Pros and Cons of Self-Detoxing from Addiction

Drugs and alcohol can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health in many ways. With issues such as decreased energy, behavioral changes, relationship problems, poor mental health, and more, you may be ready to overcome your addiction with a detox.

Is it safe to self-detox at home, or should you do so under the medical care of a hospital or addiction treatment staff? There are pros and cons to self-detoxing, but it largely depends on the severity of the addiction, how long you’ve been addicted to the substance, and the type of substance involved.

When it comes to substances such as marijuana, your body may be better suited to detox at home because the drug has fewer health complications associated with the detox process. However, self-detoxing from heavy use of alcohol or opioids may pose serious risks to your health, making it unsafe to detox at home.

Review the pros and cons of self-detoxing to find the right option for your recovery.

Pros of self-detoxing from addiction

Everyone’s experience with addiction is different, and you may be able to safely detox from drugs or alcohol on your own at home. Here are some of the pros of self-detoxing.

Self-detoxing is more affordable

Drug and alcohol detox programs can get pretty expensive, especially if you need to stay overnight for an extended period. Most inpatient detox programs range from five to 10 days and cost anywhere between $250 and $800 per day without insurance.

If you choose an inpatient program, you’ll be looking at higher costs. A 30-day program may cost between $5,000 and $10,000, and a 60- to 90-day program may be closer to $15,000 to $20,000 without health insurance. Detoxing at home will save you on these costs.


When you detox at a rehab facility, you’re managing drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the company of strangers, which can be uncomfortable. One of the benefits of detoxing at home is that you can have as much privacy as you want.

Creature comforts

It is possible to manage drug and alcohol withdrawal at home, and if you choose to do so, you can benefit from having all of your preferred creature comforts while you come off of the substance.

For some people, going to a rehab facility can be intimidating. The break in routine and lack of normalcy may be overwhelming and distract them from recovering. When you self-detox, you can surround yourself with the things that make you feel most comfortable.

Cons of self-detoxing from addiction

Some people may be better suited to detox from addiction in a residential treatment program, inpatient rehab, or detox center. Check out the following cons of self-detoxing to decide whether or not a home detox is the right choice for you.

It can be dangerous

It’s not always safe to detox at home. The symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and at times life-threatening.

At home, you have no medical care, addiction support staff, or emergency services to handle the symptoms of withdrawal quickly and efficiently.

Many withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant, but not life-threatening. However, it is possible for something to go wrong, which is why it’s important to consider the risks of detoxing at home.

Alcohol withdrawal can cause:

  • anxiety and depression
  • insomnia
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tremors
  • rapid heart rate
  • seizures
  • fever
  • hallucinations

Opioid withdrawal can cause:

While withdrawing from stimulants, you may experience:

  • dehydration
  • weight loss
  • irritability
  • impaired memory
  • dulled senses

Is it safe to self-detox at home

Lack of emotional support

In a detox center or rehab program, you’ll be supported by counselors and psychiatrists who can offer mental and emotional support. This is especially helpful for managing symptoms of anxiety, paranoia, depression, mood swings, and other emotional issues during withdrawal.

At home, you may not have access to this type of support.

Higher risk for relapse

Because the symptoms of withdrawal are very uncomfortable and at times painful, you may be tempted to relapse to put a stop to the discomfort. In a detox center, you won’t have access to drugs or alcohol, but at home, you will have the freedom to get these substances.

What can help is having a friend or family member stay with you during your detox to help you to stay on track and avoid relapse. It’s also important to have a relapse prevention plan with steps you can take to keep from going back to drugs or alcohol during your detox.

A final word

Whether you choose to self-detox or go to a treatment facility, make sure you can get the help you need in case of an emergency. Have a friend ready to take you to a hospital, take the necessary precautions when preparing yourself for a self-detox, and have medications on hand to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.

Take care of your physical and mental health during this time, reaching out for support when necessary. If you have a more serious drug or alcohol addiction, consider finding more information on detox programs and what might be involved with detoxing in a medical center.