The simple answer to this question is yes, that is possible. Halfway houses are transitional facilities for people who need help with drug addiction, and sometimes the same term is used for other types of crises where people need housing, such as someone getting out of jail. In recovery, it is important to understand that halfway houses can be a huge help to people suffering from substance use disorders, but halfway houses are not medical facilities, so detox at a halfway house is not the usual course of action. In a recent blog post about detoxification from drugs, I spoke about medical intervention and medical supervision during detox. Neither of these things would be available at the average halfway house, so many people who require a medically supervised detox process could not do that at a halfway house. For those who require medical intervention and inpatient care, a halfway house could be a great second or third step on the path to living sober, if not the immediate step.
For other people, for instance, a person who wants to stop using marijuana, going straight to a halfway house could be a great idea. Many halfway houses have systems in place to help keep people clean, such as drug testing and transportation to 12-step meetings, and most people who are stopping marijuana use have no serious withdrawal effects that would require medical care. The most common side effects during the cessation of a THC habit is sleep difficulty and sometimes some mood fluctuation. It is possible for people who quit using marijuana to experience more serious psychological effects, such as a panic attack, and in that case, it would be appropriate to seek medical advice. That is probably a very extreme scenario, however. There are many other patients who might benefit from halfway houses. Most people who are seeking treatment for addiction are trying to stop using opiates, cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamine, or other highly addictive substances. Not only are all of these substances highly addictive, but they all have serious physical side effects, including the chemical imbalance that they can cause in a person’s brain. As one example, even though detoxing from opiates is considered generally safe, nausea and vomiting can cause dangerous levels of dehydration, and the chemical imbalance caused by long term opiate use makes medical care during detoxification a must for many patients seeking treatment. Patients who are advised to seek a regular medical detox should think about halfway houses at an option at a later time, and patients who do not require medical detoxification from drugs or alcohol might look at halfway houses as a possible next step. Detoxing at a halfway house may not be a great plan, but a halfway house after detox and inpatient treatment could be something a medical expert would advise.
It is also important to say that drugs and alcohol can cause major problems in a person’s life even before the drugs have had a chance to cause great physical damage or chemical imbalance. If a person does drugs in a way that does not cause heavy dependence, dependence being the need for those drugs to be taken each day or withdrawal sets in, a person could find great benefit in a halfway house or a similar setting that can offer a change of scenery and introduce them to people who care about sobriety. The average halfway house is not designed to handle the medical needs of detox patients, but many halfway houses have been able to help addicts transition to brighter futures for many years.