6 Popular Myths About Detox

myths about detox

The first step of getting sober is going to detox – which isn’t an easy thing to do. There are many misconceptions surrounding detox that deter people from getting help. It’s important to debunk these 6 common myths about detox so people are less scared to ask for help and more willing to go to rehab. Detox is the process during which someone suffering from addiction purges all of the drugs and alcohol in their system that have accumulated during their active substance abuse. Making the decision to go to detox is a very difficult one and the myths surrounding detox should never prevent someone from starting their journey to sobriety.

Myth #1: You Can Detox Yourself Without Going To A Detox Center Or Receiving Medical Care

This is not only untrue, but it is also an unsafe myth to believe. Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is a very uncomfortable process. It is extremely difficult to undergo alone due to the discomfort of withdrawal alone. After all, many people who attempt this ultimately aren’t able to successfully detox themselves at home. Instead, the withdrawals become too painful and they return to using drugs and alcohol. Even if someone feels as though they have the willpower to get through withdrawal on their own, there is the risk of developing serious, and even fatal medical complications during drug or alcohol detox. These complications include seizures, hallucinations, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and more. [1]

Detox centers are staffed by medical professionals who will closely monitor you during the withdrawal process. Medical professionals also prescribe and administer medications to make the process more comfortable. Detoxing at an accredited facility with licensed professionals helps to make an extremely difficult process safe and easier. Plus, people who go to detox centers have around-the-clock support and are separated from triggers that may provoke a relapse. Instead of believing this myth about detox, get the help you deserve.

Myth #2: Detox At An Inpatient Center Will Require Long-Term Isolation

A huge deterrent that stops people from going to detox is the myth that they will need to stay away from family, friends, work, and normal life for a long period of time. The truth is that the majority of inpatient detox programs are no longer than one week. Detox is a time to stabilize a person while they are going through their withdrawal timeline, but most withdrawal symptoms subside after a week. After detox, they will have the option of how they want to continue to maintain their sobriety.

There are many options for maintaining sobriety after detox. One of the most effective treatment options is inpatient rehab. These programs typically last for 30 days and require patients to live at the treatment facility. However, this is not the only option. If you are worried about being separated from the outside world, there are many other alternatives to inpatient rehabilitation after detox. This includes intensive outpatient treatment programs, sober living communities, or Twelve Step Programs. All are excellent options for ensuring a successful recovery after detox and an individual can choose which one best suits their needs.

Myth #3: People Will Find Out If You Go To Detox

There is still a lot of stigma surrounding the disease of addiction, but that shouldn’t stop someone from getting the help they need. Detox is medical treatment and, therefore, any records of an individual receiving treatment are protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).[2] HIPAA laws protect individuals from having their medical information be made available without their consent. In simpler terms, no one has to know you went to detox unless you choose to tell them. Don’t worry about this myth about detox – in most cases, the people that should be in your life will still love you even if you tell them you got help. In fact, they will likely be extremely happy for you.

Myth #4: Detox Is Too Expensive

Financials are understandably a major concern for most people when deciding to go to detox. Most people who are just starting recovery from drug and alcohol addiction have little to no money. Luckily since medical detox is considered a medically necessary service, insurance usually covers detox fully or partially depending on which providers the treatment center is in-network with.

In cases where individuals have no insurance, many facilities have self-pay and financing options at reasonable rates. Most detox centers are also willing to work out a payment plan that best suits your needs or is on a sliding-scale basis according to your individual income. The main priority is to get help for substance use disorder as soon as possible. These options help to eliminate some of the financial stress that prevents people from getting help.

Myth #5: You Weren’t Able To Stay Sober After Detox The First Time, So This Time Won’t Work Either

Recovery is not a linear process. In fact, many people have to keep trying, again and again, to get sober and stay sober. Substance use disorder is a chronic condition, meaning it needs to be continually treated. There is no cure for addiction. Relapse is a common part of the recovery process and most people in recovery report having relapsed in the past.[3]

Relapse should not discourage someone suffering from addiction from going to detox again. There is never a “right time” to get sober and it will always be easy to come up with excuses to keep giving in to addiction. It’s important to give yourself a chance and try again as many times as you need. You should never let the stigmas about addiction or myths about detox stop you from attaining the life that you deserve to live – one that is full of joy and free from harmful, addictive substances.

Myth #6: It Will Be Hard To Get Into A Detox Center

Our addiction treatment center in Memphis, TN has staff on call and ready 24/7. Our team of drug and alcohol addiction experts is ready to answer any questions or address any concerns you have, day or night. Finding the courage to stop using drugs and alcohol is not easy. We’re here to help make it easier and get you the help you need as soon as possible. Call us today.


  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/alcohol-withdrawal-a-to-z
  2. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/guidance-materials-for-consumers/index.html
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.