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The Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Detox at Home

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The first step in overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol comes with detoxing the body and mind. Detox is when one expels these toxic substances from their system, allowing them to create a clear mind and healthy body to begin the journey toward a sober future. 

Detox is a time of significant transformation, and it can contain many unforeseen difficulties and trials. While attempting to detox in the comfort of one’s own home may seem like a good idea, it can also be dangerous. There is no replacement for engaging in a dedicated, informed, and professional detox program for health and support.

The Need for Detox

Detox is the first stage of one’s recovery journey, and while wrought with its own trials, it is a necessary step that can set the tone for a person’s progress. Detox is the initial time when one ceases the use of addictive substances, allowing the body and mind to free themselves from use and create a sober mindset to pursue further recovery and treatment programs.

Detox is not easy and can be riddled with withdrawal symptoms and turbulent physical and emotional trials. Detox often consists of uncomfortable and even painful emotional and physical symptoms. The support of professionals and a dedicated detox program are necessary to provide adequate, educated support.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be a painful experience. While each individual will experience withdrawal differently based on several factors, some common symptoms make this time incredibly difficult to navigate. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability/Anger
  • Aches and pains
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Chills/Fever
  • Exhaustion


These withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to overcome without the proper care. Depending on one’s unique circumstances, these symptoms can even become dangerous to their health. Between one’s medical needs and the potentially extreme effects of detox and withdrawal, dedicated professional and medical detox programs are crucial. They can provide the support that would otherwise be unavailable when self-detoxing at home.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Despite how caring a support may be, there is no true replacement for dedicated, educated, professional support for detox and addiction recovery. Managing withdrawal symptoms is a complicated task. Having trained support to help an individual identify symptoms and provide emotional, physical, and medical aid is instrumental in getting through such a drastic transformation towards a sober life.

Providing medication to manage symptoms, therapeutic support, and acting quickly and decisively in more extreme cases makes a huge difference during withdrawal and is something that at-home detox strategies may not address. An example of dangerous withdrawal symptoms coincides with instances of delirium tremens (DT).

Managing Relapse

Making an effort to change while still in one’s own home can be a complicated, even conflicting, effort. One may be trying to begin a sober life while still surrounded by regular stressors, environments, or reminders of their use.

Urges and cravings can also be powerful during this time. A new environment catered to sobriety and recovery is essential to help an individual physically, mentally, and emotionally distance themselves from the daily life that once allowed for the use of addictive substances.

Relapse is also common during this time due to increased urges and cravings, and an individual may not have practiced coping strategies to safely process them yet. Relapse is also extremely dangerous. An individual may reengage with addictive substances at a high frequency or dose, even while one’s tolerance may have decreased, making this level of re-engagement exceptionally dangerous. Professionals can help individuals process and navigate these cravings in a safe and sober environment, providing the necessary support to stay sober.  

Transitioning to Further Care

Navigating detox does not mark the end of one’s recovery journey. Instead, it serves as a bridge to further recovery programs and sober efforts. Residential care, sober living, and outpatient care are essential to maintaining the changes made during detox. A dedicated detox program and treatment facility can help individuals transition to these proper programs based on one’s needs and goals.

Creating a Community

Building a social network of like-minded peers and support is necessary to find a place of belonging and camaraderie, A dedicated detox program can introduce an individual to new communities to create a sober lifestyle. While addiction and detox may feel like isolating experiences, reliable detox programs instead open up a new community of peers and opportunities where one can share in their experiences. They can also build healthy relationships and support nets for one’s sober efforts to come. 

Detox is already a trying process, and attempting detox at home can present an individual with unnecessary and intense difficulties. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the need for professional detox programs to help you successfully navigate this first step towards a sober future. There is no replacement for genuinely educated, dedicated detox services. Your time with us can be personalized to fit your unique needs and goals, and we are prepared to help you transition from a successful detox to ongoing residential and outpatient care. Detoxing at home can be dangerous, but your time with us is filled with personalized strategies and medical supervision to best embrace a sober plan and mindset in your newfound recovery. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your situation, please call (714) 492-1119.

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