6 Reasons to Detox in a Medical Facility Instead of At Home

client detox at treatment center

Updated on March 24th, 2021

So you’ve made the choice to get clean. Congratulations! Choosing to seek help is the first step to building a healthy, fulfilling life, free from addictive substances. Now, what’s next?

Most people need to detox before they can enroll in a drug and alcohol rehab program. Just as there are different types of rehab facilities, there are also several options for drug detox. You may choose to enroll in an inpatient or outpatient drug detox program, or you may choose to detox at home. When making a decision about how you want to detox, you should consider the following factors carefully:

  • Your safety
  • Your comfort
  • Your drug use history
  • Your current and long-term health

Let’s review all your options.

What Is Inpatient Detox?

Inpatient detox takes place at a medical facility where doctors and nurses administer medications to make drug withdrawal symptoms safer and less uncomfortable. They also monitor clients closely to watch for any dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

An inpatient detox center, such as Briarwood Detox Center, will require a pre-screening before you can enroll. This usually only takes a few minutes and can be done over the phone. Its primary purpose is to ensure you are a good fit for the drug detox program. Once you are enrolled, medical staff will complete a comprehensive assessment, physical examination, and lab tests to determine your detox needs. You’ll also be required to provide information about your health history and drug use.

A high-quality detox center like Briarwood will have medical staff onsite 24/7 who will check on you every few hours and make sure you are comfortable. Your drug detox program may last anywhere from 3 to 14 days but this timeframe will vary depending on your individual circumstances.

Inpatient detox is ideal for:

  • People with severe and long-lasting addiction
  • People who relapse frequently
  • People who have too many temptations at home to detox there

However, anyone who is serious about getting sober and starting a new life of sobriety would greatly benefit from an inpatient detox program.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Inpatient Detox?

There are many different advantages to getting sober with an inpatient detox program.

  • Clients can detox in a safe, supportive, and peaceful environment, which increases their chances of being successful.
  • Detox is more comfortable due to the medical treatment and monitoring.
  • Clients have access to other resources like H&I meetings, peer recovery support, and more.
  • Clients may have access to amenities like specialized therapies (art therapy, music therapy, etc.), yoga classes, and a pool or spa.

However, there are a few cons that some people find discouraging:

  • Clients often detox easily at a facility but then struggle to stay sober when they return home. Enrolling in a rehab program after detox can provide essential support, life skills, and behavioral therapy to help clients stay sober. Positive family involvement also improves an individual’s likelihood of staying sober.
  • Inpatient detox costs more than outpatient detox. Although this is true, your health insurance benefits can reduce the cost of inpatient detox. Many detox centers also offer payment plans so you can get help right away and pay for the treatment over time as you are able.

What Is Outpatient Detox?

An outpatient detox program requires that clients travel to a hospital or other treatment center for daily detox sessions. The first session usually begins with a personal assessment, physical examination, and lab tests. You will also need to provide details about your health history and drug use. This initial detox session may last a few hours and subsequent sessions will most likely last 15 to 30 minutes (or more).

Outpatient detox programs can last anywhere from 3 to 14 days or longer.1 Generally, these types of detox programs are ideal for clients with less severe addictions or who have responsibilities at home or work that they need to remain attentive to while they complete detox treatment.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Outpatient Detox?

Some of the main benefits of outpatient detox include:

  • Clients are able to continue working or maintaining family obligations while they detox.
  • Outpatient detox programs are flexible and do not require that clients remain on-site throughout treatment.
  • Clients have easy access to supportive loved ones at home.

Some of the cons of outpatient detox include:

  • Clients have easy access to alcohol or drugs, which can be tempting.
  • Clients may not receive the support they need to be successful if they live in a home where others abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Clients have to get to appointments frequently.
  • Clients with a severe addiction won’t have immediate access to medical care from professionals if they experience a medical emergency while they are detoxing at home.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Detox: Which is Better?

Inpatient detox and outpatient detox both have their own pros and cons, but determining which one is best for you just depends on your treatment needs and circumstances.

The bottom line:

If you’re heavily addicted to your drug of choice, your withdrawal symptoms may be severe or unpredictable, which would make inpatient detox the better option.

If you have a mild addiction, work a full-time job, and have family responsibilities at home, you might be better off with outpatient detox.

If your health insurance covers a decent portion of the cost of inpatient detox, the facility offers payment plans, or you’re able to pay out of pocket, inpatient detox will provide the most structured and comprehensive care while you withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether inpatient detox or outpatient detox is best for you is to talk to an addiction treatment professional or your doctor. Be honest about your drug or alcohol abuse habits and strongly consider any recommendations your doctor or addiction treatment professional provides.

Can I Detox at Home On My Own?

Detoxing from drugs or alcohol on your own at home is always an option, but it’s never recommended. That’s because it can be dangerous, unpredictable, and even deadly. Unlike an inpatient detox or outpatient detox program, detoxing at home is a very unstructured process. You won’t have any medical supervision or guidance as you experience withdrawal symptoms and you may or may not have access to a quiet, peaceful location where you can rest while your body heals. It may also be very difficult to resist cravings and urges at home if drugs or alcohol are easily accessible.

Even if you have a support person with you, that may not be enough support. You’ll want to have experienced addiction treatment professionals providing individualized care as well as access to immediate critical care in the event of a medical emergency.

6 Reasons to Detox at an Inpatient Detox Center

Our staff highly recommends that you enroll in an inpatient drug detox facility. We are happy to provide more information about our own detox programs, but if we do not believe our detox center would be the best choice for you, we will help you find a facility that provides the care you need. If you’re still not sure that an inpatient detox program is best for you, here are six of the top reasons we recommend it.

1. Safety

In some instances, the drug or alcohol detox process can be unpredictable. This is especially true if you’re not sure which drugs you’ve taken, if you’ve taken multiple drugs simultaneously, or if you are addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines. Medically assisted detox centers offer medical assistance 24/7 to ensure your safety at all times. That way, in the event of a seizure or loss of consciousness, you can get medical help in under a minute.

Additionally, the staff at a medically assisted detox center will be able to manage any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms with medication. Although it is common for clients to fear the withdrawal process, it’s actually quite comfortable under the supervision of a medical team. At Briarwood, our nurses will check on you every few hours to make sure you are comfortable, check your vitals, and ensure you are progressing through your program at a healthy rate.

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    2. Comfort

    The best environment for drug and alcohol detox is one that is quiet, peaceful, and private, as well as one that allows you to focus on your recovery. Unfortunately, a home environment does not always provide this. Your home may be full of screaming children, roommates who are constantly in and out, or loud neighbors in the apartment next door. You also may live in a household where drug and alcohol abuse are very common, making it difficult to focus on your recovery.

    A medically assisted detox center like Briarwood can provide a comfortable environment that is perfect for healing. At our facility, welcoming staff will make sure you’re comfortable in your room, a chef will prepare all your meals for you, and you’ll have plenty of time to relax, rest, and enjoy the quiet while you focus on your health.

    3. Reduced Risk of Relapse

    Without the supervision of a medical team treating you, you’re much more likely to give in to your cravings and start using drugs or alcohol again when withdrawal gets difficult. In an inpatient detox center, your risk of relapse is drastically reduced because your withdrawal symptoms are being managed by a team of professionals. So although you might still have cravings, you won’t be seeking drugs or alcohol to ease unbearable symptoms of withdrawal. Your medical team will treat your symptoms to make sure you are comfortable at all times.

    In addition, you’ll be surrounded by other people who are just like you; experiencing drug detox for the first, second, or third time. Your peers will be traveling this journey right alongside you so you never have to feel alone. Not to mention, the Briarwood team is on your side. We want you to find health, wellness, and fulfillment in your sobriety so we’ll be here to encourage you the whole way.

    4. Peace of Mind

    It is very difficult to trust strangers with the health and well-being of a loved one, especially while they’re going through withdrawal. It’s natural for your family to be worried about you and to want the best for your recovery. If you choose to enroll in an inpatient detox center like Briarwood, your family members won’t have to worry about your safety and you don’t have to worry that something will go horribly wrong. Instead, you can just focus on getting better and your family can focus on their own well-being at home.

    5. Additional Support Services

    Detox programs at Briarwood are designed to meet your physical, emotional, and psychological needs. During drug and alcohol detox, you’ll experience a variety of emotions, feelings, and physical changes as your body rids itself of toxins and adjusts to functioning without addictive substances. During this time, you may need help processing these changes. Family members at home may not understand what you’re going through or how you feel, making it difficult for them to help.

    At Briarwood, our licensed counselors understand what you’re going through and we are available to provide individual and group counseling to help you process these changes. We also prioritize family involvement by updating your loved ones regularly on your progress, providing emotional support, and informing them of any major changes we make to your detox program.

    6. Ongoing Care

    Although drug and alcohol detox is an excellent way to manage withdrawal symptoms and rid the body of harmful toxins, drug detox alone will not “cure addiction” or help individuals obtain long-term sobriety.2 In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals who do not continue with addiction treatment after completing a drug and alcohol detox program typically resume their drug use shortly after.3

    If your goal is to obtain long-term sobriety, you should enroll in a detox center that will provide professional recommendations and encourage you to pursue ongoing addiction treatment based on your needs. The staff at Briarwood Detox Center will handle your discharge planning and even help you complete the enrollment process for inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment if you choose to enroll. Our recommendations are always based on your needs, circumstances, and financial ability, as we want the best for you and your recovery.

    At Briarwood, we understand that detox and withdrawal can be scary, but our experienced team of professionals is here to make sure your experience is as pleasant as possible. Our detox center provides safe, medically assisted detox programs for all addictive substances. In fact, our facility was designed with your comfort in mind, so you’ll enjoy all the perks of being at home without all the risks.
    If you’re ready to learn more about our drug and alcohol detox center, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Just pick up the phone and dial (888) 857-0557 to speak to a member of our admissions team today.


    1. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-1/44-46.pdf
    2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
    3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

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