Detox at home

Whether your loved ones performed an intervention for addiction or you had a sudden awakening and realised the damage substance abuse was doing, it is important to understand the risks associated with the detox process and prepare for any withdrawal symptoms you might face. At Sanctuary Lodge, we offer a detox and rehabilitation programme that ensures your safety and comfort, as well as guarantees the best chances of success.


Home detox vs assisted detox

Home detox can seem like an appealing choice for many reasons – you may be reluctant to pay for private treatment, hesitant to talk to others about your issues or unwilling to take the time off work to check in to a facility. While staying at home surrounded by your everyday comforts may appear preferable, the reality is that detox can be complex, unpredictable and dangerous.

Sudden onset of acute withdrawal symptoms, especially in cases of alcohol, benzodiazepines or opioids, can be difficult to manage on your own and can quickly develop into an emergency situation. Without the assistance of medical professionals, it is easy for things to go downhill quickly and this puts you at risk of serious harm.

On top of that, the unpleasant side effects experienced during detox often act as a catalyst for relapse. You may find yourself unable to cope with withdrawal symptoms and could turn back to substances as a way to subdue your symptoms. This puts you at risk of overdose as your body can no longer handle the doses it was once accustomed to after a period of detox.

Attempting to quit drugs or alcohol cold-turkey or trying to come up with your own tapering regime is a risk simply not worth taking. At Sanctuary Lodge, our medical staff can support and guide you through an assisted detox safely. They will effectively manage any withdrawal symptoms and ensure you remain comfortable throughout the process.

With an assisted detox you will also have access to highly experienced therapists who will assist you not only through the first stage of detox, but provide you with ongoing rehabilitation aimed at tackling the root cause of your drug addiction or alcohol addiction – an essential step if your goal is a sustainable recovery.

Is home detox effective long-term?

While taking part in an assisted detox programme at a rehab facility like Sanctuary Lodge, you will also undergo an intensive therapy programme. You will have access to a wide range of therapies and holistic treatments, enabling you to better understand your drug or alcohol reliance and develop relapse prevention techniques to avoid falling back into past behaviours.

This comprehensive care is something a home detox cannot provide. After completing a home detox, you will still be exposed to everyday triggers and stress that may lead you to relapse. Without having the proper means to tackle them, the risk of old patterns repeating themselves is high.

While home detox may treat the physical side of addiction temporarily, it does not address the psychological side. This is a huge aspect of successful treatment. Without addressing the underlying causes and triggers of your behaviour, a sustainable recovery is simply not possible.

The dangers of alcohol detox at home

Risk factors sign

One of the biggest risks of attempting alcohol detox at home is that it can be incredibly difficult to know when or if you are experiencing dangerous side effects. The primary danger of alcohol detox is Delirium Tremens (DTs), which can occur when an individual’s alcohol level drops significantly after long periods of drinking.

DTs are characterised by intense physical and mental states, including symptoms such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tremors
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Death

Battling an alcohol detox at home is therefore not recommended. Ultimately, the best way to ensure a safe and successful detox from alcohol is to seek professional medical attention from a qualified doctor or specialist. With the right support and care, individuals can safely detox from alcohol and achieve long-term recovery.

The dangers of drug detox at home

When attempting a drug detox at home, there are several dangers that can occur.

Unprepared withdrawal

In cases of benzodiazepines, the dangers of drug detox can prove deadly, particularly if the drug has been combined with alcohol or other drugs, if you have a history of seizures or if you have experienced mental health issues. You may be subjected to severe withdrawal symptoms such as an increased heart rate, tremors, hallucinations, delirium and seizures.


A common withdrawal symptom seen across many substances is vomiting and diarrhoea. While this does not seem particularly dangerous at first glance, persistent vomiting and diarrhoea can result in dehydration, increased blood sodium levels and heart failure.

Consuming unknown substances

With any illicit drugs, it is extremely difficult to know exactly what types of substances have been consumed as many are laced or “cut” with other chemicals. This makes drug detox at home unpredictable and risky, as the side effects that you experience might not be those typically associated with the drug you were supposedly using.

Five reasons to detox at Sanctuary Lodge

Therapy group

  1. A home detox is rarely successful – choosing to detox under the supervision of professionals boosts your chances of success.
  2. Sanctuary Lodge provides supportive and compassionate care from knowledgeable staff.
  3. The possibility of relapse is removed when you take part in an inpatient detox.
  4. Doctors will be on hand to monitor your withdrawal symptoms and ensure you are safe.
  5. You will be provided with a comfortable and relaxing environment to recover in.

Top tips: how to detox at home safely

While attending a private rehab centre is the most effective course of treatment, unfortunately not everyone has the means to do so. If this applies to you, there is still hope. There are several steps you can take to ensure you remain safe throughout a home detox.

Some of our top tips include:

  • Resources and support: talk to your local GP and involve close friends or family members in your home detox. Be aware of the dangers of detox and ensure you have people around who can check in on you.
  • Plan ahead: know what to expect and set aside some time to focus on your detox.
  • Prepare your home: remove all traces of drugs or alcohol, as well as anything that may trigger substance abuse.
  • Eat a healthy diet: proper nutrition will help your body to heal. Planning and cooking your meals is also a great way to stay busy.
  • Stay hydrated: ensure you are taking on enough fluids, especially if you are suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Prepare medications: you may want to purchase over-the-counter medications to ease potential withdrawal symptoms, such as paracetamol, anti-sickness or diarrhoea medications or electrolyte drinks.
  • Stay busy: take up a hobby, do some exercise or start a new project – keep your mind focused on activities that don’t involve substances.
  • Ride out the cravings: cravings are one of the most difficult aspects of a home detox, but it is important to remember that they will peak and soon pass.
  • Attend meetings: consider attending local 12-step meetings and forming a support network with others in similar circumstances.

Most importantly, if you notice any signs of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, or feel like your withdrawal symptoms are getting worse, speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.

Next steps

In order to truly reap the benefits of detoxing and ensure safe and effective results, checking into an experienced detox centre is a much better choice than going it alone at home. While you may be anxious about the detox process, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. With an assisted detox you can improve your mental and physical health, restore your energy, and kick-start a successful recovery.

Frequently asked questions

Are there remedies for alcohol and drug home detox?
A medical professional should always be consulted before attempting to detox. They will be able to offer you advice and support on an individual case basis. Detoxing at home is not recommended due to the significant risks it poses. While you undergo any detox, however, it is advisable to eat healthy and nutritious foods, as well as supplement vitamins and minerals that may have been lost with substance abuse.
What is outpatient detox?
Outpatient or “day” detox is another form of treatment which allows you to attend a rehab centre during the day but return back to your home afterwards. This can be a popular choice for those who want to detox but have children or other responsibilities that make an inpatient detox programme difficult. An outpatient detox does, however, still leave you exposed to potential triggers and temptations once you leave the facility.
How can I help a loved one through home detox?
Helping a loved one through home detox can be tough – you should be prepared to see them at their worst. They may have to battle serious cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is important that you remain strong for your loved one, be patient, offer your support, make them comfortable and distract them with planned, gentle activities. Most importantly, you should educate yourself on the dangerous signs to look out for and have a doctor’s number on hand should you need it.
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