How to Safely Detox From Alcohol at Home
When you’re addicted to alcohol, there comes a point when enough is enough. You’re tired of blacking out, waking up hungover, and having no idea what happened the night before. You’re tired of disappointing friends and family over and over again. You want to stop. That’s the first step toward recovery. But how do you approach alcoholism detox?
Alcoholism can affect the person struggling with it as well their loved ones, and at-home detox is often the only and safest way to treat it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that alcohol detox can be dangerous if it’s done at home. Detox at a rehab facility is typically the most recommended for alcohol addiction. One reason involves the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, one of which is delirium tremens (DT), a potentially fatal condition. Withdrawal from alcohol isn’t easy, and not everyone can do it on their own. That’s why alcohol detoxification and alcohol withdrawal treatment are administered by medical professionals at various rehab facilities throughout the country.
Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment at Home
Often the next course that an individual struggling with alcoholism might consider is detoxing from alcohol at home. Many consider at-home detox because it makes the painful situation easier to take in. There’s usually no place more comfortable, safe-feeling and controlled than home. However, alcohol detoxification at home can have risks.
Have more questions about Alcohol abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
The Risks of At Home Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal
As good as home detox may sound, medical professionals don’t typically recommend this approach. There is far too much uncertainty in the alcohol detox process, including the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Withdrawal from alcohol should never be trivialized, as it can become a serious medical situation with potentially dire consequences. Alcohol withdrawal treatment at a professional rehab facility, such as The Recovery Village, is typically the safest option for men and women struggling with alcoholism.
Types of Treatment Programs
The next step is coming up with a plan for detoxing from alcohol. You have several options available to you when it comes to where you’ll detox:
Choosing to go through withdrawal at an inpatient treatment facility means you’ll benefit from around the clock care by a medical professional.
Inpatient treatment is usually recommended for people who have been drinking for a long time or consumed excessive amounts of alcohol during their addiction.
Another benefit of inpatient treatment is that, should you need it, a doctor can prescribe medications to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms.
If your addiction wasn’t as severe, outpatient treatment is another option. Outpatient detox consists of visiting a treatment facility on a regular basis during your detox. For the majority of the time, you’ll detox at home. When you visit the treatment facility, you may be prescribed medications which can help with withdrawal symptoms.
Self-Detox at Home
Self-detoxing at home isn’t typically advised, but for some people, it may be the only option. Most people who detox at home quit cold turkey, but some choose the tapering off method instead. Although self-detoxing without assistance from a doctor or medication is often painful, it can be done.
Choosing to Detox at Home
Many alcoholics attempt to self-detox at some point, and it’s often a string of failed attempts that lead an individual to enter rehab in the first place. That’s not to say, however, that people haven’t successfully self-detoxed from alcohol on their own.
If you decide that detoxing at home is the right situation for you, it’s important that you do it safely. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when detoxing at home:
- Remove alcohol from your home:This may sound obvious, but it’s a critical first step when self-detoxing. When you first start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may not be able to control your cravings. Avoid the temptation altogether by getting rid of alcohol that you have on hand.
- Clear your schedule: For some people, it may seem impossible to clear your schedule for days or weeks, but it’s necessary if you want your detox to be successful. Take some time off work and put aside your responsibilities – at least temporarily – so you can focus on your recovery.
- Get support: Just because you’re detoxing from alcohol at home doesn’t mean you should do it alone. Find a friend or family member to help keep you safe during the process and who will get you help in case your withdrawal symptoms get too severe.
What to Eat During Alcohol Detox
When your body is withdrawing from alcohol, food will probably be the last thing on your mind. Eating is an important part of your recovery because alcohol affects how your body metabolizes and utilizes nutrients.
Focus on Hydration First
Alcohol withdrawal causes a variety of different symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. These symptoms usually last between 24-72 hours and may limit your ability to eat.
It’s okay to feel this way, but make sure you drink plenty of fluids during this time as it will help rehydrate your body and get rid of toxins.
Water, juice, broth, ice pops, and gelatin are good choices during the early stages of withdrawal.
Start With a Balanced Diet
Once you can start eating again, it’s important to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet. Eat foods from a variety of food groups in the right amounts to help meet your caloric needs. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but don’t neglect the importance of whole grains and lean sources of protein.
Take Your Vitamins and Minerals
When you’re detoxing in an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility, they’ll usually prescribe medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms of alcohol. At home, you won’t have that luxury. But there are some vitamins and minerals you can take that are often beneficial and help remove toxins. Some of these include B vitamins, multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and garlic.
While at home detox from alcohol is often discouraged, it can be done. If you choose to alcohol detox at home, make sure you’re in a safe environment and have support from family and/or friends who can help you through it. Remember, if at any point the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are too painful or severe, you should seek help from a professional immediately.
At Home Detox Pros and Cons
Alcohol detox can be a dangerous process, which is why it’s typically best handled by a medical professional at a detox or rehab center. Alcohol detoxification involves withdrawal, and withdrawal involves physical symptoms. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be severe, and in many cases, very difficult to bear without medical assistance. Ultimately, the number and severity of symptoms depend on a number of factors, including age, gender and longevity of the addiction.
Although detoxing from home may seem like the best route financially, it’s also a very risky route to take. If you have questions about alcohol withdrawal treatment or home detox, call The Recovery Village to speak with someone who can help.