Getting sober is hard, but it’s worth it. People who’ve had to deal with alcohol addiction for a long time know how difficult it is to do the right thing. But, whenever you make a healthy decision to break the habit, you need to know you’re making the right one.
Many wonder, “Should I detox at home?” Is it the safest approach?
While it might seem like the most convenient thing to do, a self-detox will do more harm than good. To be 100% sober, you need someone who can be there for you, and medical experts are your best chance at success. Here’s why.
We compiled a detailed guide on the dangers of self-detox. Including all the struggles you’ll face when getting sober. But, first, let’s start with the basics.
What Is Alcohol Dependency?
Dependency is a primary stage of addiction. People who feel the sudden desire to drink over doing anything else in life, are dependent on constant alcohol intake. Their need for a sip is more than just a thrill; it’s a necessity.
Nothing can replace the effects and the “kick” they get from the alcohol. No matter what they try, there’s no other substance that can satisfy that rush. As a result, drinking becomes a regular practice.
Individuals who are dependent, seek the feeling, flavor, and reclusiveness of being drunk. They have the constant need to isolate themselves since they don’t want to share their spoils. In the long-run, their personality changes, becoming more self-centered, without realizing what the alcohol is doing to their health or the people around them.
Whenever they try to stop their destructive behavior, they are faced with debilitating withdrawal symptoms.
The Struggles of Alcohol Withdrawal
When a person abruptly stops consuming alcohol after heavy or prolonged use, their brain and body become dependent on the drinking pattern. The sudden stop deprives the system of the effects of the substance, which makes them feel inadequate to function properly.
At this stage, people will start experiencing alcohol withdrawal side effects. Such as:
In addition to the debilitating side effects, the withdrawal will trigger a range of different psychological problems. People will start fearing these withdrawal side effects and believe it will get worse.
Then, they will start holding on to bargaining chips, anything they can think of that will defend their need for a drink. Like “I don’t need to quit” or “I’m not ready for this.”
That “back and forth pulling” will turn into a physical desire for relief. To ease the symptoms and get rid of the discomfort, they will hope to get a drink.
The psychological desire will eventually turn into a dire need. The nervous system will start feeling the pressure to curb the unease. But, to overcome this stage, people need all the determination they can get.
This is where many fail at a self-detox. The lack of control will force them to give up and move forward. This is a typical outcome for individuals who can’t cope with the challenges on their own.
A medical detox facility won’t allow such a mishap. Medical experts make sure that all the pain, discomfort, and side effects you might feel are managed. You’ll receive proper medication for a safe and comfortable withdrawal.
Should I Detox At Home?
One of the most common questions online is, “Should I detox from alcohol at home?”
We can see where this is coming from. A self-detox looks promising, convenient, and easy. But, in reality, it’s much more complicated than you think.
People who are addicted to a certain substance, whether it’s alcohol or anything else, will assume that the easiest exit strategy is always within their grasp. However, that’s not always the case.
Addiction can be extremely overwhelming. It’s a disease, and trying to quit on your own, is almost impossible. A self-detox is a dangerous approach. But it’s also less effective.
According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, a self-detox at home has just a 14% success rate. While going to rehab and relying on expert help has an 81% success rate.
So, technically, yes it’s possible to do a self-detox. But, for safer results and a higher success rate, it’s best to seek medical attention.
The Dangers of Self-Detox
Lack of will is not the only problem you’ll face. What you should think about is your safety.
- Did you know? Alcohol detox is more dangerous than drug abuse detox. Flushing out the narcotics and opiates from the system will be extremely uncomfortable. But, it won’t put your life in danger. Whereas detoxing from alcohol can kill you.
When you do a self-detox, the severe withdrawal side effects like fever, delusions, shakes, and sweating can have potentially life-threatening complications. Depending on the severity of the withdrawal and the type of a detox plan, patients can experience Delirium Tremens.
According to experts, Delirium Tremens is the most dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal symptom. It can happen in 1 in 10 people who are trying to detox from alcohol. The truth is, it has a high death rate of over 35%.
The seizures become extremely violent, and the muscles begin to contract. The withdrawal will also affect the heart, compromise breathing, and increase the blood pressure. When paired with extreme anxiety and agitation, Delirium Tremens can turn into a real problem.
Medical detox is completely different. Medically supervised alcohol detox will alleviate all the psychiatric, psychological, and physical impacts of withdrawal. It can avoid the onset of Wernicke’s-Korsakoff Syndrome and manage Wernicke’s Encephalopathy.
Both of these neurological conditions can have a lasting impact on the central nervous system. So, it’s in your best interest to get professional help, like Alcohol Detox in Texas.
As long as you drop the need to do things by yourself, you can see a favorable outcome. Remember, you are not alone! With the help of proper medical treatment, you will be able to overcome anything life throws at you.
Just be ready to take the initiative. Even if that initiative costs a little bit more. Any medical detox center, like Stonegate Center, an Inpatient Rehab Center in Texas, can help you get the results you are looking for.
Do Alcohol Detox Drinks Work?
Alcohol detox drinks are all the rage right now. But, the question is, do they really work? Many consumers have reported feeling more focused and energetic after using an alcohol detox drink.
Some of these liquids sold are said to be packed with vitamins and minerals, which makes sense for them to have an energy-boosting content. However, there is not enough research to prove its efficiency in detoxifying the alcohol in the liver.
Small-scale studies indicate that certain ingredients, like milk thistle, for example, might have the capacity to interfere with the alcohol absorption rate. It may also flush out the toxins from the liver and help get it back on track.
Different research showed that these drinks could be beneficial for the stomach lining in alcohol-dependent individuals.
- Despite the available research, alcohol detox drinks can’t replace the medical detoxification process.
Medical detoxification relies on substitute drugs and constant supervision to make sure patients are getting the type of care they need. While the detox drinks can help flush out the toxins from the system, they don’t have the capacity to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. So, you need a fool-proof method if you want to overcome those challenges. Medical detox can help.
The Benefits of Medically Supervised Alcohol Detox
Emotional and physical support is critical when going through alcohol withdrawal. With proper control, you will feel more comfortable and safe in mitigating those symptoms.
Nurses and medical staff will constantly be looking over your health to ensure everything is going smoothly. While it will take some time, medical detox is the right thing to do. The journey will become more bearable, and you will always have the help you need.
Here are the 6 benefits to getting alcohol detox in a medical facility, like Stonegate Center, our Inpatient Rehab Center in Texas.
1. Closed Environment
Outside or at home, people are vulnerable to triggers. Relapse happens in 40% to 60% of patients in recovery. It takes just one wrong step, and you are back to square one.
If you want to complete your recovery, you need the perfect living space that will keep you away from all the triggers. That’s where a controlled atmosphere will come in handy. In Rehab, you get the ideal environment to control the cravings and avoid the triggers.
2. Behavioral and Psychological Support
Mental health experts are a primary component of the detox strategy. They take care of people’s emotional well-being and analyze all the aspects of their lives that might contribute to alcohol abuse. In other words, they provide much-needed social support.
With social support, patients get to learn how to make healthy choices and behaviors. They will also find easier ways to cope with stress, rather than dropping back to their old habits.
By opening up to experts, people will also boost their motivation, which will help them achieve their goals. They will learn the meaning of empathy and the consequences of their actions. All of these benefits can’t be achieved without help.
3. Nutritional Support
Nutrition plays a key role in the recovery process. All the food we eat helps our body recover. Medical experts are focused on providing patients with the right nutrients that can help their bodies heal a lot quicker.
They also dedicate plenty of time to exercise to help mitigate all the difficult withdrawal symptoms. With adequate nutritional support, patients get to replenish their system. It helps boost immunity, tissue repair, cell division, mucus membranes, skin health, and more. All of that can be achieved by eating the right kind of food.
4. Constant Supervision
There is always a risk involved when trying to break a dangerous habit. Alcohol consumption is no exception. When a person is dealing with physiological dependence, they need constant supervision.
Since the withdrawal symptoms, like seizures, fever, agitation, and hallucinations will affect their judgment, they need medical staff to control the situation. This will give people a sense of security during the entire detoxification process.
5. Sedative Medications
In rehab, patients get access to proper medications to cope with acute withdrawal symptoms. These medications soothe the discomfort and restore balance in their body. All the substances they take are specifically tailored to their needs and health state. Their responses are monitored, which makes the whole process a lot easier to deal with.
6. Better Focus on Recovery
Everyone at the facility will be focused on one thing – achieving full recovery. When a patient is admitted to a detox program, they are fully committed to getting the help they need. No one will get in the way of their recovery.
For many people attempting to detox at home seems like the most viable alternative. It’s cheap, convenient, and easy to try. But, what most of them don’t realize is that they are putting themselves in harm’s way.
A self-detox can do more harm than good. While it’s possible to completely flush out the toxins from the system on your own, the success rate is very low. That’s because the lack of control makes the entire journey incredibly difficult to bear.
But, they are also vulnerable to terrible withdrawal consequences. Alcohol abuse can take a toll on people’s emotional and physical health. Unless they get the professional help they need, they will be vulnerable to seizures or other complications with potentially life-threatening repercussions.
With medical help, you can avoid that and more. You get access to a controlled environment, where you will overcome all the triggers and stimulants that might get in your way. Now that you know the dangers of self-detox, you will be able to make the right choice.
Was this guide helpful? What do you think of self-detox? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction & pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center to the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.