Quitting drugs isn’t easy. Some drugs, such as marijuana, don’t create physical dependency, but even psychological drug dependence can be difficult to overcome on your own. If you have a physical addiction to illegal or prescription drugs, quitting can be downright dangerous – unless you have medical supervision.

Physical dangers

Violent physical reactions to drug withdrawal range from the uncomfortable to the painful and may even result in death. Your body has become accustomed to a certain substance, and rebels when it doesn’t get its fix. Consult a doctor or better yet, a rehabilitation center about your habit, be honest about what you have been using, how much you use, and how long you have had your habit.

The longer you have been using a physically addictive substance, the more dangerous your withdrawal will be. You may experience seizures or dangerous heart palpitations. If you’re on your own, you won’t be able to call for help, and an untrained caregiver won’t know what to do or have the medications you need.

A trained professional can tell you whether you are at risk of a severe physical reaction when you quit and whether in-patient treatment is necessary for your safety during detox. Sometimes, the support of your loved ones, though helpful, simply isn’t enough.

Just getting through the worst of it

The physical and psychological pain of drug withdrawal may drive those who try to quit by themselves to return to their drug of choice for relief.

If this has happened to you before, you may be feeling despondent. You may feel that your willpower is to blame, but fighting addiction is so much easier when you have the help of experts. You can overcome addiction, and it’s smart to use every aid at your disposal to overcome your problem.

Extra counselling

There is no doubt that quitting drugs is a big step in the right direction, but it’s still a big step. You are planning to change your lifestyle and even your way of thinking. Before you begin, you need to know what to expect. As you go through the process, you need guidance, and once you are ‘clean’, you need support.

There may be some unanswered questions too. Why did you feel the need to turn to drugs in the first place? How should you deal with the circumstances that contributed to your addiction? Many people who use drugs suffer from psychological problems such as depression.  A counsellor can help!

A change of environment

Just placing yourself in a different environment can go a long way towards making your attempt to quit a success. If you are in the same environment in which you habitually used and abused substances, it’s so much easier to fall back into your old habits, even if you made a firm resolution to quit.

Even if your withdrawal doesn’t result in dangerous symptoms, just being in a space that is dedicated to wellness and recovery will help to keep you focussed, increasing your chances of success.

How do I know if I need inpatient treatment?

Ultimately, only a doctor can answer this question for you from a safety perspective, but indications that you need inpatient treatment include:

  • Long-term use of alcohol or other physically addictive drugs such as opiates and prescription medicines.
  • Several attempts to quit by yourself that have failed or ended in relapse.
  • Unpleasant physical or mental effects when you try to cut down or quit.
  • Problems with your home or professional life as a result of your addiction.
  • Health issues and legal problems are caused by your drug use, but you can’t quit.

What about social stigma?

Many people are worried that getting treatment for their problem will affect their professional reputation and destroy their career, but confidentiality is possible. By law, you only need a medical certificate that says you need time off for medical reasons. Neither you nor your physician need divulge what those reasons are.

Chances are, those closest to you will need to know what you are doing, but if they truly care for you, they will support you and be willing to keep your secret. If not, you should discuss the situation with your counsellor.

A word of encouragement

Although freeing yourself from addiction is hard work, it really is possible. Professional support is a huge help, and it’s even covered by Medicare. Why risk the dangers and potential disappointments of ‘going it alone’ when you can get support from experts?