The Dangers of Detoxing Alone

 In Addiction

With more than 23 million Americans currently facing addiction, the sheer scope and magnitude may seem overwhelming. There is hope, though. The road to recovery is long, but it is not impossible. Along the way, it is essential that you understand some dangers along the way, and one of the first obstacles is detox from drugs and alcohol.

While you may have very good reasons for attempting to go through detoxing alone, there are also a number of reasons why detoxing alone is dangerous, so let’s go through them.

Severe Withdrawal

Depending on your addiction, you may experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, but some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting (or other gastrointestinal distress)
  • Depression
  • Mood swings (or psychiatric issues)
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma

While the symptoms can be of varying degrees of severity and length of time, the combination of some of these detox side effects can lead to severe life-threatening conditions. But, the combination of depression and erratic behavior encountered by some detoxing individuals can put others in danger as well. If you’ve never attempted detox before, you may have no idea how your body will react. You also do not know how you will handle detox from an emotional standpoint.

Medical Detox

Your overall health, as well as any medical conditions, can make the detox process even more dangerous. Even in the best possible scenario, with you in good health, and in the right frame of mind to detox, it’s always safer and better for your overall well-being to go through detox with monitoring and overview. Even if you don’t have any of the more severe side effects, any symptoms you do have can be monitored and addressed. Depending on your detox, a treatment facility or professional may be able to administer medication to alleviate and/or counteract some of the more severe and life-threatening effects.

At the very least, they can sometimes make you more comfortable, help you to understand that what you’re experiencing is a natural (albeit painful) part of recovery. As you pursue medical intervention, though, the facility or treating professional may also be able to lay out an individual plan for you that includes the detox process, as well as putting into place check-ins and other support measures in place to validate and address any concerns you have along the road to recovery.

Lack of Support

Recovery just works better when you have family, friends, and professions who are there to support your choice to detox. The family-and-friends part is important because it lets you know that you’re not alone, that you have people who will stand by you no matter what poor choices you’ve made in the past. But, it’s also important to seek out (and get) professional counseling whether that be in a detox facility for addiction treatment, in a support group, or even in one-on-one sessions with a therapist or counselor.

While the options for how you get the support you need are varied, it’s essential that you seek out that assistance, and not just for your emotional wellbeing right now. Putting that support network in place is not just about the immediate detox. It’s also to help you and those you love understand that the road to recovery does not happen overnight. It’s a process.

Long-Term Recovery

By attempting to go through detox alone, you are also potentially jeopardizing your long-term recovery. Beyond the health considerations and the feel-good backup, studies have shown that you will be more likely to stay clean if you start out with support from your loved ones and/or professional counseling. The relapse rate is somewhere in the range of 40-50% if you try to go through detox alone. When you think about it, that’s monumental. An additional concern with relapse is that you could also overdose if you undergo a quick relapse.

Even if you’ve started the detox with the best of intentions, you’ve just set yourself up for a much more difficult path if you try to detox by yourself. Without support, you will be more likely to fall back into old habits and tendencies that will lead you right back into your addiction.

So there are many reasons to avoid the detox process by yourself. Not only can it put you and your loved ones in serious, even life-threatening danger, but seeking out support from both personal and professional sources can ensure that your detox effort really is as successful and painless as possible. Some individuals don’t want to seek out assistance, whether because they think they’ve already burned those bridges, or because the decisions they’ve made have put them in a very difficult place—emotionally, physically, and even financially. Even in what might be considered the darkest of circumstances, there are support resources available. And, they’re just a call away.

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