How do you know if your loved one needs alcohol or drug detox?

If you’re familiar with the recovery process, you know that detox usually comes first. Most rehab centers include medical detox in their programs, but is it really necessary? Is it possible to safely detox from home?

The answer depends on your loved one’s addiction and health history. Detox offers the safest and most comfortable way to clean out the body from alcohol and drugs, but isn’t always necessary for everyone.

So, how do you determine if your loved one truly needs detox? 

We strongly recommend medically-supervised detox if your loved one . . .

  • Is middled-aged or older and has a history of sustained heavy drinking or drug use
  • Experiences withdrawal symptoms when they need a drink or fix
  • Consumes large amounts of alcohol (e.g. anything over a 12 pack of beer or pint of liquor per day)
  • Drinks or uses every day and has been for years
  • Takes benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan), especially if taken alongside alcohol
  • Shakes, trembles or convulses (If this happens, it is life-threatening; seek immediate care.)
  • Injects drugs
  • Has other health problems
  • Is severely depressed
  • Has self-destructive thoughts or a history of suicide attempts
  • Has tried unsuccessfully to detox on their own

The severity of the detox process varies for each drug. For example, withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or benzodiazepines can be life-threatening, whereas opiate withdrawal symptoms tend to be more painful than fatal. If you’re unsure about whether your loved one needs detox, talk to a doctor with experience in addiction and withdrawal. When in doubt, always seek professional help. Death is a very real result of unmonitored detox.

For more questions about detox or Duffy’s detox program, please call us at 1.888.7171.9724. We’d be happy to help you decide the best course of action for your loved one.