When most people think of detox and drug treatment, they picture leaving home—separating from their daily lives in order to focus on getting clean. This is a great option for many people. However, it has added challenges: family relationship, jobs and daily activities are all put on hold during the period that the patient is away.
For some people, it is possible to get sober using supported home detox and treatment programs that do not require them to leave their lives behind.
“Home detox works for many people, especially those who have mid to lower drug or alcohol use,” said Christopher Yiannakou, the director of Serenity Health and Substance Misuse, a UK organization that provides treatment and connects patients with rehab clinics and counseling services.
What Does a Home Detox Program Entail?
The key to getting effective treatment at home is to be enrolled with a structured program. Serenity Health offers alcohol home detox and drug home detox. These programs offer similar treatment to what people would experience if they were in a residential program: there is an initial medical assessment, and medications are used to help people deal with the physical symptoms of detox when appropriate. A nurse or doctor checks in frequently during that time.
Patients also address the root cause of their addiction during counseling sessions.
“A home detox tends to really work as long as its carried out with 28 day counseling sessions,” Yiannakou says. “These session are daily—they need to be that often, since one twice a week simply wont work.”
The counseling sessions are done over the phone or Skype. While one might expect that this doesn’t lead to the same level of commitment, Yiannakou has found just the opposite to be true.
“What really jumps out is the level of honesty and commitment home detox patients have,” he said. “There seems to be a bigger element of trust.”
In addition to attending daily sessions, patients get homework assignments that keep them focused on recovery. Extended supports are available over a year to help people maintain their sobriety even after the intensive 28-day phase of the program has ended.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Home Detox?
The biggest disadvantage of home detox programs is that patients are not monitored constantly like they would be in a residential setting. There is no control over who the patients come into contact with or where they go, which can make it harder for some people to avoid substances.
Because of this, patients who choose home detox need to have a certain level of self-awareness and self-direction that will give them the strength to stay sober even when they have the option to use. That means that home detox is best for people who have mild to mid-range substance use disorder, Yiannakou says.
Home detox is also beneficial for people who have established themselves in recovery, but have recently relapsed.
“At-home services can also be a good option for someone who has had good recovery for some time, but recently slipped up,” Yiannakou says. “They have the tools for recovery and just need that push again. Once they get into self-help groups and engage with the counseling they are soon back on track.”
About half of people who inquire about home detox through Serenity Health are screened out of the program for medical reasons or because they need a higher level of care. These people are referred to more intensive programs.
However, for patients who don’t need as high a level of care, home detox can be a great option to help them get sober without completely interrupting their lives.
“Many have work commitments or family, or have financial issues and simply cannot afford inpatient rehab,” Yiannakou says. “Home detox and home counseling is great for these clients.”
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