Our Programs: Detox

One of the first steps in treating substance abuse is detox, which is when your body rids itself entirely of a particular substance. Depending on the substance and your length of use, the withdrawal symptoms that manifest during this period can last from hours to weeks. The importance of getting through detox safely and successfully makes it imperative to undergo the process with professional help.

Can You Detox at Home?

Some people choose to detox at home either because they do not have the resources to get help, while others do so because they are ashamed of their condition and do not want to reach out for medical assistance. No matter your circumstances, it’s in your best interest to avoid home detox whenever possible. Going through detox without professional supervision can be highly dangerous; some symptoms can cause serious injury or even death. If you do not want to detox in a hospital or residential treatment center, you can still get in-home care to help you safely through this stage.

How Long Does Detox Take?

The timeline for detox depends on many factors, including your age, genetics, medical history, overall health, how long you were using the substance, and at what doses. Each of these factors impacts the time it will take your body to thoroughly flush out toxins and begin to recover. However, although each case is unique, there are general timelines for detoxing from the more common addictive substances: 

  • Alcohol: withdrawal symptoms typically start between 8 to 48 hours after the last drink and can last for several weeks, usually peaking after around 72 hours. 
  • Cocaine: withdrawal symptoms appear quickly, often within a few hours of the last dose, and can last for weeks or months. Symptoms peak between 24 and 72 hours. 
  • Benzodiazepines: signs of withdrawal start to show within 24 to 72 hours after the last dose and peak within the first two weeks. Benzodiazepines are long-lasting in the body, and withdrawal symptoms can last for months without proper treatment.
  • Prescription Opioids: most prescription opioids tend to detox relatively quickly, with the first withdrawal symptoms usually showing up within 10 hours and the entire detox lasting less than two weeks. Symptoms tend to peak within 24 hours. 

Most treatment centers offer detox programs that last from 3 to 14 days, though some may go longer depending on individual circumstances. You can work with your care team to determine the ideal length of stay for your specific needs. 

Risk Factors Associated with Detoxing at Home

At-home detox entails increased risk. There is no supervision to keep you safe if your symptoms suddenly worsen. Being at home can also cause cravings triggered by a familiar setting. You are likely to have a harder time transitioning to withdrawal management and aftercare without a team to help you find resources and keep you on track. 

At-home detox carries the highest risk for people with a history of past relapse and withdrawal. It is best to undergo detox in a supervised environment whenever possible. Even if you have previously gone through detox on your own, life-altering complications can arise at any time. 

Detox Symptoms

The physical, behavioral, or psychological symptoms you encounter will depend primarily on which substance you were using, for how long, and at what dose. The symptoms you may experience during detox and withdrawal may include: 

  • Mood swings and behavioral changes
  • Flu-like symptoms like nausea, sweating, dizziness, and stomachache
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tremors, seizures, or muscle weakness
  • Cognitive issues include dissociation, confusion, and racing thoughts
  • In rare cases, paranoia, anxiety, and delusions or hallucinations

It’s important not to attempt detox without medical supervision. You may experience severe symptoms like seizures, hallucinations, or heart palpitations that can prove life-threatening without proper help.


Common Treatments Options

There are several ways to undergo detox. Work with your medical team to determine which approach best meets your needs. The severity of your substance use and other factors will affect the amount of supervision that your detox may require. 

Most patients cannot safely detox on their own. However, mild symptoms and a short detox period allow some people to undergo outpatient treatment. Here are some of the most widely-used detox methods:

  • Outpatient: professionals will monitor your progress through medical check-ins while staying at home overnight. Daily hospital appointments may be necessary to keep an eye on potentially problematic symptoms.
  • Inpatient: stay at a hospital or clinic center where a team of experienced medical professionals will monitor your physical and mental stability to ensure your safety and comfort throughout detox. 
  • Partial Hospitalization: spend your days in a treatment center and your nights at home. You may switch to inpatient treatment if symptoms become more severe. 
  • Residential: undergo weeks or months of treatment and therapy in a private, comprehensive facility. Residential treatment is considered one of the safest and most effective options. 
  • Medically-assisted detox: regardless of where you undergo your detox, you may require medication if your symptoms are severe. Your doctor can provide you with more information.
  • Natural remedies: some natural remedies may ease the discomfort of milder symptoms such as muscle aches, headaches, and insomnia, provided you do so to augment, not replace, professional medical guidance.

We are here for you

Despite the seeming appeal of undergoing detox at home due to financial issues or a desire to avoid any stigma related to rehabilitation, detoxing without the supervision of medical professionals puts you at serious risk of dangerous, potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Clinical studies have shown that residential or inpatient care offers the highest chances of long-term sobriety. A residential treatment facility like White House Recovery and Detox can give you the care and support you will need to go through detox and withdrawal safely and successfully.