Can I go through addiction detox at home if there’s no space in a program and I don’t want to wait? That depends, mostly on the drug you’re addicted to, but it also depends on you and whether or not you can tolerate the pain and drug cravings that are part of all forms of drug withdrawal. One thing you must never do at home is attempt to withdraw from alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates or any kind of hypnotic drug on your own. Withdrawal from these drug classes is dangerous due to the risk of grand mal seizures. You could fall unconscious and choke to death on your own vomit. Withdrawal from these kinds of drugs requires medical supervision, especially if you’re taking large doses or have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for a long period of time. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause hallucinations and delirium tremens, a dangerous complication. It’s not a DIY project. Always get professional help. You will need gradually decreasing doses of certain medications to get you safely through this kind of withdrawal process.
For those addicted to only opioids, withdrawal at home is possible because this drug class isn’t typically physically dangerous to withdraw from. However, opioid withdrawal is extremely painful and is also often protracted. It can last for weeks on end and can even exceed a month or more. You will feel extremely weak, and you will likely experience some or even all of the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hot and cold sweats
- Drug cravings
- Severe stomach, muscle and bone pain
- Restless leg syndrome
- Inability to sit comfortably
- Inability to concentrate, including reading or watching TV
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Goose pimples
It’s not a pretty picture. Opioid withdrawal is tough. It’s bigger and stronger than you are. Some people have gone through it successfully at home, but most people can’t stand it and return to opioid use just to get relief. Quitting opioids cold turkey at home isn’t advisable. You’re almost certainly setting yourself up for failure. However, if you have a short-term, low-level dependence on a weaker opioid like codeine or hydrocodone, and you are extremely motivated, you might be able to do it if you plan ahead. Another alternative would be to taper your dose down slowly while you wait for a rehab bed. Of course, if your drug of choice is something illegal like heroin, you won’t have this option.
Options for Opioid Withdrawal at Home
You can look up the Thomas Recipe online. This is a combination of medications and supplements intended to help ease withdrawal symptoms. It’s well-known, safe and many people who have tried it say it helps a lot. The Thomas Recipe also advises having at least a week to rest at home. Hot baths and showers will help as well. If you have access to a spa, that’s even better. Opioid withdrawal can cause severe diarrhea. Make sure you have plenty of loperamide on hand. This is an OTC medication very effective at stopping the incessant diarrhea that can dehydrate you, keep you awake and make you feel worse overall. Also have plenty of bottled water and fruit juice on hand. Apple and grape are good, but avoid citrus juice until your nausea and vomiting are gone. You probably won’t feel much like eating for the first few days to a week, but you can keep some jello on hand just in case it sounds good.
Cool or warm herbal tea with honey is also another good choice. It will hydrate you, taste good and give you some comfort. Avoid coffee, regular tea and dairy products until all nausea and vomiting have completely disappeared. The worst of the opioid withdrawal symptoms will begin to fade within a week to ten days in most cases, but some symptoms can persist for far longer than that.
If you do manage to make it through opioid withdrawal at home, you will need immediate drug rehab therapy at a recovery center. If you don’t do this, your chances of relapse are extremely high. Tell the intake counselor that you are drug-free and for how long. Recovery rehabs typically want to see at least 10 days of no drug use before they will allow you to skip detox and begin recovery treatment.
For More Help
We’re a group of trained drug counselors available at 833-680-0165 24 hours a day. We help people like you every day to find the best drug treatment center for their needs. We can help you, too. Your call is confidential and our counselors are compassionate and knowledgeable. We look forward to speaking with you.