Drug Addiction


How to Detox at Home From Drugs

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I have been getting a lot of questions lately about how to detox from various drugs at home, presumably from people who cannot arrange to go to treatment.

So let me give the best advice that I have gathered, based on my own personal experiences, working in a drug rehab detox center for 4 years, and also from feedback from visitors on this website. There are some things you can do that might help in some cases, so hopefully there is some decent knowledge accumulated here.

Photo by theogeo

In most cases, detox is going to be somewhat unpleasant. This is generally true even if you are being treated for it in a medical facility. Keep that in mind as you try to tough it out on your couch.


If you happen to be detoxing from alcohol, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates, then you should really seek medical attention, as those withdrawal symptoms can prove to be fatal. Do not attempt to detox yourself at home from any of those drugs. This includes alcohol. Withdrawal from them can kill you. Seek medical help. You have been warned.

General principles for detoxing at home

Try to sleep through all or most of it. This should be a no brainer, in my opinion. I used this idea myself when detoxing from nicotine (but it also helps a great deal for opiate withdrawal and some other drugs too). It worked great for me. Let me give you an example that I used to quit smoking cigarettes, though this principle would help with any drug. Here is how it all played out for me:

I stopped smoking cigarettes one night, had my final cigarette, and went to bed. The next day I purposely slept in quite a bit, then woke up and started going about my day, without smoking of course. Now the first few hours were not so bad really as I have done that before naturally while smoking. So then you go through the afternoon and the evening, and by this time you are pretty antsy and wanting to smoke, of course. This is to be expected, withdrawal is setting in. Now here is the key: when it comes time to go to sleep again at the end of the first day, don’t. Just stay up. Get through the night however you know how, have a friend help distract you and keep you company, whatever. It is all worth it in the end. You stay up all night long and then go about your next day as if you are some sort of zen master who can stay calm without any sleep or cigarettes. Now I know this sounds crazy but trust me, you are getting it all over at once this way. In addition to these crazy ideas, you would also be drinking tons of fruit juice during this time, and lots of cranberry juice too. This will help flush the nicotine out of your system faster and put you into a more intense withdrawal.

This is a good thing, and it is exactly what we want. You stayed up all night long, you have not smoked for almost two full days, and you are plowing through the second day of not smoking like a zombie. It is nuts because you did not sleep the night before. And to top it all off, your withdrawal is getting really, really intense due to the constant juice you are drinking in order to flush your system out faster.

Now here is the payoff: at the end of the second day, when you are ready to pull your hair out, you have made it. You go home and eat a big meal and collapse into your bed, knowing that you have the next 2 or 3 days off of work (you have to plan this out in advance, obviously).

Then, you sleep.

If you did exactly what I said, then you will sleep long and hard, probably for close to 14 hours or so. Now, when you wake up from this nearly endless sleep, you will be through the worst of it. By far, you will be past the worst of the withdrawal, as it was just starting to peak right before you went to bed. During your 14 hours it kept getting a little better over time.

Your withdrawal will not be completely over when you wake up, but it will be mostly over. You will be “out of the woods.”

This technique will work for some drugs better than others, of course. If you prefer to avoid withdrawal symptoms, then learn when they occur and time it so that you are guaranteed to be sleeping during those times. You might have to get extreme in order to do so but it is probably worth it if the withdrawal is that uncomfortable.

Most people complain about this idea and think it sounds like torture.  Come on folks, we are supposed to be drug addicts here!  Staying up for a 36 hours or so should be a walk in the park for any of you…..at the very least you can grab some coffee or an energy drink or two and make this work for you.  Do you want to change your life or not?  It really is a tiny sacrifice for a huge payoff (you can avoid the worst of your withdrawal symptoms!).

Dealing with specific drug withdrawal symptoms

Using one drug to replace another is generally not a great idea, but in some cases, you can benefit greatly from taking over the counter medications to help with various withdrawal symptoms. Here are some solutions you can use to help you get through most drug detox (disclaimer: check with your doctor first, etc.):

Pain or headaches: Alternate 1,000 milligrams of Tylenol and 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen every 4 hours. So take the Tylenol, then 4 hours later take the Ibuprofen, then 4 hours later take the Tylenol again, etc.

Diarrhea: Use Imodium

Anxiety: Use 50 milligrams of Benadryl every 4 hours as needed.

Sleep: Use 50 milligrams of Benadryl at bedtime to help with sleep. Probably less effective if you are using it for anxiety instead.

Sleep: Take a l-o-n-g walk, like at least an hour or more, as you can physically tolerate it. As always, consult your doctor. But if you can do, say, 2 solid hours of continuous walking, your chances of sleeping that night will greatly increase.

Most of these medication fixes apply to opiate or heroin detox, but they can also treat symptoms that might occur with other drugs as well.

Ask for help

Get a trusted friend or family member involved. Have them offer to help you through the process and monitor you. Help hold you accountable.

If none of this helps…

Then get on the phone and call your local drug rehab or treatment center. See how they could possibly fund you for treatment. You might be surprised. There are some places/states/countries where you can go to treatment for free in some cases. It might pay to just call and find out your options.

Does anyone else have any good detox tips?  Share with us and help each other out…..


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  • Joe

    Well I,m not saying it can,t be done. I would say if you can do it you certainly really wanted too. So the battle is pretty much won anyways. But it seems if you were resourceful enough to find drugs, then you ought to be resoureful enoung ot find treatment.
    At least find someone and not a family member who might be willing to support you, get to meetings asap, take your support along to test if thats possible? Good Luck.

  • Patrick

    Thanks for your input Joe, I agree with what you are saying here. It helps to get someone else involved, and I also think that most addicts should be resourceful enough to get into rehab if they put the same level of energy into that they do for chasing drugs. But surprisingly, this argument is not that effective for motivating addicts (I have found). Somehow the motivation must come from within.

    So sometimes the best you can do is to let them know that treatment exists. It is available. Let them know that help is there. When they are ready to change, they will seek it out…..

  • Sienna

    All great suggestions Patrick. I would add:

    Don’t forget to include heaps of water – best taken with 1/2 squeezed lemon each time. Lemon is great for helping detox the liver.

    Keep your stress levels as low as possible. Stay warm and cosy. Watch DVDs on-masse (unless they represent a trigger).

    Hydration, appropriate exercise, rest, support and distraction are the name of the game.

    Remember to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you’re doing a great thing here. Take comfort in the knowledge that you’re changing your life for the better.

  • Patrick

    Thank Sienna for the great suggestions!

    I love the suggestion about lemon and I don’t know why I never added that to the post. Excellent! Thank you so much….

  • heidi

    Well I am withdrawling from pain pills, its pure hell. You do feel like your going crazy. I cant find a detox center they are all full. I will try your suggestions, thank you.

  • brian

    Hang in there heidi. Just think of being clean with no monkey on your back. I have faith in you

  • E.C.

    I want to thank a site that allows people who don’t or can’t go somewhere else to detox. I also did not know anything about the lemon-great idea, I just want to add pedialite with water. It’s true that the more liquid you drink the easier it is but the electrolytes are very important as well. Good luck to everyone….even the “cleanest” person can get a very detrimental addiction.

  • Michael

    Thanks for all the advice I am detoxing from oxycontins that were prescribed till I got tired of them.Now its been two days clean for me and I just this morning realized what was making me feel so sick.thanks again I will try what you have said to see how it works for me.

  • Michael

    me again, forgot to mention that I wasnt warned about the withdrawl simptoms. and now have to do this alone as I dont have A center within 130 miles of here. Will let you know how this works for me.

  • kelly

    I am currently dealing with my 18 year old son detoxing at home for the second time. The first time he detoxed at home from herion and that was like watching him die before my eyes. He was 2 months clean and started taking oxy and many other drugs. I sadly have told him this will be the last time I will go through this with him. I love him but will not provide a roof over his head, food and a car all so he can do this to himself. He is detoxing as I write this and will enter a treatment out patient group on Monday. I pray he get it this time. I dont want to cut him out of my life but I can not emotionally do this again if he is not going to do this for life and for his life.

  • Jan

    Is there anyone available to talk to?

  • Jan

    Gonna try to detox at home from alcohol. Can’t afford professional help. Have experienced withdrawal in the past so I know what I’m in for. Gonna eat a big meal, drink a lot of water with lemon, curl up in bed, try to sleep and hope for the best.

  • Jan

    please someone respond soon

  • idoc

    jan- im here to talk if you want. email me

  • Donna

    I have been trying to detox at home from three separate addictions; methadone, “While Girls Bath Salts, and huge alcohol addictions. I’ve been in bed four a week now; first 2-3 nights violently vomiting, third through fifth, can’t get enough to drink. I couldn’t have done any of this on my own because I couldn’t even walk, so a friend stayed here with me and still is here. Sixth day, thought I was getting better, could look outside and see “life” again, then immediately afterwards, symptoms began again almost as though I’d never stopped. My friend gave up and went and brought me a couple of opiates and I had to drink almost a bottle of wine. Still, this seventh day, I don’t know what in this world I’m going to do. Sure I’ve lost my job because as an independent contractor, have not had “ONE” call in so very long. I am 56 years old, too ashamed to tell my family. Right now I’m still high from the last opiate my friend brough me yesterday. Typing while still able.
    God, people, if anybody can tell me what to do, PLEASE, PLEASE, HELP ME! Remember, I only have about 18.00 to my name until Lord only knows when. mimsrpr@yahoo.com

  • Tab

    Donna, sounds like you are in a tough spot. I think this site advises you to get professional help for alcohol addiction. Detoxing at home from alcohol is dangerous and could kill you. However if you have been without for a few days I think you can go forward with the process. You MUST stop drinking though. Get rid of all the alcohol around you and make it hard to get more. Could you call your doctor for advise? By the way, there is NO SHAME in asking for help to get better. The shame is in continuing to feed an addiction that will eventually kill you. Best of luck, hopefully someone else will be able to give you some more advise.

  • kaicee

    My boyfriend/father of children has been battling with an addition to percocet for over a year now. He has tried detoxing in a center before but only managed to stay clean for a few days. I love him very much but i find my self being angry with him so much that it is hard for us top even talk anymore. I want to be with him but i want him to get clean he says he wants to but to me it doesnt even look likes hes trying. What should i do? How can i covince him to try to detox at home? Im so lost :-(

  • http://virtual-master.com Dt

    I wake up every morning looking forward to my day ahead because I know I’m in total control of my life and because I rediscovered myself..

  • Jen

    Yes, all the treatment centers are full and Im going to try this. My dad passed away two weeks ago and I want to do this for him. I have been addicted to Lorcet, Vicodin, and Xanax. I dont want to take them anymore. Its the first thing I think about when I wake up. I really hate this. Please help

  • bill

    E I have successfully detoxed at home from heroin. I was only doing 3 bags a day it is now my third day clean it feels good my symptoms were flu like. Coldsweays ,chills and restlessnes the first time I was in prison and kicked a. 13bag a day habit cold turkey 3 days are the worst but after that each day got better
    I believe detoxing is deffinatly physical but its a lot of psycgical too the more sick you think you are the worse you will feel but I do think. Taking a couple of zenex would help also if it becomes to unbearable

  • jrulez21

    I just want to comment on “sleep” through opiate withdrawals…..One of the worse side effects of opiate withdrawal is insomnia….I have gone 2 weeks straight with no sleep during withdrawl.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m sixteen, and I have been taking percocet for over 4 years. I had a lot of health issues, so I had to start taking the pills to help with the pain. I’ve tried gradually going down on dosages, but it’s been miserable. I figued that being in hell for a few weeks is better than being miserable for months. Tomorrow I’m quitting cold turkey and it scares the crap out of me.