“At-Home Detox” options are becoming increasingly popular around the country. These options seem to offer individuals looking to get off drugs and alcohol an easier way to detox than the traditional option of admitting into a drug and alcohol detox and treatment facility. However, as any addiction treatment professional would tell you, easier is not always better or safer.


The truth is, for some people there are options outside of admitting into a detox facility or rehab in order to detox and receive care and support in order to manage withdrawal symptoms. For some people, an outpatient detox is adequate for getting them through withdrawals and getting to a place of physical stabilization to then begin treatment. For certain substances, such as opioids, an outpatient detox can be beneficial. For users of opioids, when looking to detox, an inpatient rehab or medical detox facility becomes vital if they have attempted an outpatient detox and been unsuccessful.


However, an outpatient detox facilitated by a medical professional through an outpatient addiction treatment center is not the same thing as what is referred to as an “at-home” detox. At-home detox typically means that the person suffering from drug and alcohol addiction never needs to leave their home, and instead employs a company or medical professional to come to their home and help them detox. Sometimes, certain organizations or medical professionals will manage withdrawal symptoms at the patient’s home, while other times it is preferred that they go through their detox at a hotel. Either way, it seems like a convenient, comfortable way to detox without having to make too much of an effort.


At-home detoxes typically are promoted to, and engaged in by, an affluent clientele who have the financial means to employ a doctor to treat them at home. This type of clientele often does not want to leave their normal, comfortable home setting, and have the ability to do so due to financial wealth. However, the appeal of an at-home detox is typically well-received by anyone in the position of needing a drug and alcohol detox. Nobody wants to leave their home and enter a medical facility. Anyone would choose, if given the option, to stay comfortable at home rather than admitting into a rehab or detox center while going through the often uncomfortable and challenging process of stopping the use of drugs and alcohol and going through withdrawal. It is why, for many people calling up a detox facility, many often talk about still having the option to go through detox at home. This doesn’t mean that they would be going through a supported at-home detox; just that they feel more comfortable at home and therefore may be willing to go through painful withdrawal symptoms without medication and medical staff just because being at home makes them feel better emotionally. The idea of an at-home detox sounds wonderful, but is it?


The answer is, while when done appropriately under the care of a doctor or medical team of providers, an at-home detox can be safe. However, it is never as safe or as comfortable as a detox facility that offers 24/7 medical care and support. Most at-home detoxes do not offer 24/7 support, but rather a doctor or medical team that sees the patient daily to administer medication once or several times per day. It also doesn’t offer ongoing clinical and recovery care support, or a community of patients to support one another during the detox process. Which is important, since clinical care and a supportive community is vital from an emotional standpoint in the early days of recovery. People often think that detox is simply a medical process; take some medication to make them feel physically better while getting through withdrawal. However, receiving mental health and emotional support is vital, both for getting through the detox process but also to ensure that the person stays on track and doesn’t quit, deciding instead that it is too difficult or painful and chooses to go get high or drunk.


An at-home detox can also be dangerous based on the substances needing to be detoxed from. Specifically, alcohol and benzodiazepines are extremely dangerous and can be fatal. This is true from the process of withdrawal, but also from the physical aspect (alcohol can cause delirium tremens or seizures, as well as dangerous falls) and the mental and emotional aspect (coming off benzodiazepines can cause regular mental health issues, like anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.) Therefore, for certain substances, an at-home detox is never a good option and, in fact, could be dangerous. At-home detoxes may be appropriate for some people depending on the substances they are using, but they are never as safe as going to an addiction treatment center or detox facility. At-home detoxes do not provide the necessary 24/7 medical oversight, psychiatric services, clinical care, or recovery support that a detox facility offers. Fortunately, many detox centers also offer extremely comfortable environments, that includes nice amenities, television, quiet lounges, and top-notch food, which makes a detox center not only medically and clinically the best option, but safer and often even more comfortable than any outpatient setting or at-home detox. The best detox option is also the safest and most comfortable detox option for anyone suffering from addiction that needs to stop using drugs and alcohol.


If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at info@innovodetox.com. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.