- Benzodiazepines/barbiturates—These are the primary treatment for alcohol withdrawal. The initial effective dose will be tapered over time to reduce the risk of seizures and delirium tremens.
- Anticonvulsants, such as Neurontin.
- Antipsychotics such as Haldol.
To begin a safe detox, be sure to consult with a medical professional, preferably one with addiction treatment or withdrawal management experience. This specialist can provide a thorough assessment of your status and risks.
- Methadone or buprenorphine. As opioid agonist medications, these medically presribed treatment drugs are given in controlled doses to ease cravings and minimize withdrawal distress associated with quitting heroin or prescription painkillers.
- Clonidine. More often used in inpatient settings, this medication will only treat certain detox symptoms like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.
People receiving only detoxification are more likely to relapse shortly into recovery. 2 ,3 It only addresses the physiological consequences of substance abuse. Additional treatment is needed to understand the triggers of use and how to appropriately respond to cravings in the future. 2 To ensure the best possible outcomes, complete care including behavioral therapies, support groups, educational/employment services, and community supports is needed.
Some of these mental health symptoms can be so severe that the person detoxing threatens harm against themselves or others around them, which makes the at-home method very problematic. 3,4 Again, the symptoms will depend on the substance of abuse and your physical and mental health, which is why it is so vital to get a professional evaluation prior to attempting to quit drugs on your own.
- Anger and irritability.
- Depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Delusional thinking and paranoia.
Also, remember you can still live at home while going through outpatient detox. You’ll visit the treatment center for care but will return back to go about your daily life. This is a safer option than going cold turkey with no assistance. You’ll have regular check-ins where your health can be monitored and you’ll have professionals who will provide guidance and support and who will help to set you up with ongoing care.
Many addiction treatment professionals recommend that, for the safety of the recovering individual, drug detox take place under the care of a team of trained professionals able to medically manage the withdrawal period. 2,3
Detox can take place in a number of settings, and while it may be tempting to attempt it at home, it may not be your best option. In fact, in some cases, it can be dangerous or even deadly to do so.