Detoxification is often the first step for those who wish to give up alcohol or drugs. Detox is the process by which drugs and alcohol are completely removed eliminated from the system. It is a process that has proved to be very strenuous and difficult for many. The reason it can be so arduous is that the body can go into a ‘state of shock’ when the substance that the individual has abused for so long has suddenly stopped. It basically does not know how to cope without the drugs it has been used to for so long.

As the body tries to adjust to being drug-free, it can produce an array of unpleasant side effects as it fights to return to a semblance of normality; these are known as withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can often be quite painful and distressing to the affected individual.

It is because of this that it is usually recommended most people should detox in a rehab clinic. The individual will be supervised by medically trained staff who will support them and offer alleviating treatments as part of the process, making the whole process less strenuous for the client.

Making the Choice to Detox at Home

It is not always possible or feasible to detox at a treatment centre, though. There are a number of factors which can influence this, including:

  • lack of funds
  • family commitments
  • the severity of the addiction
  • overall health and wellbeing of the individual in question.

A home detox is not considered as safe as detox in a treatment clinic; however, if it is set up correctly and has the right support network in place, then it can work. If an affected individual does plan to detox at home, he or she will need the support of a home helper, carefully allotted medication, and frequent visits from a medical professional.

The Role of Your Helper

Although the individual may be able to detox at home in a safe environment, he/she should never attempt to do this alone. The person will require around-the-clock support until all withdrawal symptoms have passed; many choose to ask a close friend or family member, or it could even be a sponsor.

Initially, it may be necessary to have more than one helper to share the responsibilities, as detox can take a number of days. Either way, the helper(s) has a difficult task ahead of him/her. He/she needs to be aware of what the whole procedure entails while being confident in handling any emergencies that may arise during the process.


It is important that the atmosphere in the home is calm and serene before detox takes place. The home should be completely rid of any form of drugs or alcohol, including prescription drugs, hand sanitisers, and even rubbing alcohol.

It would be beneficial to the individual to have soft music playing in the background. Try to avoid any loud music or noises in general, though. There should be a comfortable chair for the patient as well as a low bed for sleep and rest. The lights should be on, but the helper should ensure that these are not too bright.

The patient should be allowed to eat and drink freely, without any restrictions. Although, healthier options are obviously better as these will keep blood sugar at optimum levels. It is also okay for the individual to listen to music quietly, watch films or even nap. He or she should be allowed to occupy him/herself with activities to help them get through this difficult time but within reason of course.

One of the most important roles of the helper is to make sure the patient feels like they can speak to them if they need any support. It is essential that they feel worthy of your attention.

All in all, although it is best to detox in a rehab clinic, it is possible in certain situations to do it at home. If this is the choice you have made, ensure you follow the above recommendations before attempting the detox. If you need any advice or information on the procedure, or on detox in general, please do not hesitate to give us a call.