Is it safe to detox at home? That depends on several factors: your overall health, certain health conditions you may have and your age. However, it mostly depends on the type of drug class involved. Generally speaking, opioids, such as oxycodone and heroin and stimulants, including amphetamine, cocaine and ADHD drugs like methylphenidate, do not produce a physically dangerous withdrawal syndrome. All of these drugs are very difficult to withdraw from, and you will likely feel horrible, but you are unlikely to suffer serious physical harm. The only possible exception would be the severe vomiting and diarrhea that may occur from opioid withdrawal. It is possible for these symptoms to result in fairly serious dehydration if left untreated.
Alcohol and Benzodiazepine Withdrawal is Dangerous
On the other hand, withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines and hypnotics like the barbiturates should never be attempted without medical supervision. It is never safe to withdraw from these drugs on your own. You must always seek medical supervision from qualified detox providers. You won’t necessarily have to be in the hospital or under inpatient care, but only a medical professional experienced in detox from these drugs can make that determination. In some cases, it is possible to safely withdraw from these drug classes at home, as long as it’s under strict medical supervision.
Aside from safety, there is another important factor here. This involves common sense. Why would anyone want to detox at home? Modern detox procedures will keep you quite comfortable as you withdraw. What is the point in suffering? Moreover, the average person probably won’t be able to tolerate full-blown withdrawal, especially from long-term, high-dose opioid use. It’s just too miserable and too much to bear. If you attempt withdrawal on your own, the most likely outcome is that you will end up taking your drug of choice just to get some relief, even if you really don’t want to.
If you’ve never experienced it, opioid withdrawal is hell beyond words. You cannot get comfortable, you have no energy, you can’t eat (sometimes, even water won’t stay down) and you’re vomiting and having diarrhea at the same time. The diarrhea can even be severe enough to result in temporary incontinence.
Other opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle tremors
- A feeling of needing to jump out of your skin
- Severe stomach pain
- Muscle and bone pain
- Sneezing and watery eyes
- Goose pimples and feeling hot and cold, sometimes at the same time
- Restless leg syndrome
- Drug cravings
It’s awful, truly awful. The more severe symptoms tend to dissipate after about 7 to 10 days, but others, especially insomnia and drug cravings, can persist for many weeks and even months. The whole nasty thing can easily last a month before you even begin to feel good again. Extreme weakness is the hallmark symptom of opioid withdrawal, and it can linger for months as well.
While stimulant withdrawal may not be quite as horrible as opioid withdrawal, it’s still no picnic:
- Body aches
- Difficulty thinking
- Intense drug cravings
- Mood swings
Opioid Withdrawal Treatment
There is a specific treatment for opioid withdrawal called Suboxone. This is a combination medication that works on the same brain receptors as all opioids do. Suboxone rarely causes euphoria when taken by mouth as directed. Instead, it works to quell drug cravings and suppress withdrawal symptoms.
Many people withdrawing from opioids need nothing more than Suboxone to remain quite comfortable. The drug can be gradually withdrawn over time until the person is completely drug-free. It can also be used as an opioid maintenance medication. This is known as medication-assisted treatment or MAT.
Stimulant Withdrawal Treatment
While there is nothing comparable to Suboxone for stimulant withdrawal at the current time, drugs like modafinil, bupropion and propranolol work to reduce stimulant withdrawal symptoms. Bupropion fights depression, propranolol works to reduce anxiety and modafinil acts as a very mild, safe stimulant to help with extreme fatigue.
Call us for Help
There is really no reason to try to self-treat your drug addiction at home. You’re likely to fail, you’ll experience horrible withdrawal symptoms, and in the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines, it could even threaten your life. That’s why we’re here to help 24 hours a day. Just call us at 833-610-1174 for confidential, compassionate guidance to the best drug treatment facilities near you.