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Ask Horizon: Can you detox from drugs at home?

DetoxAnswer: The question isn’t can you detox at home, but do you have the support systems in place to help? And are you prepared for what you or someone you love may go through?

Preparing for Detox

According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), detoxification, or detox, is the process of ridding the body of the harmful toxins found in drugs such as heroin, Vicodin, cocaine, and alcohol. This will help break the cycle of addiction to drugs, because the addict has to overcome a physical dependence on the substance.

Unfortunately, overcoming that dependence can be mentally and physically difficult. Common symptoms experienced during detox include:

  • Chills or excessive sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, anxiety and confusion
  • Loss of appetite and vomiting
  • Obsessive thoughts of using
  • Pain and muscle aches

Sometimes the symptoms will get worse and include seizures, severe depression or thoughts of suicide, vomiting blood, or blood in stools or urine. At this point, the addict would need medical attention immediately. Also, the addict should never be left alone, in case the need to use again becomes overwhelming or vomiting leads to choking and aspiration.

If you feel you can handle watching someone you love go through the discomforts and pain of detox, make sure you have approval from a doctor or other medical professional. Find out whether you can contact them with questions at any time throughout the process and determine where you should seek help in person if needed.

At-Home Detoxification

One of the reasons for detoxing at home is that being in the familiarity of the home environment may be helpful. And many people don’t want to take daily trips to a clinic.

Also, there are new drugs such as Suboxone that can be self-administered in the home and are less likely to be abused by addicts, as methadone can be, for example.

That being said, we don’t necessarily recommend going this alone or at home. Here’s why…

Detoxing With an Addiction Treatment Program

When detox takes place under the care of medical professionals, there is a higher level of support and supervision to help the addict avoid relapse and deal with the pain and discomfort of withdrawal.

Most addiction treatment programs will determine what type of detox is most appropriate, depending on which substance has been abused and for how long. And treatment plan should be created, although it can be reassessed and amended throughout your recovery process.

In Western New York, one in-house/residential option for detox is Horizon Village Terrace House. Patients are medically supervised and medically monitored 24 hours a day during withdrawal and stabilization. Patients also receive counseling, and screening for other mental or physical health problems. They learn how to avoid returning to using mood-altering substances during their recovery and receive assistance with finding ongoing recovery support once detox has been completed.

If you would like to discuss detox options further, please don’t hesitate to call Horizon Health Services at 716.831-1800.