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How to Safely Detox From Alcohol At Home

Graphic showing the risk factors of detoxing at home

The detoxification process is the first step in the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD). During the alcohol detox stage, alcohol is completely flushed out from the system. 

Withdrawal symptoms normally fade after 1-2 weeks of beginning the detox process; however, depending on the severity of your AUD, this might take longer. 

After the completion of the detox process, you can concentrate on other areas of your recovery process, such as different activities, treatments, support options, and counseling sessions.

Some people are hesitant to stop drinking alcohol because they are concerned about the withdrawal symptoms that occur during alcohol detox. While some people may only have minor side effects from drinking, others may experience severe discomfort. 

Because symptoms of withdrawal can vary rapidly and aggressively, at-home alcohol detox and withdrawal are not recommended owing to the medical complications that might occur. Therefore, it is important to detox at a professional detox facility under the supervision of medical professionals. 

Addiction treatment specialists at a professional rehab facility will be able to assist you in controlling your pain with different medications. This helps you to concentrate on your recovery and lead a happy, sober life.

Preparations for At-Home Detox

If you are ready to begin alcohol detox, it is important to find a healthcare provider and collaborate with them to develop a plan.

The following are the stages for starting an at-home detox:

Evaluation

Consult with a healthcare practitioner. Their evaluation will involve a discussion with you about your drinking habits. A blood test will also be done to assess your liver function and nutritional levels.

Recommendations

After the medical evaluation, the medical expert will next discuss their treatment recommendations with you. This covers the medications and why they recommend them.

Treatment Contract

You may be asked to sign a treatment contract by your healthcare provider. This can help keep you both on the same page when it comes to your detox program. 

It also keeps you secure and allows you to detox effectively. Daily breathalyzer testing and occasional urine drug screenings may be included in the contract.

Instructions

Your provider should give you specific directions, such as how much medication to take and how often and when to seek immediate medical attention.

Starting Detox Treatment

Begin the detoxification process. Follow your provider’s treatment recommendations and the terms of your patient contract.

Timeline of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from minor to severe. Your personal timeline depends on how much and how long you drank.

6 Hours After the Last Drink

Mild symptoms might appear as soon as 6 hours after your last drink. They may include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

12-48 Hours After the Last Drink

Most severe withdrawal symptoms might emerge during this time period and may include hallucinations (around 12-24 hours after your last drink) and seizures within the first two days. You can feel, see, and hear things that aren’t actually there.

48-72 Hours After the Last Drink

Delirium tremens (DTs) generally begin around this time. This is a severe condition characterized by strong hallucinations and seizures. They are present in only around 5 percent of patients suffering from alcohol withdrawal. 

Those who experience DTs may also have the following:

  • Irregular heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Heavy sweating
  • Fever
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure

Strategies to Safely Detox From Alcohol at Home

Due to the risk of serious withdrawal symptoms, detoxing from alcohol at home is not recommended for people with more severe alcohol addictions. 

People with minor alcohol addictions can detox at home, but they should always consult with their doctor or treatment provider first. There are numerous key strategies that might help you improve your home detox experience.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is essential for everyone, especially during the detox phase. You will most likely sweat more during detox; thus, water replacement is important. 

Staying hydrated can also assist in keeping your kidneys healthy, allowing them to effectively filter out toxins and keeping you in good health as your body goes through the stress of detox.

Have a Balanced and Healthy Diet

A healthy and balanced diet can provide you with the essential nutrients you need to lead to good health. 

The detoxification process will put a strain on your body, and eating nutritious food will help you develop abilities to keep your kidneys functioning properly, allowing them to properly filter out toxins and keep you in good health as your body goes through the stress and tension that detox creates.

Take Supplements and Vitamins

Heavy alcohol consumption can deplete your body of essential vitamins necessary for your overall health. 

Taking supplements and vitamins that health professionals recommend during the detox process will help you restore all sorts of deficiencies that alcohol use has caused, ultimately improving your ability to safely go through withdrawal.

Get Proper Sleep

The withdrawal phase often causes insomnia. When you are exhausted, your ability to control impulses is reduced, making it more difficult to continue through alcohol detox. 

If you get plenty of sleep, you will be better equipped to manage potential insomnia and avoid the adverse effects that lack of sleep has on your impulses.

Find Support

It is easy to give up during detoxing, and being alone might make it much more difficult to fight these impulses. 

Having the help of someone who has recovered from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or who has been trained to support you through the withdrawal phase will increase your chances of finishing your detox successfully.

Practice Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to reduce alcohol cravings and help in the process of detox and long-term sobriety. 

When you practice meditation and mindfulness, you will be better equipped to resist alcohol cravings and succeed throughout your home alcohol detox.

Monitor Symptoms Closely

Alcohol withdrawal is very dangerous and risky. While many individuals choose to detox at home rather than seek professional medical help, you should be very careful to monitor your symptoms properly and get professional help if required.

Risks of Detoxing at Home

There are various risks associated with at-home alcohol detox. The most serious issue is that medical complications might emerge during alcohol withdrawal. If they do arise, the chances of you being prepared to deal with them are usually slim.

In rare cases, you may require medications that are not available over the counter and can only be supplied by a healthcare specialist to help you get through your detox.

Other risks that are associated with at-home alcohol detox include:

Relapsing

Detoxification is a complicated and often unpleasant process. If you attempt an at-home detox without medical supervision, you risk giving up the process in the middle and resuming drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 

According to research, people who detox at home are more likely to relapse.

Difficulty Avoiding Triggers

When detoxing at home, avoiding triggers might be much more difficult. You are more likely to be exposed to triggering environments, such as people and situations, that make you drink.

Increased Risk of Worsening Mental Health Symptoms

Alcohol use disorder and alcohol dependence can co-occur with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. When detoxifying, the symptoms of these mental health illnesses may intensify. 

You may be unaware of what’s going on with you at home, but your healthcare practitioner will be able to reduce it with medical supervision.

Medically-Supervised Detox

It is not recommended to attempt an at-home alcohol detox due to the potential risks associated with doing so. Entering an inpatient or outpatient treatment program at a treatment facility supervised by a team of medical experts is a much safer option.

Some of the perks of medical detox include the following:

  • Medical stabilization
  • Peer support
  • A secure and organized environment
  • Relapse prevention
  • Therapeutic intervention
  • Family support
  • Long-term treatment (aftercare)

When it comes to where you will detox, you have several options available, such as:

Inpatient Treatment

If you choose to go through withdrawal at an inpatient treatment center, you will get 24-hour care from a team of medical specialists. 

Inpatient treatment is often recommended for those who have been drinking for a long time or who drank excessively during their addiction. 

Another advantage of inpatient treatment is that, if necessary, a doctor can prescribe medications (benzodiazepines, naltrexone, acamprosate, disulfiram) to assist you in controlling your withdrawal symptoms.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is another option if your addiction is not of severe nature. Outpatient detox involves regularly attending a treatment facility throughout the detox process. 

For the majority of the time of outpatient detox, you will detox at home. When you go to the treatment center, you may be given medications to help with withdrawal symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for alcohol to get out of your system?

Alcohol takes 60 to 90 minutes to reach peak levels in the blood after you start drinking. The body then starts breaking it down.
The half-life of alcohol is between four to five hours. A half-life is the amount of time it takes your body to get rid of half of it. However, it takes around five half-lives to eliminate alcohol entirely. So, your body takes 25 hours to eliminate all of the alcohol.

Does water flush out alcohol?

Drinking water or coffee and taking a shower do not speed up the process of breakdown and removal of alcohol. They may only increase your alertness, but they will not remove alcohol from your blood. 
Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will continue to rise as long as your rate of consumption exceeds your rate of elimination.

How do I get myself to stop drinking?

When you are committed to stopping drinking alcohol, the following tips can help you along the way:

Make your attention known by family members and friends
Avoid temptation
Engage in new, healthy activities and hobbies
Reward yourself when you make progress
Enjoy the benefits

End the Addiction Cycle with The Haven Detox

Alcohol addiction is a severe problem in the United States because alcohol is a highly addictive substance that causes a surge of euphoric feelings and is claimed to “numb” unpleasant or stressful thoughts and feelings. Long-term use leads to various health issues and addiction.

You can beat your alcoholism and achieve sobriety. Self-detoxing from alcohol at home is never safe. Excessive drinkers who have attempted to self-detox in the past are at a higher risk of complications from alcohol withdrawal. That is why it is important to get help from a professional alcohol rehab center.

When you enter alcohol addiction treatment at The Haven, you will be under the care of a staff of medically trained specialists who will support you through the withdrawal process and guide you toward recovery. We offer a number of effective medical treatment options, including medical detox, residential treatment, and therapies.

Therefore, if you or anyone you care about is struggling with alcohol addiction, call us at (561) 328-8627 to get professional medical care and regain control of your life.

Return to the Happy Life

Our admissions department is available 24/7 and happy to answer any questions you may have about our facility or treatment options.