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Is it Safe to Detox at Home? See a doctor to evaluate if you need drug and alcohol detox.

Is it Safe to Detox at Home?

May 12, 2022

Detox is an essential first step toward recovery. But is it safe to detox at home or do you need professional help? Before choosing to detox, it’s imperative to understand how the process works and what risks may be involved. Your comfort and safety should be among the factors in the decision-making.

The choice to detox at home might come from a familiarity with the setting, a sense of privacy, and a belief that you should be able to end drug or alcohol use independently. Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not ensure the outcome of an unassisted detox will be successful or safe. Even family members offering support won’t be able to provide the level of care that comes from medical professionals.

Understanding the Effects of Drug Withdrawal

Over time, continued substance use creates a physical dependence in the body, and tolerance of a particular drug increases. As a result, you may begin to use higher amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect.

The level and duration of use play a role in the withdrawal process. As the body begins to intake smaller amounts of the chemicals, or none at all, physical symptoms start to appear. These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to serious medical risks. To learn if it’s safe to detox at home, let’s look at the common symptoms of alcohol and opioid withdrawal.

We can also help you safely detox from stimulants and prescription drugs, including:

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Within Six Hours

  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

After 12 Hours

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

After 48 Hours

  • Confusion
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Within 12 Hours of Last Dose

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Goosebumps
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Widened (dilated) pupils
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Belly cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Shaking
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Substances with High Risks During Withdrawal

The answer to whether it is safe to go through withdrawals from home depends on the substances used. Some substances have high risks of withdrawal and are potentially life-threatening. Percocet detox for example is very dangerous when done without supervision. Detoxing at home from these types of substances is strongly discouraged. Even if the outcome isn’t fatal, it can have severe medical consequences.

The high-risk list of substances includes prescription opioids, heroin, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. As a part of a medically supervised program, patients withdrawing from one of these substances may be administered treatment medications. Crystal meth detox can also have severe symptoms, so this medical supervision is a valuable first step in getting on a path toward healing.

Other Factors for Withdrawal Symptoms

The severity of withdrawal symptoms can also be influenced by the length of time a person used the substance, the average dose used, and how frequently they took the drug. In addition, the following factors may contribute to withdrawal symptoms.

  • Mixing of multiple substances
  • Gender
  • Body chemistry
  • Genetic makeup
  • How the substance was administered (swallowed, snorted, injected, etc.)

The Process of Detoxification

During a detoxification period, the body eliminates all traces of drugs or alcohol through natural processes. The length of the process can vary from person to person and the substance used. For example, a person with alcohol use disorder may notice fewer withdrawal symptoms after a week of alcohol detox. On the other hand, someone going through oxycodone detox may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for two weeks or more. Heroin detox symptoms are highly uncomfortable but our medical professionals make sure your symptoms are carefully managed, and a comfortable withdrawal can be achieved.

The detoxification process can have serious physical side effects, like with methadone detoxification, dehydration and infection are common. It can also lead to mental health and emotional changes. You may process information more slowly, have trouble concentrating, experience a weaker sense of judgment, struggle to remember things, and notice a difference in sensitivity to sound, light, and tactile input. Emotionally, you may feel irritable, lonely, or depressed. You may feel intense cravings as well.

The body’s dependence on the substance makes it extremely challenging for you to relax or sleep, creating a feeling of desperation for alcohol or drugs. In some extreme cases, like with opioids, these symptoms can last weeks.

Advantages of Medical Supervision

First and foremost, medical supervision ensures patients safely and comfortably experience withdrawal as their symptoms will be managed 24/7. This increases the patient’s chances of starting and staying in recovery. Benzodiazepine detox has a “taper-off” plan to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms.

Another advantage of medically supervised addiction recovery programs is the ability to treat co-occurring physical and mental health concerns. Treatment of severe depression, for instance, allows a patient to have mental health needs met while under the medical team’s care. This holistic approach is the most effective way to ensure a patient is ready for the recovery work ahead. Depression can also be a withdrawal symptom in cocaine detox. We can help you withdraw from cocaine or other drugs safely with research-based interventions tailored to your unique needs.

Medically-supervised detox provides an opportunity for undiagnosed mental health disorders to be discovered. A patient who has relapsed frequently may not have received an underlying mental health diagnosis. The medical team can create a personalized care plan for a patient as they navigate the next steps of inpatient or outpatient programs. Ambien detox, for example, may also produce intense psychological side effects in the absence of physical withdrawal symptoms.

Restored Path’s Solution

Restored Path is DFW’s premier location for medically supervised alcohol and drug detox in Dallas. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified nursing team have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your addiction recovery program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: (469) 827-0000.

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