11 Reasons People are Scared to Attend Drug Detox

fear of going to detox

Before attending treatment for addiction recovery, it is essential to go through drug detoxification (detox) first. The thought of an alcohol or drug detox process sometimes gives individuals a feeling of fear. That crippling fear will often keep individuals away from getting the help and treatment they need. Change can be frightening, and because a drug detox equals change, individuals suffering from addiction, will naturally experience and express fears about it.

Detox is the most crucial step on the road to sobriety, and if the decision has been made to get clean, it’s a must the fear must be faced. Any concerns about detox are similar to any other type of change. Once the fear has been scrutinized, there is very little to be afraid of anymore. For the individuals who have decided they’re ready to get clean, here are some tips to help you overcome your fear of drug detox and the addiction recovery process. 

The Older We Get, The More Fearful We Become

As age takes ahold of us, fear starts to grow tremendously throughout life and prevents certain matters from progressing. This is just referring to our rational and irrational minds growing and more experience building on our lifetime resume. For some, this ever-growing fear is what has built their alcoholism or addiction to such towering proportions. 

Fear of dealing with life on life’s terms, an alcoholic beverage can quickly become a friendly solution. Yet, this solution doesn’t seem to be fixing anything, instead only making them worse. After the person in question determines some trial and error, and this, it is often too late, and physical and mental dependency has taken a firm grasp. It’s time to kick the substances and start fresh…., but how? 

One of the first fears that is realized is:

Fear of Leaving That Crutch Behind

When our friends abandoned us, and nobody wanted to be in our presence- the bottle was always there. The irrational fear of losing “your friend” alcohol sets in. It sounds a bit off-kilter, but it’s a necessity. 

It’s become our primary source of relief- the very lifeline that fills our veins. This torments us, but we learn to overcome it in better situations and those who want to see the clean side of a day. If we can overcome these thoughts, then there are more excuses that begin.

Fear of Detox 

Any new and unfamiliar paths crossed will cause anxiety and stress, even when the results are positive changes such as attending drug detox. Individuals with a drug addiction become afraid they’re not able to participate in detox and get sober, detox won’t work, they’ll disappoint their loved ones, etc. All these reasons have the same common factor – fearing the unknown – which can be quite intimidating.

The human brain will define its thoughts around the way the world is structured to operate. People do not like change. Even drug addicts have their daily habits and rituals. Whenever these habits are disrupted, including a desire to become sober, the brain will start operating in a way to try to prevent that change.

There are many factors why people fear drug detox and addiction recovery. To pinpoint the source of fear is the most crucial step to conquer it. Some of the more common concerns people share about drug detox include:

  • Withdrawal
  • Success
  • Failure 
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Losing old friends
  • Miserable when sober
  • Losing yourself
  • Concerned they will not finish the detox
  • Fear of relapse
  • Afraid they will dislike a sober lifestyle 

Many doubts and questions will go through a drug addict’s head. The fear of change brings about uncomfortable feelings due to the unknown process we’re about to embark on. If there’s an addict who is thinking about attending drug detox and addiction recovery but is too afraid, know that the fear change is natural, and everybody goes through it.

Fear of Withdrawal Symptoms

The desire to become sober, but the fear of withdrawal symptoms, is the most significant obstacle for individuals wanting to get clean. After all, there have been are many horror stories shared, and you already know how bad it’s going to be, right? Here are some of the more common withdrawal symptoms encountered during detox which include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweats
  • Aches and pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Cold chills

Most of these withdrawal symptoms are very similar to symptoms of having the flu, which most have become sick with and survived. Detox and withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and unpleasant, but they are manageable, and only last a few days to a week.

To be under the supervision of a detox medical professional is crucial in going to the withdrawal process comfortably. Medical personnel will supervise around-the-clock and administer medications to help comfort the withdrawal symptoms when needed. The greatest fear of withdrawal symptoms should be to suffer them outside of a medical detox facility and without the supervision of a medical professional.

Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is another cause for addicts to refuse addiction treatment because they believe getting sober could lead to an eventual relapse down the road. Individuals feeling this way must know it’s vital to remember that no life decisions are made or based on a certainty that you will succeed. Failure is an essential learning part of life that everyone experiences, but it’s also the only attempt that will give you the chance to achieve and reach the goal set. 

The art of attempting and failing is something we fear to try, but is also vital to learning and growing. Humans are always trying to eliminate items from their lives, whether poor food choices, bad relationships, or even drugs and alcohol. The fear to quit using drugs or alcohol is scarier than all others. This is due to individuals being unable to control their addiction cravings, which makes them feel they’re weak through the perception of others, giving them something else to stress about.

But again, you cannot succeed if you don’t try. It is of the utmost importance to get involved with a reputable and experienced addiction treatment facility that specializes in all aspects of recovery, including drug detox. Addicts need the assurance of those fearful feelings aren’t unique, and a support group of peers who share the same experiences will help with that understanding.   

Fear of Life Becoming Boring

Many individuals are afraid they will not have anything to do on weekends. They usually attend the bar or club or got high with their friends during those times. Have no worries; it is a common fact that a life revolving around alcohol and drugs is not nearly as fun as a life spent traveling the world, exercising, reading, and trying new things. The possibilities are endless, especially relating to all the money that can be saved by not blowing it on alcohol and drugs.

It is crucial to stay focused on the task at hand. Look around, do you have any friends or family members that are enjoying a sober lifestyle? There must’ve been a point in your life that you enjoyed, or didn’t know anything else but being sober as a child, teen, or a young adult. 

The drugs and alcohol consumed have wired the brain to think you can only have fun while using substances. Going through the necessary steps of drug detox followed by addiction recovery will give you the essential tools needed to rewire your brain and teach you how to reenter the world with a mind frame and desire to live a sober lifestyle.

transform fear into action

Fear They Are Neglected at Home Responsibilities

We forget amid our addictive single-minded routines that addiction and alcoholism have the potential to kill us. Some of us don’t forget even- we just stop caring and lie to ourselves. Life or death- we’ll take whatever is tossed our way. The same goes for family matters. 

In the depths of addiction, we alcoholic thinkers tend to be pretty selfish as we put ourselves first in most cases. Once everything is brought to the table, we excuse ourselves as scared to go to detox “because the family needs me.” 

Well, were not there mentally as much as we think we are. Nine times out of 10, the family wants their respective member back and unleashed from the deranged mentality they’ve been hypnotized in. Most family members will advocate for the healthy option and suggest going to detox so that the addict in question can be there for the family down the road before unpredictable circumstances occur.

Fear that People will Judge Them 

One of the more significant reasons for not seeking treatment is the fear and stigma of recovery

What will other people say or think about them? This embarrassment and fear are familiar with anybody considering addiction treatment. 

It is essential to know and understand that anyone trying to improve their own life is beneficial to them and nobody else. If there’s a process that will help you improve your adverse condition, there should be no worries about what others are thinking or saying.

It is crucial to know that not everybody will understand that you cannot control your drug or alcohol consumption, but there may be a few supportive people in your life that will follow. It’s crucial to improve your situation, and others will always find a way to pass their judgment onto you.

Sometimes the fear of what people will think or say will drive us to not talk to them about the situation. That’s when it’s time to reach out to an addiction treatment specialist or other medical professional and inform them of your addiction and need for drug detox. This will ensure that not only will they not pass judgment, but they also won’t notify anyone else, and they will give you the advice and steps needed to conquer that addiction. 

Fear of Not Having Friends 

The social circle of individuals abusing drugs or alcohol will all have the same common ground, addiction. An addict’s greatest fear of quitting as their fear of not having friends anymore once they get out of rehab.

You will lose some old friends for obvious reasons. The risk of relapse is enormous when you revisit old hangouts and habits. Luckily, the ones who get through drug detox and addiction recovery and still have a few acquaintances left, those will be your most supportive group of peers. 

Understand, you won’t lose everyone, and the ones you do won’t always be a loss. Friendships aren’t necessarily lost, but relationships do likely change once someone decides to get sober. Friends who suddenly do not approve of your new life choices should probably be gone regardless, and their absence won’t be missed. 

The sobriety process through addiction recovery will have you crossing paths with some amazing people who share your experiences. It’ll be essential to keep your social circle around individuals who practice listening, helping, and, most importantly, sobriety. Surround yourself with peers who share your beliefs and focus on building new friendships with ones from whom you’ve met in rehab or group therapy. 

Fear of Attending Addiction Recovery  

The first and most crucial step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. Next is starting the drug detox process to flush the body from toxins and cravings. From there, it is necessary to follow up on detox with addiction recovery treatment. 

The fear of attending an addiction recovery center lies in the length of stay. While the detox process may take 3-7 days, a typical addiction recovery treatment program can go on between 30-90 days. It’s easy to disappear for a few days, but vanishing for months will require an explanation to family, peers, work, or school mates.

This fear is what keeps people from step one in the first place, which is admitting they have a problem. It is vital to overcome this thought and realize that you are not alone in this process, even if you’re the only one you know going through it. Detox is critical, but follow up addiction recovery is crucial to continue to live a lifetime of sobriety.

Fear of Overall Change

The idea of such a dramatic shift feels daunting to even the most adventurous individual. Evolution and the unknown can be one of the single, most scary thoughts out there. It can stop even the strongest of men and women from accomplishing their feats of hope and courage. 

Getting clean from alcohol and drugs will require new hobbies, new friends, and a new lifestyle entirely. This massive change can rattle even the most grounded of people. Fortunately, as human beings, we are indeed creatures of adaptation and learn to survive by any means. That is one of the best parts of life. 

We are not destined to thought or one bottle- the world has an innumerable amount of options out there. Don’t let fear win as you settle for less with active alcoholism.

Who Looks Back in the Mirror?

There are plenty of things that are understandably scary. Unless something is done about it, you are destined to continue hiding from these frights. 

Don’t allow yourself to be a victim and live under the tyrant form of your alcoholism. Fight back against the overwhelming fears that prevent the bettering of you and your lifestyle. Sometimes a leap just has to be made because nothing changes if nothing changes.

 If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency, reach out for help. Contact us today! We are prepared to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.