Can I Use Over-the-Counter Detox Products for Withdrawal?
When a person uses a substance chronically, their body may develop a physical dependence on the drug.1 If they then attempt to quit or reduce their substance use, they may experience various withdrawal symptoms.1,2,3
Some people may attempt to manage these withdrawal symptoms on their own, and there are even some companies that advertise “at-home detox kits”. Mostly, however, these products offer no real detox support and instead offer misleading claims about helping people flush drugs out of their system to pass a drug test.
Because many substances of misuse can produce very painful—sometimes dangerous—withdrawal symptoms, medical detox can provide a much safer way to manage withdrawal than any type of “detox kit”. Medical detox, which may be offered in both inpatient and outpatient settings—often involves a combination of prescription and OTC medications combined with the supervision of qualified medical staff.
What is a “Detox Kit”?
“Detox kits” are over-the-counter supplements or drinks marketed to help cleanse your body of an unwanted substance, often THC (cannabis). They work on a variety of timelines, intending to produce a “clean” (negative) drug test if you need to be drug-free for an employer or another occasion. Many kits come with an at-home urine test to take after consuming the included supplement to verify your detoxification.
Other marketed “detox” supplements or kits are intended for whole-body wellness and general health.
These detox kits have very little to do with the kind of interventions provided in detoxification at a professional addiction treatment facility and are not designed to help alleviate or prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Risks of Attempting to Detox at Home without Medical Support
Detoxification without medical support carries risks. Depending on the type of substance someone is dependent on, withdrawal symptoms can range between unpleasant and deadly.2 Heavy use of certain substances, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can cause patients to have life-threatening withdrawal syndromes.2,3
Additionally, withdrawal symptoms can cause someone to relapse shortly after they decide to get sober.
Medically assisted detox in a dedicated addiction treatment facility can mitigate the risk of early relapse, as well as keep patients safe and comfortable during acute withdrawal.3 Outpatient detox, which allows the patient to detox at home while getting care from a medical provider, can also be very effective for patients who do not need 24/7 care under the supervision of medical professionals.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal syndrome is the collection of symptoms that appear when the brain and body adjust to functioning without—or with less of—a drug. Withdrawal only occurs in people who have developed a physiological dependence on a substance.2
Many factors influence withdrawal symptoms and their severity, including:2,3
- Which substance the patient is withdrawing from.
- The dose or level at which they have been using the substance.
- Whether they have been misusing multiple substances.
We’ll now go over the withdrawal symptoms of common substances of misuse, including opioids, stimulants, alcohol, marijuana, and benzodiazepines.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:2
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Hot flashes.
- Muscle cramps or aches.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Stimulants (such as methamphetamine and cocaine) withdrawal symptoms include:2
- Aggression or irritability.
- Increased need for sleep.
- Increase in appetite.
- Achy muscles.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:2
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or temperature.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include:2
- Anxiety or feelings of general fear.
- Decreased appetite.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Night sweats.
Benzodiazepine (Xanax, Valium, Ativan) withdrawal symptoms include:2
- Muscle aches.
- Trouble concentrating.
Detox from Drugs and Alcohol with Desert Hope
Medical detox can help patients safely get past acute withdrawal. However, please note that detox is only the first step in addiction recovery.3,4 Most of the treatment in addiction recovery is done by using behavioral therapies, building communities of support around sobriety, and developing coping skills to combat cravings or triggers. Continued treatment is an essential part of long-term recovery.4
Desert Hope provides comprehensive treatment that incorporates behavioral therapy early in the recovery process, provides a seamless transition from detox into rehabilitation treatment, and offers several types of addiction treatment, including:
- Medical detox.
- Residential treatment.
- Partial hospitalization (day treatment).
- Intensive outpatient treatment.
- Standard outpatient care.
- Sober living.
If you or a loved one are ready to detox and start life sober, many treatment centers are willing to help. For those looking for alcohol or drug rehab in Las Vegas, Desert Hope treatment center is available to help.
Admissions navigators are available 24/7 at to answer any questions you may have about inpatient drug and alcohol rehab, rehab admissions, how to pay for rehab, and others. They can even help find answers on using insurance to pay for rehab. Call today to start your new life substance-free.