5 Reasons You Should Never Detox From Drugs and Alcohol on Your Own

detox at home

The process of recovering from drug and alcohol addiction begins with a single step. From the first moment you decide to work toward sobriety, you are on a journey that can carry you to a healthier, more fulfilling future.

Addiction is a complex condition with physical, behavioral, psychological, and environmental roots. Lifelong addiction recovery requires ongoing support, treatment, and the ability to identify and heal the underlying aspects of substance abuse.

For many, detoxification is the first step toward lifelong sobriety. During detox, your body will naturally work to eliminate drugs, alcohol, and other toxins. While this process is natural, most people find it very uncomfortable.

People who attempt to detox at home or on their own often struggle to avoid relapse and may experience other serious, sometimes life-threatening complications. Painful withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings can make it very difficult to stay committed to sobriety. Support, supervision, and treatment are essential during drug and alcohol withdrawal so that you can have a safe, complete detox.

In this article, we’ll detail five of the most significant reasons you should never detox from drugs and alcohol on your own. Reach out to the addiction treatment specialists at Flourishing Foundations Recovery now to learn about our supportive outpatient detox programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

5 Reasons You Should Never Detox From Drugs and Alcohol Alone

Addiction experts often warn people against attempting to stop using drugs and alcohol “cold turkey.” Trying to detox from drugs and alcohol on your own is very challenging, and most people are not successful.

Seeking treatment and support during detox ensures the best chances of staying safe during detox and remaining committed to sobriety–even when it feels impossible.

Here are five of the most significant reasons you shouldn’t attempt to detox from drugs and alcohol on your own.

1. The risk of relapse

Addiction occurs when your body becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol do not choose to use these substances–they must use them for their bodies to function.

When you suddenly stop using a substance your body depends on, you are likely to experience a range of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors
  • Elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature

People in withdrawal often have intense, constant cravings for drugs or alcohol. Many people relapse during the earliest days of detox if they do not receive treatment, support, and supervision.

2. Mental health complications

Many people think of detoxing from drugs and alcohol as purely physical. However, the body and mind are intricately connected, and many people experience significant mental health changes as their body detoxifies itself.

Without continuous support and connection to professional mental health services, people may struggle with new or worsening mental symptoms, including depression and anxiety. Untreated mental illness can interfere with people’s ability to function in daily life and, in some cases, may lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

3. Physical health complications

For many, drug and alcohol withdrawal is brutally uncomfortable but not life-threatening. However, some people experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms–and it’s difficult to determine who will develop them.

Some withdrawal symptoms require immediate medical intervention to avoid long-term harm or death. These include:

  • Dangerously elevated blood pressure
  • Dehydration from sweating and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Stroke
  • Dangerously high body temperature

In rare cases, people with alcohol withdrawal develop a condition called Delirium Tremens (DTs). This condition causes extreme agitation and confusion, seizures, hallucinations, and fever. Delirium Tremens is a life-threatening condition that can develop rapidly. People must have monitoring and access to treatment during detox to reduce the risk of letting DTs go untreated during detox.

4. Overdose

People in the process of detoxification are more vulnerable to overdose because they have lost some of their tolerance. If they use the same amount of a substance as they did before they stopped, it may be too much for their body.

An overdose can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released data that shows between 40 and 60% of people with a substance use disorder (SUD) have at least one relapse during recovery, and more than 106,000 people died from an overdose in 2021. Access to treatment and supervision can help people in recovery reduce their risk of overdose during detox.

5. No continuing treatment

Addiction isn’t curable. Instead, people must receive comprehensive support and ongoing treatment that helps them identify and heal the roots of their addiction. People who detox from drugs and alcohol on their own are less likely to seek comprehensive treatment that will help them sustain sobriety for the rest of their lives.

A supervised detox program can help people manage withdrawal with medications and mental health care allowing them to have a safe, complete detox. Then, staff will connect patients to other treatment programs and community support to continue their recovery journey.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love is considering detoxing from drugs and alcohol on your own, make sure you understand the risks. Detoxing on your own can be dangerous and is not likely to lead to long-term recovery.

Instead of attempting to detox alone, get the support and care you need to thrive in recovery. Contact our intake specialists to learn about our programs or schedule an intake assessment.