How to Do a Drug Detox at Home

Detoxing from home can be risky, depending on the drug you are trying to detox from. If you are detoxing from something which can cause medical complications as a result, it may be necessary to take medication during the process. There are many drugs which have serious side effects as a result of stopping their use once a physical dependency has been developed. However, there are also some drugs which can be stopped with very little physical consequence. Typically, people who must detox from any drug which causes physical dependency are urged to seek medical care during the process of detoxification. There are some steps that may make detoxing at home a little bit safer but for the most part caution should be used and the risks weighed out carefully.

Risks Involved With Home Detox

Once the body has become dependent on a substance, shock can occur when that substance is stopped suddenly. This can lead to many serious complications including, blood pressure instability, cardiac arrest and stroke. In addition, severe vomiting and dehydration can occur in some cases. There is also the possibility of temporary dementia and hallucinations to consider. Obviously, these risks must be taken into consideration before the decision to self detox is made. Further, it is always best to at least consult with a physician prior to stopping any addictive medication or street drug suddenly. This includes stopping alcohol cold turkey as it is technically a drug and carries the risk of adverse effects as well.

Detoxing From Drugs Which Are Not Physically Addictive

Crack, Cocaine and Amphetamines (Meth and Speed) are not considered drugs which require a medical detox in most cases. These drugs do cause dependency but it is a different sort of dependency. There is no physical dependency associated with them and the effect is largely mental. This makes detoxing from these drugs, in terms of medical safety, much easier. The person detoxing from these drugs may develop enhanced anxiety for the first several days and usually a mild sedative or even over the counter sleep aid will help cushion this effect. The most important aspects of detoxing from these drugs will be plenty of rest, plenty of fluids and nutritious food. A person detoxing from these classes of drugs will be extremely tired due to sleep deprivation caused during use and will more than likely become quite hungry as they may have skipped food altogether for some time.

Detox Under Supervision When Possible

If a person does not desire to detox in a treatment facility or hospital and has made the decision to do so at home, it would be wise whenever possible to be accompanied by a friend or family member incase any negative side effects ensue. Having someone there to dial 911 if it should become necessary is definitely a good idea. During the first 48 to 72 hours of a detox from a highly addictive drug such as Heroin or other opiates are the most crucial. The person detoxing should not be left unsupervised if it is at all possible. Because there is no way to gauge how well each person’s body will respond to detox, it is best to play is safe.

Make a Solid Plan

Before the detox begins it is important to make a solid plan of action that will be adhered to no matter what. Some people insist on being shut away in a room with no access to the outside world if they feel that is the only way they will get through the detox. If there is a responsible person just outside the room who can monitor the situation, this may be a good strategy. However, if a person is attempting to detox alone it would be a very bad choice to be locked in a room in the event a fire broke out or a medical emergency arose. A good plan will help ensure a successful detox. The most important thing is that no one caves during the process. Until you have been present for a detox there is really no way to prepare yourself for the things that may occur.

Supplies to Keep on Hand

An ideal thing to have on hand before any detox begins is a prescription medication, given by a doctor, to specifically counter any symptoms which may be associated with the detox. However, if that is not an option, there are other drugs that are sold over the counter which may help. Tylenol can be administered to help ward off aches and pains which occur during a physical detox but be warned, it isn’t going to do much good. There should be plenty of fluid such as Gatorade available, as well as clear foods like soups and broths. Chances are the person detoxing will not have much of an appetite in the first few days but fluid is a must to avoid dehydration. Herbal teas which are known to have calming properties such as chamomile tea can be given to help relax the person a little bit. A thermometer, blood pressure testing kit and anti-vomiting medications would be excellent tools to have on hand.

Keep in mind that the person detoxing is going to be very uncomfortable and may even become violent or angry during the process, especially if he/she begins to change his/her mind mid stream. If you are planning on accompanying someone who will be detoxing at home, you will want to stand your ground and remember that these effects will generally wane significantly in about 3 days. Obviously, if you should begin to feel threatened physically, all bets are off. However, most of the time, it works out fine with a little patience and a lot of diligence.


  1. Your text is useless, as it seems to me that you are advising to replace hard drugs with medication, yet I suffer from poly drug abuse and don't want to replace one problem with another, as it usually happens!

  2. I do not know anything about poly. I am a heroine addict and the information sounds helpful.

  3. Thanks for the article. Helping.

  4. Thank you. That was information I needed.

  5. I am a nurse and we do the same thing in the hospital. We treat the withdrawal symptoms with benzo's like ativan to dull the effect of coming down. I think this article was completely accurate and informative. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Helpful, thank you!

  7. Thank you Mr. Cranston and Merry Christmas!

  8. I have a friend who wants to detox but because of his age can't get help from the hospital. I wanna support him trying at home.

  9. Simple yet complete and informative article, thank you!

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