Struggling with addiction is always challenging, particularly because it can take too long just to realize you are addicted. Once you breach that obstacle, you’re faced with the challenge of getting clean. Since you can’t proceed with addiction recovery treatment until you are clean and sober, a period of detoxification becomes essential. While some people try to handle the detox period by themselves, that’s unwise for a number of reasons. Learning why you shouldn’t try to get clean without help may assist you in realizing why so many recovering individuals find success with professional detox facilities.
You Probably Won’t Succeed
One of the most common problems people face in trying to detox from drugs or alcohol is that it’s often unsuccessful. Whether you’re addicted to drugs or you suffer from alcoholism, trying to quit without help is rarely possible. Even if you do succeed in quitting, it may not be long before you begin abusing the substance again, which is known as a relapse.
A relapse makes recovery especially problematic because it involves more than just returning to your old patterns of abuse. Since you have been attempting to deprive your brain of the substance, the cravings will be stronger and the relapse will be more severe. This means you’ll take a significantly higher dose or drink much more alcohol than usual, which is why so many relapses result in life-threatening overdoses.
There’s also the risk of future relapses. Researchers have found that people who get clean without help relapse within their first three years of recovery more frequently than those who seek a medically supervised drug or alcohol detox program. The study, which was published in Addiction journal, found that recovering addicts who did utilize a medicated alcohol or drug detox program went three years without a relapse 62.4% of the time. Alternatively, only 43.4% of the individuals who detoxed without help avoided relapses within those first three years of recovery.
Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Life Threatening
Once you have become addicted to a substance, whether it’s a drug or alcohol, your brain and body rely on that substance to function. It becomes a situation of needing the substance just to maintain a normal state of functioning rather than a question of obtaining that euphoric sensation. As a result, trying to deprive the body of the substance will result in the onset of a variety of withdrawal symptoms. When you attempt detoxing at home, those symptoms are unregulated and can become severe enough to compromise your health.
Some of these symptoms may include:
- Sleep disorders
- Digestive problems
- Heart palpitations
- Delirium tremens (DTs)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
While detoxing at home can expose you to these symptoms in greater severity, a medicated detox in a treatment facility helps to minimize them. Caregivers will administer doses of prescribed medication to help you detox more gradually, which will reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. By making these symptoms more manageable, it becomes easier for the recovering addict to cope with the detoxing process.
Detox in a Less Stressful Environment
If you try to detox at home, you’re staying in the same environment that caused you to become addicted in the first place. As you would learn in a rehab treatment facility, this environment is filled with triggers, which are people, places, and situations that caused you to crave drugs or alcohol. Instead of making use of healthy coping mechanisms, you turned too easily accessible chemical substances. This situation also makes an alcohol or drug detox less successful, because those substances are still easily available.
Alternatively, going through a medically supervised detox program places you in an entirely different environment. In addition to no longer having easy access to alcohol and drugs, you’re also living in a less stressful environment. This is an opportunity for you to relax and get away from the stressful influences in your daily life. While you’re detoxing, you’ll learn new relaxation and stress reduction methods that will help you cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Make a Smoother Transition into Rehab
Once you’re clean and sober, it will be time for you to participate in a rehab treatment program. Typically, this is an inpatient process that offers intensive daily schedules that include therapy sessions, peer group counseling, and other structured activities. If you have successfully completed a drug or alcohol detox program in a facility that also offers rehab counseling services, it may be possible to simply transfer you from the detox program to the rehab department in the facility.
In this situation, you won’t have to return to your home, where you might relapse, until you have learned healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, many people begin using drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. As you transfer into the treatment program, counselors will evaluate you for these conditions and you’ll be able to receive dual treatment. Receiving proper treatment for mental illness will reduce the likelihood that you’ll relapse once you do return to normal society.
If you know you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, and you’re ready to get help, finding a detox facility should be your first concern. You can’t learn to fight your addiction unless you first start living a clean and sober lifestyle. A detox supervised by trained and qualified caregivers presents your best chance for a sustained recovery. The process of using drugs to gradually reduce your substance dependency will help you become better acclimated to sober living, which means you’re less likely to relapse in the future. If you’re serious about getting clean and staying sober, taking advantage of the professional services available to you will help ensure your sustained and continued success.