Most people who want to quit alcohol or drugs will be advised to go through detoxification. Detox is the process through which alcohol or drugs are eliminated from the body; it can be a very stressful experience. Because the body has been dependent on chemical substances for so long, it can go into shock when these substances are suddenly interrupted. As the body tries to get back to normal without the usual dose of drugs or alcohol, there can be a number of unpleasant side effects known as withdrawal symptoms.
It is understandable, therefore, that most people are advised to detox within the confines of a medically supervised treatment centre. Being under the supervision of medically trained professionals makes the process easier and safer. At the end of the day, it is more comfortable to undergo detox in a well-run treatment centre.
Choosing to Detox at Home
Sometimes, though, it may not be possible to detox within a treatment centre. Some people just cannot afford to pay for residential treatment and will choose to detox at home because of this. While a detox at home is not considered as safe as one in a treatment centre, it can work if it is set up correctly in advance. The person going through detox at home will need full support, which will include a helper at home and regular visits from a medical professional such as a nurse or doctor.
It is not safe to detox at home by yourself, so you will need a helper with you throughout the process. Until all the withdrawal symptoms have passed, you are going to need someone to keep a watchful eye on you. You may choose someone from your AA meeting, such as your sponsor or sober companion, or you could ask a close friend or relative whom you trust. It may be necessary for you to have more than one helper so that they can share the watch duties as detox can last a number of days.
Your helper should be fully prepared before agreeing to undertake this important role. It is essential, for your safety, that he or she knows exactly what is in store and that he or she knows how to handle any emergencies that may arise.
Preparing for Detox
Your doctor should be aware of your plans and should be willing to make a home visit if necessary. If your doctor is unable to do this, ask him or her to refer you to someone who can attend if required. Make sure your helper has a list of emergency contact numbers. If you get violent or aggressive during detox, your helper may need assistance in restraining you, so strong friends, family members or neighbours should be available.
Make sure you give your helper a list of any medication conditions that you have so that this list can be provided to emergency services if necessary. It will help them when/if it comes to administering medication.
Your home should be made clean and calm before the detox takes place. That means getting rid of all alcohol and drugs, including prescription medication. Anything that contains alcohol should be removed, including hand sanitiser, alcohol flavourings, and rubbing alcohol from a first-aid kit.
Make sure that lights are not too bright and that you have calm, relaxing music to listen to. You should have a comfortable place to sit and rest for both you and your helper.
Eat and drink as much as you need to, but try to snack on healthy foods that will help to keep your blood sugars level. Practice meditation techniques to help you stay relaxed.
In the event that a home detox has to be performed, stick to the suggestions above and things should run smoothly.