Recovery Blog

Home Detox for Painkillers is More Dangerous Than You Think

16 May

Detox is a difficult process, no matter what the situation is. Not only is it physically and emotionally challenging, but treatment options can be costly and cause an inconvenient disruption to daily life that many would rather not deal with. That’s why the option of detoxing at home may seem attractive. However, detoxing at home is fundamentally dangerous and can result in serious health complications. Read on to find out the risks you may be taking if you attempt home detox for opioid addiction rather than going to a facility.

Opioids are chemically related drugs that interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce a euphoric effect and eliminate pain. With over 2 million Americans 12 and over addicted to opioids, they are among the most commonly abused drugs in the country. Types of opioids include heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.

When you are withdrawing from opioids, your body will have a dramatic reaction. Dependence on opioids changes the structure of the nerve cells in your brain. The nerve cells need the drugs in order to function properly.  Taking these drugs away abruptly will result in withdrawal symptoms which will come in two phases. The first phase of your withdrawal during home detox may result in:

Fatigue: Most of us already have a hard time keeping our eyes open at work. Fatigue guarantees you’re not going to be too productive while detoxing.
Excessive Yawning: A yawn and a strecth usually help with feelings of fatigue and mental fog, but it is irritating to deal with multiple times a minute.
Anxiety: Most of us already worry too much, and added anxiety can contribute to feelings of helplessness and drive you right back into the arms of opioids.
Muscle Aches: Cramps, soreness, and muscle aches limit mobility and cause pain over extended periods of use – which can’t be quelled to well when you’re off painkillers.
Restlessness: Tied in with anxiety is a desire to do everything and anything. The fatigue and muscle aches will probably turn that restlessness into more anxiety.
Sleeplessness: Think you were going to sleep this detox off? Most people report being unable to get anything more than an hour or so of sleep, as the aches and anxiety kept them up all night.
Excessive Sweating: Steer clear of clothes, bedsheets, chairs, and couches unless you want to do a day of laundry after your detox is over.
Running NoseTearing Eyes: Many compare detox to the flu, because these symptoms often manifest themselves for days after, causing discomfort and general misery.
Agitation: To top it all off, you will be easily agitated – not just mentally, but physical contact can range from uncomfortable to outright painful.

You Don’t Need To Go Through Detox Alone. Call Our 24 Hour Addiction Hotline: 772-324-4130

The second phase of your home detox might bring:

Goose Bumps: In addition to anxiety, your skin will crawl and make your clothes feel extremely uncomfortable.
Rapid Heart Rate: The elevated heart rate will make you feel like you just ran a 100m dash. Don’t plan on getting any caffeine in your system while your heart is racing.
Diarrhea: On top of the general pain and anguish of detoxing without help, much of your time will be spent in the vicinity of the bathroom, on top of the aches and drowsiness.
Abdominal Cramps: Splitting pain from your abdominal area is a common side effect of detox, causing long bouts of doubling over.
Nausea and Vomiting: No unassisted detox would be complete without involuntary purging – and the nausea that accompanies it.
Dilated Pupils: Everything is far too bright, and as an unfortunate side effect, dilated pupils also give the impression that you might be currently under the influence.

These symptoms can last anywhere from a week to a month. There can also be long term withdrawal symptoms which may result in mental and behavioral issues.

People who do opt for at home detox are advised to taper off the drugs slowly to limit the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. However, for most people, this self-regulation is unfeasible as it often just leads to relapse.

Furthermore, some withdrawal symptoms can result in serious health complications. Dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting is common for those going through withdrawal. Many end up in the hospital because of this. For all these reasons, at home detox can be extremely difficult, dangerous and even impossible for many.

If you enter a treatment facility, you will be provided with health care experts who are familiar with all the stages of withdrawal. They will monitor your vital signs throughout the process. If they see you are facing serious health complications as a result of the withdrawal, they will be there to offer medical help. They will provide a comfortable setting for you during your withdrawal and prevent any incidence of relapse.

Treatment facilities can also provide medications to make the withdrawal process more comfortable. They can administer librium which helps with agitation, chloral hydrate or trazadone can help you sleep and clonidine is good for all over symptoms. If you attempt to detox at home, you will not have access to these medications.

Challenges will arise when you are seeking help for your addiction, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Many facilities accept insurance making the costs more manageable. Friends and family may be able to assist you financially, and there are also state funded treatment centers that can be found by conducting an online search. You can also talk to your boss about applying sick and vacation days to make up for your absence. Family members may also be available to take care of children and pets while you are away.

Talking to family, friends and employers about getting help may also be a deterrent for many. Once you open up, you will find many who are sympathetic to your plight. People are likely to support you and applaud your efforts to seek help.

Finding help through a detox may be difficult, but it is doable, while at home detox could be impossible. Furthermore, a residential treatment could be a wise investment since your risks of relapse and the possibility of health complications are greatly reduced. Recovery is a big step which is why every effort should be made to do it right. Let a health professional see you through this process for a safer and healthier recovery. Home detox isn’t worth the risk.

If You or Someone You Love Is Struggling with Drug and Alcohol Addiction Call Our 24 Hour Addiction Hotline: 772-324-4130