Do home alcoholism treatment remedies work?
Alcohol addiction can feel like an incredibly shameful experience, and it makes sense that a person who has reached the end of his rope would not want to draw any further attention to himself and his problem.
Or maybe he’s worried that he won’t be able to afford getting treatment and rehab. Or maybe, because alcohol is so widespread and popular, he thinks that breaking an addiction can’t be too difficult. Whatever his reasons, home alcoholism treatment remedies are fraught with danger.
What are home remedies?
The term “home” in “home remedies” (also found in “home detox”) refers to the practice of a drinker trying to quit alcohol outside of a treatment center. This may be in her own home, or it could be at the house of a friend or family member, but what’s important is the do-it-yourself nature of home remedies. These remedies are often attempted with no medications, no professional supervision, and no contingency plan if something goes wrong. The homes are often unsecured, meaning that privacy may be at a minimum (or nonexistent), alcohol may be on hand, and the people who are ostensibly trying to help their friend or family member through the process may not hold fast against pleas and demands to “medicate” the patient.
Part of the trouble arises because of the unpredictability of an addiction. Complications with alcohol withdrawal are not only possible, but probable. While it is true that substance abuse follows a general pattern, there are subtle variances in how it manifests in different people. This may be attributed to distinctions in genetics, lifestyle, length of the addiction, mental health, etc. How one person’s body and mind reacts to the deprivation of alcohol, even for the ostensible purposes of treatment, might be very disparate to how another person reacts.
People with no medical training cannot control for these differences; they may not even know that such differences exist. When something happens that is beyond their understanding (the patient’s withdrawal does not go according to plan, for example), they may not have any idea how to react; at worst, they do something that actively endangers the patient’s life.
It’s enough of a problem for The New York Times to refer to it as “the perils of alcohol withdrawal,” in a story on how British singer Amy Winehouse’s attempt to wean herself off alcohol killed her.
What should treatment be like?
Proper alcoholism treatment, on the other hand, takes place in a safe, controlled environment, away from the distractions and temptations of normal life. In attendance are not well-meaning but inexperienced family members, but doctors and health care professionals who have worked with a number of other people going through the same process. If the patient begs and pleads and demands alcohol, they know that giving in to their demands is not the answer; also, there is no alcohol to be found in treatment centers. If the patient is struggling with the myriad symptoms of withdrawal, treatment staff can administer the right kinds of anti-anxiety or anticonvulsant drugs, in the right dosages, and then gradually taper those medications off as the patient’s condition improves.
None of that will happen in a home setting, in part because some of the drugs that are used in alcohol detox (such as chlordiazepoxide (sold under the trade name Librium), diazepam (Valium), or lorazepam (Ativan)) are not available without a valid prescription. Not for nothing does the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warn that attempting to obtain prescription drugs fraudulently is illegal.
In treatment, environment is vital. Everything surrounding the addict, from the room in which she sleeps to the kitchen in which she eats, either helps or hurts her journey to sobriety. A domestic residence cannot control for every minute factor that has the potential to derail a detoxification – and certainly cannot provide the necessary psychotherapy to follow the detox.
There is also little thought given to the topic of relapse prevention. One of the goals of psychotherapy is to teach patients how to recognize the triggers that would prompt them to start drinking and then to keep drinking.
Once these triggers are identified and defined, the patient learns coping skills and tools to learn new and better ways to respond to any challenges and temptations that come around in the future.
- But in addition to home environments not having psychotherapists who know how to do this, home environments lack the control of a treatment center. Even if the domicile where the detox takes place is cleansed of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other addictive substances, can the same be said for the immediate surroundings? It’s unlikely. A patient who goes through home alcoholism treatment may be prematurely thrust back into the real world, without any idea of how he is going to protect himself against a bad day, an invitation to drink, or some other kind of test of his abstinence.
- In 2003, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that there are an annual average of 500,000 cases of alcohol withdrawal that require medical attention. There are far too many things that can go wrong during or after home alcoholism treatment to take the risk. For every person who somehow makes it through, there are dozens more who do not survive or who find themselves relapsing, with no safety net to help them back on their feet.
The thought of taking your recovery into your own hands may be tempting, but it’s not worth putting yourself through an incredibly dangerous process for an uncertain reward.Instead, call The Recovery Village. They have experienced health care and mental health professionals standing by to answer your questions about proper alcohol treatment and why home remedies for alcoholism don’t work. All it takes is one phone call, and your health and recovery will be in the hands of people who know how to help you.