody has to know that you are going through self-detox, because you are doing it at home. Your relationships will not suffer as a result of your absence, neither will you job and other commitments. 

Most clinics that support a self detox will also sign a waiver promising that they will not disclose any of your information to anybody. 

It provides a supportive environment 

Just because you are doing a self detox at home doesn't mean that you should go at it alone. You must look for a few friends and family members to help you through the process.  

They should be willing to organize for you the required detox diets, that should contain whole grains, Vitamin C, fruits and vegetables, Vitamins and minerals, and healthy foods and drinks such as ice pops and that help keep you hydrated during detox. 

These are the same people to ensure that there is no processed foods in the house while you are detoxing.

You have also probably already heard about the benefits of a detox process other than quitting alcohol, but the act that it will promote great energy, easy weight loss and a rebalanced lifestyle. 

On-going care 

Detox programs have many pros and cons, but one important con is the fact that even after detox, you will receive a lot of support for your drugs and alcohol abuse problems and ensure that you benefit from the ongoing support from the care clinic. 

Also, in case of any recovery complications, you can quickly receive inpatient care at the emergency room before it gets worse. 

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Cons Of Home Detox Treatment 

Yes, every detoxing plan has pros and cons, and the cons for alcohol home detox are actually pretty serious.  

This is because, the process of removing drugs and alcohol toxins from the body is accompanied by some serious consequences for you, and you will need to be extra careful when going through this process.  

But, before we look at these dangerous consequences, here are some limitations to this detoxing process:  

Close proximity to alcohol 

Being at home means that you are controlling yourself, and only a high level of discipline will bring in success.  

You are not only close to the alcohol, but you can also go out and buy some more if you like.

There are also likely to be triggers all over that led to your drugs and alcohol addiction, which means that it will take plenty of willpower to go through detoxing at home. 

The recovery process is very tough, and you really do not need all of the reminders to drink around you. 

This is why an inpatient detox facility is highly recommended for anyone struggling to quit alcohol addiction.

It can be tough on your mental health 

Being at home means that you are close to your friends, and family members, but most of all triggers that caused you to start drinking in the first place. 

This can cause some very serious implications to you mentally, especially if your family and friends are still abusing alcohol. 

Risk of relapse 

This is one of the most significant risks for an unsupervised home detox. Relapse is easy to happen when you are at home, because dealing with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms is no joke, especially when there is no medication to take you through the process, and you are not committed enough to it. 

The detox program can be quite overwhelming for anyone, and when you are at home, you can easily retreat and find yourself consuming the alcohol you are desperately trying to withdraw from.  

Now, depending on the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms, choosing treatment program or recovery program at home can challenging.  

Risk of overdose 

Although a home detox is normally a short process, it takes quite a toll on your body and the withdrawal symptoms can be hard to deal with.

You may find yourself overdosing on the medications, in a bid to rid yourself of the effects on your body. 

During this time, it is wise to concentrate more on the benefits of a healthy diet.

Look for carbohydrate stores that will sell you energy building foods, vitamins, and vegetables to give your body health and strength for the detoxing recovery process. 

Likely Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms 

Treatment for addiction will cause some severe signs and symptoms six weeks after your last drink. These are referred to as - Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome or AWS.

They are a sort of "hangover," when you stop drinking, and are characterized by: 

  • Shakiness 
  • Headache. 
  • Vomiting. 
  • Nausea. 
  • Sweating. 
  • Ill-health. 
  • Weight loss. 
  • Depression. 
  • Insomnia 

They can feel really bad, but in actual sense they are manageable and can be experienced even when you treat your addiction at an inpatient clinic.

The problem only occurs if you are not under medical supervision, and hence lead to complications.  

Alcohol Withdrawal Complications 

There is a more intense side to the withdrawal symptoms which can start to emerge between hour 12 and 24 after the last alcoholic drink.  

These complications will include hallucinations and seizures that are indicative of an intense recovery process as the toxins are leaving your body. 

Normally, people who go through have abused drug and alcohol for a very long time, and they have also ignored their diet. 

They addition was quite intense, and the body is also trying to fight for health in the process. As mentioned earlier, detox is not easy and requires a set mind. 

The more serious complication is known as Delirium Tremens or DTs, and this can be described as the sudden changes in the nervous and mental status during detox programs and can occur when someone has a history of very heavy addiction to drugs.  

The symptoms will begin around two days after you stopped taking the drug or alcohol in the detoxing and recovery process. 

Signs of DTs 

  • Irritability and agitation 
  • Sudden confusion 
  • Bouts of sleep that can last more than a day 
  • Hallucinations. 
  • High Sensitivity. 
  • Mood swings. 
  • Stupor 
  • Poor health. 

There are specific medications used to treat this condition, but this must be administered as soon as possible. 

If you especially experience any seizures, you must go to the emergency room immediately, so they can administer the right medication for you to recover and not turn fatal. 

Treating Alcohol Symptoms at Home 

Treating the effects of addiction from drug and alcohol is not easy and requires one to be committed to the cause.  

Detox programs take a toll on your body, and therefore you will have some serious effects that can include heart failure.  

Here are some options: 

Tapering 

This refers to deciding to take the alcohol detox process step by step, instead of quitting cold turkey. When alcohol detox is done instantly, it will affect your body negatively. 

Treatment for addiction, done either at home or at a detox facility should be approached slowly, and tapering means decreasing your alcoholic intake a little at a time, rather than abruptly. 

However, this is not necessary when at a detox facility, because they have the required medication to deal with any way the body reacts to the treatment. 

Make time 

Make time for treatment. Just because you are attempting alcohol detox at home, doesn't mean that you shouldn't concentrate on it. 

Take time off work and allocate a few weeks to it. 

Eat healthy 

A good diet is a healthy diet, and it is the key to avoiding weight loss during the addiction treatment. Your diet should consist of all required nutrients required to make the recovery easy on your body. 

When you are strong and healthy, the treatment will not overwhelm you at all. Take your diet very seriously and make use of all the detox diets available. 

Rehydrating 

Keep your body well hydrated. The process of addiction treatment through detox gets rid of unwanted toxins from your body, which can easily cause you to become dehydrated. 

Have enough water, juice or ice pops that can quickly replenish you when you lose too much water. This is one of the reasons why alcohol detox causes fatigue and headaches, when one is not well hydrated. 

This is part of the detox diets that must be followed during the medical detox process. 

Replenishing your electrolytes 

Well, your body is not just losing water during the alcohol detox. You are also losing important electrolytes.  

The withdrawal process during recovery will need you to look for some needed nutrients and vitamins, which that will help replenish this. Drinking sports drinks containing electrolytes also helps. 

Most detox diets will give you options for this when going through the alcohol detox at home. 

Relax 

Focus more on relaxation during the alcohol detox recovery process. With a good diet, the withdrawal symptoms will not be too serious, which means that you can finally relax and not stress yourself. 

Do yoga, medication, or deep breathing exercises. 

Support 

Alcohol detox and recovery is not easy. You need to have a very strong support system near you in order to succeed.  

These people will keep you sane throughout the process and especially the withdrawal symptoms. They will also keep watch, ensuring that you are eating a healthy diet each day. 

Do not assume that alcohol detox is easy. Get as much help as you can get through this. 

Get help 

If you happen to start experiencing some severe symptoms such as vomiting, high fevers and seizures. Seek medical attention immediately.

These withdrawal symptoms from alcohol detox can be fatal if they are not addressed immediately. 

Conclusion 

Alcohol addiction cannot be cured without a good alcohol detox programme.

This is the first step, and detox from alcohol has to be done the right way, ensuring that you are following all of the detox diets and any other diet that has been specified by the professionals. 

As you can see, doing a home detox has got its own pros and cons, and although it is considered dangerous, it can still be a successful option instead of going to a detox facility when you are tied up at home.  

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

Last Updated: November 3, 2021

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.