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Detox from Alcohol at Home

During the process of detox, the person will go through a period of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which can be dangerous.

How to Identify Alcohol Addiction, Checking In for Alcohol Rehab, Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal, Treatment Types & Therapy for Substance Abuse, Inpatient Rehab vs. Outpatient Rehab, Aftercare: What Happens After Rehab?, Rehab is Your Best Chance


Detox is usually the first step towards treating alcohol use disorder or AUD. Detoxification allows the body to adjust to the absence of a certain substance—in this case, alcohol. Anyone who is suffering from addiction will have to go through a period of detox from alcohol so that their body can start the healing process.

Usually, detoxing from any other addictive substance is not a good idea. But today we are going to talk about whether or not doing alcohol detox at home is safe. You should know that detoxing from alcohol at home can be risky. During the process of detox, the person will go through a period of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which can be dangerous. Some people develop severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms during this time, which puts them at risk.

With that said, detoxing from alcohol from the comfort of your home is still possible. It’s just not for everyone. Here we are going to cover everything you need to know about the detox process.


What Does Alcohol Detox Mean?


First, let’s define what alcohol detoxification is. Detox may refer to the act of eliminating harmful substances from a person’s body. It can also refer to the program called medical detox which is part of a complete alcohol addiction treatment program.

When you are detoxing alcohol from your body, it means you are slowly getting rid of the alcohol in your system. Usually, this leads to withdrawal symptoms. This is the body’s way of reacting to the sudden absence of alcohol. This could happen with any drug or substance including opioids, stimulants, and depressants. But alcohol withdrawal also happens to those who have been drinking excessively.

The severity of withdrawal often depends on the person’s drinking habits. People who have only been drinking alcohol for a short while may only experience mild withdrawal symptoms, while those who have abused alcohol to the point of developing drug dependence may suffer from more serious symptoms of withdrawal. With this in mind, the severity of withdrawal is also affected by other factors.

Withdrawal is the reason why you should not quit cold turkey and why detoxing from alcohol at home is risky if you do not know what you are doing.

In a professional rehab facility, you can get assistance from medical experts who can help ease withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings while you go through withdrawal. In a medical setting, they can give you the right medications to keep your symptoms under control and make you as comfortable as possible. This type of detox is called medication-assisted treatment or MAT.

MAT involves the use of medications that can help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. These medications often have similar effects to alcohol, but they are safer to recover from. Eventually, medical professionals will start to give you smaller and smaller doses of these medications to wean your body off of the effects of alcohol.

Benzodiazepines are seen as the gold standard of alcohol detox treatment. These substances act like depressants for your brain. With a similar effect, benzos trick the brain into thinking you have already consumed alcohol.

During MAT, your healthcare providers may also provide you with vitamin supplements to make sure you get enough nutrients.

If you are physically dependent on alcohol, this means your body has adapted to the constant presence of alcohol. It has reached a point where your body can no longer function normally without it. At this point, if you suddenly stop drinking, your body will struggle to function and lead to uncomfortable—even painful and dangerous—withdrawal. This is why you need proper medical detox.

Detox is the safest way to recover from alcohol dependence. It will also bring you closer to recovering from your addiction. If you go through a proper medical detox program, you can gradually lower your alcohol intake while under the supervision of medical professionals who can keep you safe.

If every time you attempt to quit alcohol you experience withdrawal symptoms like sweating, aches, and vomiting, this is a sign that you need detox treatment. Seek professional medical advice instead of quitting abruptly.


What Withdrawal Symptoms Can You Expect During Alcohol Withdrawal?

During detox, patients may experience a wide variety of withdrawal symptoms. The exact symptoms and their severity will vary from one person to another.

Common withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox include: anxiety, fear, insomnia, tremors, excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, changes in blood pressure, and changes in heart rate.

In some cases, alcohol withdrawal can lead to delirium tremens (DT), which is a life-threatening condition that is characterized by fever, confusion, seizures, and hallucinations. Left untreated, DT can lead to stroke, heart attack, or even death.

The good news is that it can be treated in a facility under the supervision of healthcare professionals. The symptoms will subside in about a week under treatment. Treatment for DT usually includes benzodiazepines, painkillers, and antipsychotic drugs.

Is It Safe to Detox From Alcohol at Home?

In some circumstances, detoxing from alcohol at home can work. However, this depends on how severe the alcohol use disorder is. Most detox programs are done in a hospital. However, there are now many outpatient detox treatments that allow patients to stay in their own homes.

Also known as outpatient detox, an at-home alcohol detox program allows patients to live in their own home while receiving the treatment they need. This type of program involves frequent visits to the treatment facility. There, patients meet with their healthcare provider who gives them medications, guidance, and medical advice.

Because detox addresses the physical symptoms of addiction, inpatient treatment is still the safest option, especially for those who have severe alcohol use disorder. These are the ones who are most likely to struggle with severe withdrawal symptoms.

Outpatient treatment is ideal for those with mild to moderate cases of substance use disorder, particularly those who have responsibilities outside of rehab that they cannot leave behind. Patients who need to go to work, attend classes, take care of their families, etc.—these patients may have to juggle medical detox with their responsibilities. The outpatient setting gives them the flexibility to do so.

Outpatient treatment can be just as successful as inpatient treatment, and there is no single treatment that works best for everyone. It is all a matter of which program suits which patient’s specific situation and condition.

Outpatient rehab or at-home treatment may also be suitable for those who have a strong support system at home.

Those who come from more toxic environments may benefit more from the focused and intensive nature of inpatient rehab, which pulls them away from their usual environment for a while so that they can concentrate on getting better.

Whether you go for inpatient or outpatient treatment, what matters is that you seek help for your substance use disorder. Detox is only the first step in the addiction treatment journey, and you also need to receive help from therapists and counselors. Some patients have a co-occurring mental health disorder that makes it even harder for them to recover from their addiction.

Even if you do not have a mental health problem, you still need to address the psychological and behavioral aspects of alcoholism and substance abuse. During behavioral therapy, a trained professional can help you get to the bottom of your addictive behavior and teach you healthy coping mechanisms that you can use after you leave rehab.

So while detox is all about helping you get sober, behavioral therapies help you stay sober for the long term.

How to Prepare for Alcohol Detox at Home

Now that you know how medical detox works, it’s time to talk about what to expect from the process. First, you need to find a healthcare provider that offers medical detox. They will assess your condition and develop a plan based on your needs.

After this assessment, they will give you clear instructions on what to do next. They may discuss what medications you need to take, how much, and how often. They will also determine which type of program is right for you, whether it’s inpatient or outpatient.

Overall, an at-home detox process can take anywhere from 4 to 11 days. Inpatient programs last at least three months, generally speaking.

If they prescribe medications for detox, you will pick those up from a pharmacy or from their office. Keep in mind that even under the care of medical professionals, you will still experience some physical symptoms. The key difference here is that they will be less intense than if you did it on your own.

How Long Does it Take for Alcohol to Get Out of Your System?

Alcohol is metabolized fairly quickly for most people. It usually leaves a person’s system within a few hours. But this is affected by several factors including the person’s age, weight, gender, and health condition.

When it comes to how quickly alcohol is metabolized, age is one of the major factors. The body becomes less efficient at breaking down alcohol as we age. This means it takes longer for alcohol to leave an older person’s system.

Weight is another key factor. The more you weigh, the longer it will take for your body to metabolize alcohol.

In general, men also process alcohol faster than women due to differences in levels of enzymes that break alcohol down. This means gender is another important factor.

A person’s overall health is another key consideration. Those who have liver problems, for example, may take longer to process alcohol within their system.

Alcohol’s half-life is four to five hours. You need five half-lives in order to remove alcohol from your body completely. This means it takes roughly 25 hours for alcohol to leave your body.

There is also the risk of addiction to consider. An addicted individual will compulsively drink even if it is already harming them. If a person is addicted to alcohol, they may drink in the middle of the day or drink even when they are alone. They may lie about their drinking habits out of shame. Some people begin to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy simply because alcohol has them preoccupied. They may neglect their responsibilities in favor of drinking.

Addiction not only has physical and mental health effects, but it also damages a person’s relationships.

Addiction is a serious medical condition that affects a person’s ability to make good decisions. It has a genetic factor as well as various environmental factors. So if a person has a family history of addiction, they are more likely to develop a substance use disorder later in life than someone who does not.

The more risk factors a person is exposed to, the higher the likelihood of developing an addiction. Peer pressure, poverty, stress, and a lack of education surrounding the effects of alcohol are some noteworthy risk factors.

What is the Best Way to Stop Drinking?

There are many different pathways to recovery. There is no single solution that fits everyone. Even detox may work differently from one patient to another. Remember that medical detox is just the first step in your journey towards recovery, but it is a very important one.

Those who are dealing with the effects of alcohol abuse should seek help immediately. Oftentimes, admitting that you need help is the most difficult part of living with an addiction. But once you get past that hurdle, you can open yourself up to change.

During behavioral therapy, you will learn healthy coping mechanisms that will allow you to live life without alcohol. You will make better choices in life, adopt a healthy diet, develop stronger relationships, identify unhealthy thoughts, and spend your energy in more productive ways. During treatment, you will learn better ways to deal with your cravings so it does not take over your thoughts and actions.

Overall, quitting alcohol is not an easy thing to do. But if you do decide to go for it, do not do it alone. Consult your doctor first before making any steps. Quitting cold turkey may be dangerous especially if you have been drinking for a long time.

Home alcohol detox works, but it’s not for everyone. If you or someone you love is dealing with alcohol addiction, look for a rehab facility near you today and gather as much information as you can about their treatment options. Your road to recovery starts today.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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