Self Detox from Alcohol
People who suffer from alcoholism may want to address their alcohol use disorder (AUD) as quickly as possible so that it no longer affects the people around them.
Navigation: Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment at Home: Is it Safe?, Detoxing at Home: Advantages and Disadvantages, How to Self Detox from Alcohol Safely, Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms, Why You Should Go for Medically-Supervised Alcohol Detox Instead, Rehab Is Your Best Chance
Alcohol abuse and addiction are serious problems that can be difficult to deal with. The very nature of addiction as a medical condition prevents someone from making healthy decisions. They compulsively seek out alcohol because their brain is telling them to. Addiction is characterized by the compulsive intake of a substance despite already suffering from the consequences.
At some point, however, an addicted individual may think “enough is enough” and they realize they have to get better. This is when they start looking into possible solutions. Medical detox and rehab are some of the options that immediately come to mind, but this is not possible for some people.
This is how home alcohol detox comes into the conversation. Here we will discuss how it’s done and what it aims to do.
We should start this off by saying alcohol detox at home is not advisable due to potential medical complications that may arise during the process. It can be dangerous to address alcoholism on your own.
Although you are surrounded by loved ones, it goes without saying that detoxing at home comes with significant risks. For example, suddenly reducing or stopping your alcohol intake can lead to severe health effects such as seizures, heart failure, hallucinations, and even death. Not everyone can do it on their own. Not everyone should attempt it. Getting proper medical detox from medical professionals at a rehab facility is still the way to go.
Learning more about this option is important because it highlights the risks of doing so. Let’s take a closer look at home alcohol detox—and for those who have no other choice—how to do it safely.
Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment at Home: Is it Safe?
People who suffer from alcoholism may want to address their alcohol use disorder (AUD) as quickly as possible so that it no longer affects the people around them. Addiction tends to impact not only the alcoholic person but also the people surrounding them: their friends, family members, and other important relationships.
Despite the desire to stop, it is important to look for ways to safely detox from alcohol without putting your own life at risk. The way you approach alcohol detox is extremely important.
Hearing that at-home detox is an option may make it seem like the problem is easy to address, but that is not the case. People think that home detox is safe because they will be staying within the comfort of their own home. But without professional medical advice, this can be dangerous.
Patients who have been drinking for a long time will experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which is characterized by alcohol cravings and severe withdrawal symptoms. Most people do not understand the timeline of alcohol withdrawal. This makes the medical alcohol detox process risky and potentially life-threatening.
Keep in mind that detoxing from alcohol can be just as dangerous as detoxing from illicit drugs and other substances. If an alcohol dependent person suddenly decides to stop drinking, their body will react to this drastic chemical change. This results in withdrawal, which is marked by painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Without proper treatment, you wouldn’t have access to the medications that are meant to make the process safer and more comfortable. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms also tend to last for weeks, which only means it is very difficult to manage if you do not have a medical background. The risks are even greater when you attempt to detox from home.
You never really know what would happen and how your body would respond to the sudden absence of alcohol. Some people get hallucinations while others suffer from heart failure. Alcohol withdrawal, in some cases, can be fatal. If you take other drugs along with alcohol, the symptoms of withdrawal can become unpredictable.
Even without these dangers, you should seriously consider proper treatment because home detox has a higher risk of relapse. Without a medical professional to keep track of their progress and manage their symptoms, some people simply relapse after a few days of suffering from withdrawal.
We cannot understate the importance of a medically monitored detox administered by licensed medical professionals in an actual treatment setting. Not only is this safer, it is also more effective. Medical professionals in a rehab setting can even give recommendations regarding the patient’s co-occurring issues like high blood pressure, mental health disorder, or behavioral health conditions.
If you decide to try detoxing at home, you have to focus on hydration and maintaining a balanced diet.
Detoxing at Home: Advantages and Disadvantages
Alcohol detox is a difficult process on its own. That is why it is best handled by medical professionals at a rehab facility. If you have been drinking for a long time, withdrawal is something that you should come to expect.
Only consider alcohol detox at home if your condition is mild enough. Even then, it can be difficult to assess the severity of someone’s addiction as it may be influenced by a number of factors such as age, gender, family history of substance abuse, etc.
This is not to say that some people have not successfully self-detoxed from alcohol before. If you think detoxing from alcohol at home is the right option for you, there are some benefits to consider.
For starters, you will be staying in the comfort of your own home, which can put your mind at ease while you go through this difficult process. If you have a supportive home environment, that’s also a good bonus. They can keep an eye on you and provide emotional support.
Self-detoxing is also a good way to eliminate alcohol from your home. By doing so, you reduce the risk of exposing other people to the risk of alcohol use disorder.
Other than that, detoxing from alcohol at home seems to carry more risks than benefits. But here is how to do it safely if you have no other option.
How to Self Detox from Alcohol Safely
Now that you know the risks you are facing, let’s talk about the self-detox process and how to keep yourself safe.
You have to start by removing alcohol from your home. During the start of this process you will find it difficult to control your cravings. By avoiding the temptation altogether, you will have a greater chance of success.
However, if you are alcohol dependent, detoxing is a dangerous process especially if you just stop drinking all of a sudden. Instead you need to reduce the amount you drink gradually, over a few weeks.
The detox process is all about slowly eliminating the substance from your system. While your body is adjusting to the reduced alcohol intake, you will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Food will be the last thing on your mind, but you need to eat to keep your body strong. Eating plays an important role in your recovery. This will influence the way your body metabolizes and uses nutrients.
The withdrawal symptoms will be at their most severe between 24 and 72 hours after the last drink. This will include a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Once you can start eating again, focus on maintaining a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to eat foods from different food groups to help you get all the nutrients you need throughout the day.
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to recover faster. Rehydrate with water, juice, broth, or even ice pops and gelatin. These will prove invaluable during the early withdrawal stages.
Don’t forget to take your vitamins and minerals to further aid your body through the detoxing process.
You need to clear your schedule and get organized. Some people take some time off work or temporarily put aside their responsibilities so they can focus on their recovery. This is necessary as you will have to put a lot of your energy into recovering from withdrawal symptoms.
Keep a diary or journal that will help you keep track of your alcohol consumption. Take note of what you drink, how much you consume, and when you have it. Do this for an entire week before you reduce your drinking. This will help you stay on track and gradually lower your intake week after week. This is called a drinking diary.
You can then start reducing your alcohol intake based on the drinking level you have established in the first week. First you can reduce your drinking by 10% and then reduce it by 20% the following day. Keep drinking at this reduced level for up to four days and then reduce it by another 10%.
If you start to have withdrawal symptoms, it means you are cutting down too fast. Try to stay at a certain reduced level for a week before cutting down again. Once you are safely down to drinking less than 10 units a day, you can go ahead and try to stop drinking completely.
Another strategy to consider is to gradually switch to a lower-strength drink. This way, your brain will think it is still receiving alcohol even though you are actually switching over to something less alcoholic. Try adding water or a mixer to your alcoholic drinks. Alternating between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic drink can also help your brain ease into a life without drinking.
You should also make sure to get some support. You cannot go through this process alone. Just because you are going through detox at home doesn’t mean you should do it on your own. Always have a family member or friend nearby. They will help keep you safe during detox and they can also call for medical assistance if the symptoms get too severe. They can even help you measure your drinks and record your intake for you.
Tell them to call an ambulance if you have a seizure, develop double vision, become confused or unsteady, or experience hallucinations. These may be signs of a dangerous alcohol withdrawal.
Over the next few weeks you will be dealing with withdrawal symptoms that range from mildly uncomfortable to painful. But eventually you will find that it is much easier for you to stay away from alcohol altogether.
Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol dependence develops over the course of weeks, months, and even years of alcohol abuse. Dependence occurs when a person continuously takes a certain substance for an extended period of time, whether it’s drugs or alcohol. The body adjusts to the constant presence of the substance, to the point where it can no longer function normally without it. The person will struggle to feel “normal” whenever they try to cut back their intake or quit entirely.
Alcohol abuse can lead to physical and psychological dependence, wherein they feel like they need to keep drinking just to function on a daily basis. Even if they want to quit, the combination of cravings and withdrawal symptoms keep them from doing so.
For those who only drink once in a while, the likelihood of developing withdrawal symptoms when you stop is very small. But for those who have experienced withdrawal before, the chances of getting it again is higher.
Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to serious. Mild symptoms can start early. You can experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, insomnia, sweating, and anxiety, only 6 hours after your last drink.
After one or two days without drinking, you may experience more serious problems like hallucinations or even seizures.
There is also a dangerous withdrawal symptom called delirium tremens or DT which can start within 48 to 72 hours after your last drink. Delirium tremens is characterized by symptoms such as high blood pressure, fever, confusion, racing heart, heavy sweating, hallucinations, and delusions. This is quite rare as only 5% of people who go through withdrawal develop it.
For those who have experienced severe withdrawal symptoms in the past, have a serious medical condition, or have been drinking for a long period of time, seeking treatment is the safest move.
Otherwise, you may be able to get through withdrawal safely at home. Just make sure you have a positive and supportive environment while you are going through detox. Keep your body healthy throughout this process so that it is easier for you to recover.
At the end of the day, detox is just one part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan. It is just a band aid solution to alcohol dependence if you do not put in the work necessary to address the core problem, which is alcohol abuse itself. This is why proper treatment in a rehab center is often necessary. Addiction treatment isn’t just about helping a person get sober, it is also about teaching them the skills they need to maintain their sobriety for the long term.
Treating alcohol withdrawal with detox is important, but you must pair it with behavioral therapies to ensure long-term success.
Why You Should Go for Medically-Supervised Alcohol Detox Instead
When it comes to detox, proper medical supervision from trained professionals is unmatched.
Without proper treatment, a lot of people just end up in a cycle of wanting to quit but not being able to, and then going through self-detox and relapsing. In a rehab setting, you can focus on your recovery because you are removed from your usual environment. This works especially well for people in toxic home environments where they do not have a solid emotional support system.
Rehab also separates the addicted individual from their usual triggers, stressors, and temptations.
In a rehab setting, patients will gradually lower their alcohol intake while their withdrawal symptoms are managed by addiction treatment professionals. Medications like benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat certain symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. They may also administer other medications to keep cravings under control.
Healthcare professionals are also able to address co-occurring mental health disorders and medical conditions. Patients with anxiety, depression, or personality disorders can manage their symptoms properly.
Medically-supervised detox reduces the risks associated with withdrawal and alcohol dependence. It offers a safe and comfortable environment where clients can just concentrate on their sobriety.
Afterwards they can also go through behavioral therapy and other treatment methods that will get to the root causes of their drinking problems. They will learn to recognize unhealthy thought patterns. They will pick up ways to avoid their triggers and use healthy coping mechanisms instead. Overall it is a much safer and more effective long term solution compared to at-home detox.
Look for an alcohol addiction treatment facility near you today and find out about the available treatment options. A lot of rehab centers offer medically-monitored detox programs. Get started on the road to recovery 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.