Admitting yourself to drug and alcohol rehab takes a lot of courage and sacrifice.
A few things that often turn people away from treatment are:
- The program’s cost
- Spending time away from family and friends
- Having to put your life on pause for a couple of months
These factors will either drive people to ignore their problem and continue drinking or using, or they’ll attempt to get clean independently. While it is possible to get sober without rehab, it is not the safest or the most promising route for long-term recovery.
The safest way to get clean is to check yourself into an addiction treatment center near you and allow addiction specialists and trained professionals to help you. Treatment will not only help you overcome your alcohol or drug addiction but will also take you through psychotherapies to help with any underlying trauma or mental health disorders.
Why Can’t I Get Sober on My Own?
No matter how independent you are or how much self-control you think you have, getting sober without rehab is not just about willpower. The danger of getting sober on your own is an experience that no one should ever have to go through. Not only is it unpredictable whether you’ll relapse, but it’s incredibly dangerous to detox from alcohol or drugs on your own.
It takes a toll on your mental health throughout the process without any professionals to assist you. Admitting to a treatment facility is the safest option to ensure long-term sobriety.
The Dangers of At-Home Detox
The dangers of detoxing alone begin with the detrimental side effects of withdrawal. Withdrawal is a physiological response when you quit or cut back on a substance you’ve been addicted to for some time. This process takes a heavy toll on your mental and physical health. The symptoms associated with alcohol or drug withdrawal are uncomfortable and adverse.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
The withdrawal symptoms may differ depending on the substance you’re detoxing from, but here are some of the most common side effects:
Trembling and tremors
- Muscle pain or aches
- Loss of appetite
- Fever, chills, and sweating
- Irritability and agitation
- Stress and anxiety
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and paranoia
- Trouble sleeping
- Dilated pupils
Detoxing at home will only increase these symptoms and put your health at greater risk. At a treatment facility, medical detox is performed with licensed professionals monitoring you 24/7. You are guaranteed a much smoother and safer experience with medical detox at a treatment center.
The Effects on Your Mental Health
The impact of detox on your physical health can be just as aggressive on your mental health. Withdrawal from a substance you’ve depended on for so long is debilitating. It can be physically and emotionally draining. Once the withdrawal symptoms wear off, and your physical health improves, the psychological effects can prolong for months or even years when left untreated.
Data show high rates of comorbid substance use disorders (SUDs) and anxiety disorders—generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). SUDs also co-occur at high prevalence with mental illnesses, such as depression and bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).
In the beginning stages of getting sober, your mental health will likely decline and suffer. Treatment centers have mental health professionals on staff to demonstrate healthy coping methods for managing your feelings. Psychotherapy and behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), are implemented into treatment programs to improve the patient’s mental health and promote holistic healing.
Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy for substance use disorders (SUDs) are not something you’ll receive when getting sober on your own. Treatment programs offer their patients 24/7 care and surveillance regarding their mental and physical health.
Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety Without Rehab
The primary objective of getting sober is learning to maintain your sobriety for long-term recovery. When getting sober on your own, you miss out on all the services and long-term benefits that addiction treatment facilities offer. Following medical detox, you will transfer into inpatient treatment, where you will receive a comprehensive treatment plan to set you up for long-term sobriety.
With a treatment plan, you will undergo individual therapy that focuses on your needs. Behavioral therapy will help you identify and transform your thought patterns and self-destructive behaviors that might’ve developed before your addiction began. Building a sober community in treatment can be one of the most encouraging components of rehab. Another benefit of going to rehab is obtaining a support system that’ll follow you after your program ends.
Many treatment facilities offer aftercare for their guests, such as outpatient programs, sober living, alums support groups, meetings, and events. Life planning is essential to rehab as it prepares you for relapse prevention and long-term success in recovery. One of the dangers of getting sober without rehab is the probability of relapse. Someone who has not undergone medical detox and treatment at a facility must have the preparation or knowledge of someone who has.
Is it Possible to Get Sober Without Rehab?
While it is possible to get sober without rehab, it is not recommended. The concerns of getting sober on your own have proven to be uncomfortable, unpromising, and potentially lethal. For a smoother and safer road to recovery, choosing an addiction treatment facility nearby will be your most promising choice for long-term recovery.
- American Addiction Centers, 2022. Drug Withdrawal Symptoms, Timelines & Treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2022. Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness.
- American Psychological Association, 2017. What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
- Psychology Today. Dialectical Behavior Therapy.