What Are Drug Detox Kits?
Drug detox kits have been developed for individuals hoping to achieve a quick negative drug test result on urine drug tests. Techniques have been developed to help people who have recently used drugs produce a sample that does not indicate any drug use. While these kits have becoming widely popular, their production has very few regulations. The kits often feature unlisted ingredients, and there is no quality control.
How Do They Work?
There are several mechanisms detox kits use to tamper with drug tests. In vivo adulteration refers to a detox substance being ingested into the body and resulting in a change of the chemicals in the urine.
In vitro adulteration refers to adding chemicals to a urine substance in order to interact with drug toxins. A negative drug test will result when the chemicals mix and produce compounds undetectable by urine tests. Drug detox kits that offer these mechanisms of intervention that are available on the market are Stinger Detox, Premium Detox, Fizzy Flush, Green Clean Drug Detox Drink, Detoxify Xxtra Clean Herbal Cleanse, and Rescue Detox, among others.
Drug detox kits can be bought at local drugstores, pharmacies, or online. Marketed as cleanses or detox programs, they claim to rid the body of drug in anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Many claims are made by these products, though they rarely explain how the product actually works on the body. Additionally, detox kits are designed solely to rid the body of any traceable illegal substances with little or no regard for possible withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced in the process.
Are They Effective?
Due to the unregulated nature of drug detox kits, relatively little is known about their efficacy. Manufacturers make claims that their product guarantees a negative drug test, but little scientific or medical research is available to substantiate these claims.
One informal study conducted by a journalist tested three herbal cleansing drinks on their ability to eliminate traceable amounts of marijuana in a urine test. The first detox drink produced a negative drug result, but it did cause the urine to turn an alarming neon color. The second drink produced a normal color urine and no trace of marijuana, but it caused upset stomach. The third drink produced negative test results, normal-looking urine, and no intestinal issues. While the three detox drinks in this non-controlled informal study did produce the results they claim, they came with varying degrees of side effects.
While drug detox kits sound like a quick fix to drug users who need a clean urine test, researchers and healthcare professionals warn against their use. A recent study shared by the National Library of Medicine examined a case study of a young man who experienced psychosis following the use of a drug detox kit. He had been using marijuana a few times a week for the previous year and stopped the week before. Upon acceptance to a new job, he was asked to take a urine test by his new employer. The young man ordered an herbal detox kit claiming to be the most sophisticated product on the market. Unfortunately, due to the lack of information known about the production and side effects of detox kits, he did not know about his risk of suffering adverse side effects. After two days of paranoia, hallucinations, and bizarre behavior, his mother took him to a hospital to seek medical treatment.
Dangers of Detoxing on Your Own
Managing withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from a drug is a serious task not to be taken lightly. Mild physical discomfort aside, detoxing from certain drugs like alcohol and benzodiazepines can be life-threatening when not treated with proper medical care. Adverse withdrawal symptoms to pay close attention to include:
- Upset stomach
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid heartbeat
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain
- Delirium tremens
Reasons for attempting to detox at home could be related to comfort, privacy, or finances, but there are many more factors to consider. Home detox kits can be a tempting solution for people trying to get sober, but they are often ineffective at establishing a solid foundation for long-term sobriety. Oftentimes, unexpected withdrawal symptoms arise that you and your close family members may not know how to treat properly.
In the case of alcohol and benzodiazepine use, severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures and heart attack, can be life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms may seem manageable at first, but they can become more severe over time and no longer manageable at home. Seizures, for example, may appear just two hours after the last drink, but they could take up to two days to appear. With benzodiazepine withdrawal, symptoms may initially seem mild, but they can get progressively worse throughout the days and weeks of detoxification.
Once the physical symptoms of alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal have subsided, psychological symptoms may remain. Anxiety and depression may be felt more heavily following detoxification.
It may be too much to address these serious issues of mental health at home. Participating in a treatment program that includes personal therapy can ease the impact of these conditions and put you on a clearer path toward stable mental health.
Like alcohol and benzodiazepines, opioid detoxification presents a host of serious issues. Opioids, such as heroin, are highly addictive and come with a severe set of withdrawal symptoms. Such symptoms include:
- Flulike symptoms
- Dilated pupils
- Muscle aches
- Heart failure
People have died from opioid withdrawal as a result of excessive vomiting and diarrhea. Extreme dehydration and elevated levels of sodium in the blood have led to heart failure. When attempting to manage opioid detox on your own, these symptoms can become life-threatening. In the presence of appropriate medical care, however, death is preventable and full recovery is achievable.
Due to the potentially life-threatening effects of opioid withdrawal, methadone was developed to treat withdrawal symptoms for people trying to detox from opioids. You can only get methadone through a doctor’s prescription, and it is important to take it exactly as directed, as it can be habit-forming and may have adverse side effects. Methadone can react poorly to other medications or substances you may be using, so it is important to consult your healthcare professional about anything you may be using before starting to take methadone. Even during detoxification and under a doctor’s supervision, overdose from opioids and methadone is still possible.
Due to the complexity of methadone use to treat opioid withdrawal, it is nearly impossible to safely manage all of the risks and variables of the detox process on your own. Enrolling in a treatment program, whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting, will help to ensure your safety during detox.
Supportive Measures for Detoxing
Truly supportive measures to aid in the detox process include a healthy recovery environment, a social support network, and a solid treatment plan. While these things can theoretically be accomplished on your own, participating in a formal treatment program will provide the structure and care needed to set you up for your best chances of detoxing and remaining sober.
Supportive measures included in effective treatment programs include:
- An assortment of treatment and recovery methods
- Supervised medical detox
- Stress reduction for clients and family members
- A clear treatment plan
- Support groups
- Aftercare planning
- Experienced care providers
In the case of detoxing from drugs like alcohol and benzodiazepines that have potentially very dangerous side effects, a formal treatment program will offer supervised medical detox. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that medical detoxification safely manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Medications can be prescribed to monitor withdrawal symptoms so seizures and heart attack are less likely to occur. Medical detox is not enough to promote long-term sobriety, but it is part of the first step of addiction treatment.
Following a successful detox period, counseling and other behavioral therapies are provided to support long-term recovery. Motivation, drug resistance skills, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal relationships are all addressed in therapy. Learning how to function in one’s family and community in a productive way is another important aspect of behavioral therapy.
Determining the correct level of care for yourself and finding an appropriate treatment program are two important factors in finding the most supportive detox and treatment environment for yourself. NIDA emphasizes that treatment does not come in a one-size-fits-all package. The effectiveness of treatment depends on factors, such as the nature of the problem, appropriateness of treatment, availability of services, and quality of care provided.
A comprehensive treatment program includes mental health, medical, educational, legal, financial, housing, family, childcare, and vocational services. Individuals struggling with drug addiction, as well as their family and friends, can work together to find a treatment program that is the best fit.