Why You Shouldn't Detox On Your Own

Learn why you shouldn’t detox on your own and how professional detox can ensure a safe and effective recovery from substance abuse.

Detoxification is a crucial step in your recovery from substance abuse, but it comes with complexities that make it impossible to detox on your own.

During your period of addiction, your body was likely overwhelmed by large volumes of various substances, which have deeply interacted with your system and won't be easily eliminated. However, it is possible to remove these substances through detoxification.

If you want to learn more about why you shouldn’t detox on your own, let’s get into it.  

alcohol detox Portland OregonSouce: Pacific Crest Trail Detox

What Is Detoxification?

Detoxification (detox) is the initial step in the recovery process for individuals with substance use disorders. Simply put, toxic substances are removed medically and physiologically from your body. This makes it possible to manage any acute withdrawal symptoms you may suffer from.

Additionally, detox also helps stabilize your condition. In this manner, you can be both mentally and physically prepared for further treatment and rehab. 

Physiological And Psychological Impact Of Detox

The detox process for men, women, or those in between is no easy process.

You’ve likely become dependent on these substances for various reasons and long periods. The absence and removal of these during detox will be new to you.

As a result, your body will retaliate via withdrawal symptoms. Common physical withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweating, or even seizures in severe cases. 

Detox is also psychologically demanding. You may experience anxiety, depression, irritability, and cravings. This happens because substance use has also affected your mood and behavior. The sudden absence of these could make stress and sadness challenging to manage. 

Substances Requiring Detox

There are a few substances that you particularly shouldn’t detox on your own. For your guidance, here are three of the most common ones:


Sudden withdrawal from alcohol after prolonged use may cause severe withdrawal symptoms and health risks. These can range from mild symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, and sweating. However, severe conditions include seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens. These can all be life-threatening.

When it comes to health risks, you want to avoid detox on your own because of potential blood pressure changes, gastrointestinal issues, and liver dysfunction.

detox process for men

Source: Pexels


Opioids include prescription painkillers, heroin, or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Withdrawal symptoms from these include muscle aches, agitation, insomnia, and sweating. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Unlike unsupervised alcohol detox, opioid withdrawal is not commonly life-threatening. Regardless, it’s discouraged to detox on your own because of the prescribed medications during the process. Examples of these are methadone, buprenorphine, and clonidine.


Methamphetamines are particularly challenging because withdrawal could significantly affect your mental health. Psychological symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability, and intense drug cravings. However, methamphetamine withdrawal also requires the management of physical symptoms. You may experience fatigue, increased appetite, and sleep disturbances.

Dangers Of Self-Detoxification

It may be tempting to do detox on your own. Whether you’re considering it for financial or personal reasons, here’s why you shouldn’t:

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

Self-detoxification can lead to dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. For example, alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures, delirium tremens, and severe dehydration.

Risk Of Complications

Severe withdrawal symptoms aren’t the only problems. You may also experience health complications if your detox isn't controlled. This happens because your body has become accustomed to these substances.

With abrupt cessation, your body may react violently. This is particularly harmful if you have underlying health conditions on top of your substance abuse. Examples of complications include heart and liver failure. 

Intense Cravings And Relapse Risk

One of the most difficult challenges when it comes to substance abuse disorder is managing intense cravings. Without professional support and medications, you may have difficulty with your withdrawal symptoms. This can be extremely distressing and uncomfortable.

As a result, you’ll look for a sense of relief. And because you’re accustomed to them, your first response might be a glass of alcohol or a cigarette. As such, you may be more likely to give in and eventually relapse back to addiction.

Mental Health Issues

Withdrawal from substances such as alcohol, opioids, and methamphetamines can cause severe anxiety and depression. In some cases, you may also experience psychosis. Discrimination against substance abuse disorder could also exacerbate this. Professional supervision during detox can provide for your needs and ensure a safe environment.


The Benefits Of Medical Supervision

Apart from avoiding the aforementioned risks, medical supervision also comes with the following advantages:

Safety And Monitoring

Your health is monitored during the detoxification process. Healthcare professionals can immediately respond to any of your complications. This also means they can observe whether the treatments are effective and promptly change them to suit your needs. 

Access To Medications

Under your healthcare providers’ supervision, you could access medications that can ease the withdrawal process. For example, methadone and buprenorphine help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms. Meanwhile, benzodiazepines treat severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These will alleviate your discomfort, reduce your cravings, and generally stabilize your condition. 

Detox also means that your dosage for these medications is safe and controlled. 

Help You Be Ready To Step Into Treatment

Detox is only the first step in the recovery journey. Detox ensures that you are both physically and mentally prepared to undergo the next steps of treatment. The medical supervision during detox also allows healthcare professionals to gauge your needs. This will be one of the standards for referring you to counseling, peer support, or rehab facilities. By doing so, you can develop a personalized detox approach and recovery plan.

personalized detox approachSource: Freepik

In Conclusion

Detoxification is one of the most vital steps in substance abuse recovery. The last thing you may want to do is detox on your own. It cleanses your body from the accumulated toxins during your substance use. You’ll receive medications for your withdrawal symptoms to ensure stability. Additionally, they can manage your underlying physical and mental conditions to avoid further health complications. But most importantly, the process reduces your chances of relapse. Substance abuse recovery requires that you're physically and mentally ready, and detox gets you started.

Looking into drug and alcohol detox in Portland Oregon? Connect with us at Pacific Crest Trail Detox and let’s begin!

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