Detox is the first step you’ll take on the journey of addiction recovery. It’s a necessary part of the process. But, it’s common that individuals ask if they should experience a medical detox or just go about the detox process at home before treatment. Considering the pros and cons of both a medical detox program and detoxing from home can help you make the decision you’re most comfortable with.

Consider Safety During Detox

The number one cause for concern when it comes to detox is safety. All in all, your safest option for detoxing is within a medical detox program. This is because medical individuals are specifically trained to help people within a medical detox program do so in a safe way. Also, these medical personnel are available to monitor the detox process all hours of the day and night. This is extremely important if anything were to go wrong during detox or safety was compromised due to extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Consider the Drug Being Detoxed from the Body

Although detoxing in a medical detox program is the safest option, it’s still possible to detox from home. But, it should not at all be considered if an individual is planning to detox from certain drugs. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines are substances that can lead to serious, life threatening withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, individuals have even died detoxing at home from these drugs. Delirium Tremens, a withdrawal symptom of alcohol, can lead to seizures which can induce coma and eventually death. Stopping the use of benzodiazepines without tapering or medical supervision can also cause seizures which can lead to death. Other drugs like heroin and opioid medications also have dangerous withdrawal symptoms which can lead to complications during detox as well. So, before deciding if detoxing from home is a safe option, determine if the drug being detoxed from will cause life threatening withdrawal symptoms.  

Consider the Comfort of a Medical Detox Program

Another main thing that individuals want to consider before deciding between home or medical detox program is comfort. Detox is not fun. It comes with a slew of withdrawal symptoms; none of which bring comfort. And, each drug may portray a list of its own unique symptoms. If you’re detoxing from home, the most that you can do it wait it out until the drug is no longer present from the body. But, in a medical detox program, you’ll have a medical staff with jobs to make sure that you’re comfortable during experienced withdrawal. There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can safely and effectively decrease and even prevent painful and agitating withdrawal symptoms for those in a medical detox program. And, during these programs, you won’t have to administer these medications yourself. You’ll have the caring medical staff to alert you when and what medication should be taken.

Consider the Support of a Medical Detox Program

Over all, the point of detox is to get into treatment so that you can obtain long-term recovery. But, the truth of the matter is that most of the time, people who detox from home don’t get the help they need. In fact, most individuals who detox from home relapse before detox is even complete. This is not only because of safety and comfort, but because of support. Often, individuals who are addicted and try detoxing from home don’t have the support needed to stay motivated throughout detox. This is either because they haven’t told anyone they’re attempting to detox or their support system has deteriorated throughout active addiction. Either way, there is a better way to receive the support needed throughout the detox process–a medical detox program.

Getting the Detox you Need

If you have weighed the pros and cons and have determined that a medical detox program is the right first step to take on your road to recovery, you’re on your way! Soon, you will see what it’s like to live a life free from the holds of addiction. But, first, you’ll need to enroll into a medical detox program. Give Discovery Institute a call today to speak confidentially with an addiction specialist about our medical detox opportunities at 888-616-7177.


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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