Can I Quit Drugs Without Rehab? (Dangers and Treatment Options)

4 min read · 5 sections
Quitting drugs without professional help is possible, but can be extremely dangerous. Before you quit drugs cold-turkey, you should talk to your doctor or a reputable addiction treatment provider. If you're considering quitting drugs, attending a detox center or rehab center might be in your best interest.
What you will learn:
Can you quit drugs without rehabilitation?
Benefits of attending a professional detox or rehab center.
Types of drug addiction treatment & where to find rehab.

Quitting Drugs or Alcohol

It’s never too late to quit using drugs or alcohol. However, quitting drugs on your own can be dangerous. When you stop using drugs or alcohol – especially after long-term heavy use or after you’ve developed a dependence on your drug of choice – you may experience withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and distressing mental health symptoms. Because of these possibilities, your doctor may prefer that you seek professional assistance through a substance abuse treatment facility rather than quitting drugs by yourself.

If you’re thinking about quitting drugs or alcohol independently, you may want to reconsider your choice. If you struggle with substance abuse issues, you may be at risk for developing dangerous withdrawal symptoms when you stop using drugs.

Quitting drugs without accountability or a strong social support network may also lead you to relapsing on your drug(s) of choice. Even if you are hesitant to seek professional help due to stigma, cost, childcare, job responsibilities, or simply not thinking your addiction is bad enough to warrant professional help, rehab might still be the right choice for your situation. It is always best to seek medical counsel before deciding to quit drugs on your own.

Addiction is a treatable disorder that anyone is at-risk for developing. Read more about quitting drugs without rehab and the wide range of treatment options available for people who want to quit drugs safely.

Can I Quit Drugs Without Rehab?

You might be able to quit drugs without rehab, but doing so could pose significant threats to your health and wellbeing. Quitting drugs without rehab carries risks and may pose threats to your health; mild-to-severe withdrawal symptoms may arise within six hours of when you stop using your drug of choice – or sometimes sooner.1 Withdrawal from certain drugs can lead to dangerous symptoms including seizures, organ damage, and sometimes death.1

The best way to determine whether or not you should quit drugs on your own is to talk to your doctor or a reputable addiction treatment provider. It is best to not quit drugs on your own without first consulting a medical professional.

The severity of your withdrawal symptoms may vary based on the type of drug or drugs you use, how much of your drug of choice that you use, how long you’ve been using your drug of choice, your body chemistry, and other factors.1 However, it’s difficult to determine the severity of these vital considerations without the help of medical professionals. Only a physician can determine whether you will be able to stop using drugs without detox or rehab. Seeking professional help to quit using drugs is crucial to recover from addiction and substance abuse safely.

The risks of quitting drugs without rehab may far outweigh any perceived benefits. Be sure to check with your doctor or chosen treatment provider to see what type of treatment might be best fit for your situation.

American Addiction Centers can help you understand whether or not you should quit drugs on your own. We offer detox, co-occurring disorder treatment, and substance abuse treatment in various locations across the United States and can help you achieve long-lasting recovery from addiction. Call

Reasons People Don’t Seek Professional Treatment

Barriers to seeking treatment may include:2,3,4,5,6

  • Low perceived need or refusal of outside help. Feeling like you can handle your addiction is “not bad enough” or that you can handle it “on your own” might keep you from going to a detox center or rehab program. However, misconceptions and false assumptions regarding your addiction are dangerous and can result in health complications. Remember: it is okay to ask for help sometimes. In fact, asking for help and deciding you want to recover from addiction is a sign of strength.
  • Stigma. Your substance abuse issues are not a result of any moral failing. However, stigma and societal misconceptions surrounding substance abuse may keep you from seeking professional help for your addiction. Stigmas surrounding substance abuse can cause shame and prevent you from seeking the help you need to recover.
  • Cost and economic barriers. Cost or inadequate insurance coverage is another reason you may be concerned about entering a detox center or addiction treatment center. However, rehabs tend to accept a wide variety of insurance plans that cover the full or partial cost of treatment. Rehabs sometimes also offer other payment methods, such as payment plans and financing.
  • Time off. Taking time off may present a wide range of considerations. Taking time off to go to rehab may make you concerned about how you’ll keep your job, apartment, or care for your children. However, you have options and ways to make arrangements for many of these scenarios. Although taking time off to go to rehab may stir up anxiety within you, it might be worth it in the long run.
  • Location. Rural areas of the United States tend to lack adequate substance use disorder treatment modalities when compared to metropolitan areas of the country. Living in certain areas may make attaining high-quality treatment more challenging. One study explains that larger metropolitan areas are more likely to provide the services necessary for successful treatment outcomes than more remote areas of the United States. Urban treatment resources may have more resources for specific clients, such as women, minorities, HIV-positive populations, and others.
  • Travel. Research indicates that shorter travel distances are sometimes associated with longer treatment stays and completion rates for treatment. Needing to travel for substance abuse treatment can deter some people, but it can also prove beneficial if the necessary basic treatment modalities don’t exist in your area.
  • Scheduling delays. Sometimes, long waitlists or scheduling delays can deter people from seeking treatment. Don’t let a wait stop you from receiving the help you need for your addiction.

Top Reasons to Go to Rehab

Your reasons for going to rehab might be unique, but rehab tends to offer a few universal perks.

  • Medical Oversight and Social Support

    Participating in a rehab program or drug detox center will provide you with the medical and emotional support necessary to safely recover from your substance use disorder. In detox, medical staff members can provide you with the treatments necessary to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms and prevent any severe withdrawal symptoms from occurring, thus protecting your health.

    Rehab staff members can also provide you with coping skills for when you feel cravings to use drugs or are experiencing any negative emotions. Other patients in rehab can provide you with peer support regarding your recovery. Being part of a community of strong and recovering individuals will give you a strong social support network and sense of camaraderie while you recover from addiction.

  • Individualized Care

    The most effective treatment centers offer integrative, flexible, and comprehensive addiction rehabilitation plans with customized modalities fit for your situation and needs. Rehabs can help you recover from substance use disorders and underlying co-occurring disorders (such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder) that may contribute to or complicate your addiction recovery. Co-occurring disorder treatment helps you recover from both your addiction and possible co-occurring disorders at once – all in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Relapse Prevention

    Just like with many other health conditions or disorders, relapse is possible in addiction recovery. You may relapse whether you go to rehab or not, but rehab can aid in helping you get sober and remain sober and aid in successful long-term recovery. Rehab programs tend to place a variety of healthy barriers between yourself and a return to active addiction. These barriers might include a strong social support network of sober people or newly-learned coping skills. If you do relapse during treatment, this may indicate that your treatment provider may need to tweak or adjust certain aspects of your treatment to better suit your needs.7

  • Insurance Coverage

    A majority of rehab centers in the United States accept insurance as a form of payment, making treatment a wise financial choice. If you have an insurance plan, your plan may cover the full or partial cost of your addiction treatment. To figure out if you’re covered for addiction treatment, enter your information in the form below.

Rehab Programs & Treatment Options

If you’re struggling with substance abuse issues, there are different types of treatment programs with varying levels of intensity that might be right for you. Some of these treatment types may fit your situation more appropriately than others, but this is up to you and your doctor to decide.

Some of these types of treatment interventions include:8,9

  • Detox. Detox is a form of treatment where you stay overnight for days to weeks while you safely rid your drug of choice from your system. In detox, staff may use medications, behavioral therapies, or other modalities to help you tolerate withdrawal symptoms and remain safe during your detoxification period.
  • Inpatient. Short-term and long-term inpatient treatment programs are modalities that entail you staying in rehab 24/7 for weeks or months at a time (depending on your chosen program and other factors). In inpatient rehab, you may participate in individual or group therapy, meet with a psychiatrist and case manager, and participate in many other therapeutic activities that aid in your recovery from addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions.
  • Outpatient. Outpatient treatment programs provide daytime or nighttime programming. This type of treatment may be right for you if you require ongoing support or a flexible type of treatment that can fit your scheduling needs and responsibilities.
  • Therapy and Counseling. Many therapists, psychiatrists, and counselors offer 1-on-1 outpatient sessions for those in recovery from substance use disorders. These types of sessions may be necessary for you depending on your particular needs. Therapy and counseling is often also an integral part of inpatient and outpatient rehab programs.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT entails the use of medications in combination with behavioral therapies and interventions to provide a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment. MAT can help alleviate some withdrawal symptoms and sometimes prevent relapse. Rehab centers may offer MAT in combination with behavioral therapies in their treatment programs.
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