Completing a drug rehab program requires a personal and financial commitment that you may not be ready to make. Alternatively, other tempting DIY options may promise positive results but lack adequate treatment and support for a successful recovery from addiction.
Although DIY drug rehab sounds like a great option, there are five major risks involved that could easily derail your journey to sobriety. If you’re thinking about getting sober, but you’re not convinced that a professional drug rehab program is the way to go, here are a few reasons you may want to reconsider.
Top 5 Risks of DIY Drug Rehab
1. Severe or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms
Getting sober isn’t as easy as just putting down the bottle. The very first stage of recovery often involves detox and withdrawal, a process in which your body re-learns how to function without addictive substances after you cut back or quit using entirely. As your body adjusts to the absence of the drugs or alcohol, you’ll likely experience some uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms—a result of your body re-stabilizing itself.1
This can cause some serious discomfort and in some instances, it can even be life-threatening. Detoxing from alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines can result in death due to medical complications or untreated psychological withdrawal symptoms. If you regularly abuse multiple substances simultaneously (such as alcohol and prescription painkillers), your withdrawal symptoms may be more severe and unpredictable.
Additionally, the psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to overcome without support. You may feel anxious, deeply depressed, irritable, and paranoid. You may even start hallucinating, which can make it difficult to determine what’s real and what’s not.
Quitting drugs or alcohol on your own is very difficult, and if you quit cold turkey, you’re more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Starting your recovery journey with a medical detox program can provide the medical and clinical care you need to do so safely, effectively, and comfortably. Although taking this extra step requires you to ask someone for help and enroll in a program, you are much more likely to have a more comfortable detox experience, get sober, and avoid relapse with professional support.
2. Lack of support in the early stages of recovery
The early stages of recovery are often the most difficult because you are adjusting to a new way of life and you’re still learning how to implement important skills and strategies to stay sober. Not to mention, the drug cravings can be really powerful.
If you choose to go the do-it-yourself route with DIY drug rehab, you may not have access to valuable structure and support that will guide you as you make this difficult transition. Staying sober when you’re in the “pink cloud” stage might seem easy, but when the pink cloud wears off and you’re left to face the challenges of daily life without a sober support system, you are much more likely to fall off the wagon.
Recovery support is one of the most advantageous benefits of a drug rehab program. Experienced staff members who understand the impact of addiction and are familiar with the treatment and recovery process (or have even gone through it themselves) work one-on-one with clients in rehab to help them address the underlying causes of their addiction and change harmful habits and mindsets.
This individualized support creates an environment that is ideal for sustained sobriety and that allows each client to grow in the ways that are most beneficial to them while they work to tackle ongoing issues that contribute to their substance abuse. This includes any co-occurring disorders like depression, PTSD, or social anxiety.
3. Exposure to triggers at home
DIY drug rehab sounds great in theory, but getting sober on your own can be very difficult if you’re surrounded by family members and friends who use or by drug paraphernalia that reminds you of your past use. Additionally, being in an environment where you frequently used in the past makes it difficult to step away from old behavior patterns and start fresh with a new sober lifestyle.
Getting away from all the triggers in your home environment can be very refreshing and helpful when you’re trying to start over. A rehab center can provide a fresh start and a new environment that allows you to focus on the positive changes you’re making instead of focusing on the past.
Even after residential rehab is over, many people choose to live in a sober living home because they provide a buffer between the safe umbrella of rehab and independent life as a sober person outside of rehab.
4. Lack of comprehensive care
If you choose to forego a professional drug rehab program, you’ll miss out on very important education, family therapy, and counseling from professionals who are trained to help you overcome your addiction. Just as getting physically sober is important, it’s also essential that you address the other factors that have contributed to your addiction, such as physical or emotional abuse, low self-esteem, and shame. However, it can be difficult to grow and change in these areas without a third party to guide you.
While detox programs are designed to address the physical aspects of addiction recovery during withdrawal, a drug rehab program focuses on the psychological aspects of addiction. Overcoming addiction is a long-term process that requires several different methods of treatment to be successful, including medical intervention, therapy, counseling, education, and peer support.
Unfortunately, with DIY drug rehab, you’ll most likely miss out on some of these important aspects of treatment. This could lead to increased incidences of relapse and reduced satisfaction from a lifestyle of sobriety.
5. Fewer opportunities for sober social connection
With certain types of DIY drug rehab, you may be able to form some sober social connections, such as through an online forum or a 12-step fellowship. However, you may feel nervous about approaching social situations sober or have limited access to other sober individuals. This can make sobriety feel isolating and lonely, which will further increase your risk for relapse.
Regularly connecting with other sober individuals and forming strong, healthy relationships with people who support your sobriety is one of the main factors that determine long-term success in sobriety.2 Having a strong foundation of supportive sober peers can give you hope, provide encouragement and accountability, and give you opportunities to invest in others’ lives as well.
From the very beginning stages of the treatment process, drug detox, rehab, and aftercare programs use treatment methods like group counseling, peer support groups, and H&I meetings to facilitate peer involvement in recovery and encourage clients to establish healthy relationships. This process provides even the most introverted individuals with many opportunities to develop a social circle of individuals that are actively engaged in a sober lifestyle.
Learn More About Your Addiction Treatment Options
If you’re ready to get sober but you want to know more about your treatment options, the helpful admissions staff at Nova Recovery Center is here to help. We can provide with you more information about drug detox, residential rehab, outpatient rehab, and aftercare services and help you determine the right type of treatment for you.
Starting over after addiction is never easy, but we are here to help you take the first step. Call (512) 605-2955 to get started today.