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Is Self-Detox Safe?

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Detox is the first and most crucial stage of one’s journey to sobriety. Whether an individual is beginning their recovery from drugs, alcohol, or any other kind of addictive substance or behavior, this initial phase can present many difficulties. With a flurry of mixing emotions, it is common to have reservations about attending a dedicated recovery facility, and one may entertain the idea of detoxing on their own. However, there is no true replacement for a detox program, and detoxing on one’s own comes with unnecessary risks and difficulties that may not be as prevalent in a dedicated facility. 

The Need to Detox

There is no path to sobriety that doesn’t first include the cessation of addictive substances. The detox phase is this initial cessation where an individual stops using drugs or consuming alcohol and allows their bodies to process and expel these toxic substances from their bodies. Embracing a new, sober lifestyle means first embracing a sober mind ready to explore new daily routines, therapeutic techniques, and a perspective free from the clouds of addictive substances. Learning new recovery strategies while still engaging with addictive substances can leave an individual ill-prepared to implement them in daily life, and create an inherent dissonance. First establishing a sober mind is crucial for embracing the mentality needed for a sustained sober lifestyle. 

Facing the Difficulties of Detox

However, while detox is essential for an effective recovery, it is also incredibly challenging. This phase can be the most uncomfortable for those beginning their transformative journey as it is riddled with new feelings and experiences, from the prevalence of anxiety to a myriad of various withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the body’s rapid readjustment to life without addictive substances and has physical, mental, and emotional ramifications. Some symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Panic

These symptoms are difficult and dangerous to cope with, and without dedicated, professional support, this phase of recovery can be tough to navigate. With the amount of stress that one’s mind and body are under during this time, educated support is necessary, especially if an individual may feel compelled to reengage with addictive substances to get these discomforts to stop. Between the emotional strain and physical changes happening concurrently, navigating time is a complicated affair. 

Real Dangers of Detox

Depending on the extent of one’s use, detox can also have more extreme repercussions, some of which require medical attention. The effects on an individual’s body can be incredibly intense, and those with a history of long-term, heavy use can find that withdrawal can even lead them to require the monitoring of a doctor. In extreme situations of alcohol use, delirium tremens can also set in, which is an intense, life-threatening situation that results from the body’s sudden cessation of alcohol. It is an incredibly dangerous form of alcohol withdrawal that comes with its additional symptoms, including hallucinations, stroke, seizures, or death. 

There is no way to know precisely how withdrawals will manifest in each individual, and it is difficult to prepare for its wide range of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. With those engaging in detox themselves about to undergo massive change and discomfort, coupled with the varying amount of education and support that one’s family or friends may or may not be able to provide, it can prove hazardous to attempt self-detox. Even the most researched supports may still be left ill-equipped to help cope with the more intense medical side-effects of self-detox. Denying oneself the proper outlets and support needed to navigate this time can only compromise their recovery in the future. 

The Need for Fundamental Change

Self-detox also does little to address the heart of changes that need to be made in recovery. Addiction is a disease that affects all facets of one’s life, from one’s worldview to professional life and even home environment. Detox requires that individuals separate themselves from the use of addictive substances and the lifestyle addiction encompasses. Removing oneself from familiar environments, social circles, or stressors that may remind one of their time using these substances is necessary to truly begin embracing a new life. Self-detox may not provide the necessary physical and emotional distance needed to process one’s sobriety in this new light. 

While self-detox may seem like an option to begin one’s journey to sobriety, embarking without the proper support is a challenging venture. Reaching out for professional help creates the best foundation to begin the journey towards a sustained, healthy, and sober lifestyle. 

Self-detox can introduce several unnecessary stressors or limiters to your recovery. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the need for a safe, professional, effective detox. We can help you use your time with us to establish the necessary foundation for a sustained, sober life ahead. We offer an array of programs, allowing you to navigate your recovery journey from detox to residential and outpatient care, all while personalizing your strategies and approaches each step of the way. Located in beautiful Santa Ana, California, we pride ourselves on creating an intimate, caring, and supportive atmosphere to help you navigate your vulnerabilities in recovery while celebrating your strengths. Recovery is a wholly transformative process, and by embracing our sober community and personalized recovery techniques, we can help you understand what a sober life can look like. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call to speak with us today at (714) 492-1119.

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