Can You Detox From Alcohol At Home?
By Midwest Detox Staff
Many people dealing with alcoholism want to learn how to detox from alcohol at home. While some alcohol abusers do try alcohol detoxification with home remedies, it is not recommended. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. Without the supervision of trained professionals, you could easily relapse or experience fatal health complications. So, in today’s guide, we’re going to take a closer look at alcohol detox, explain why home detox is a bad idea, and offer some alternatives that can help you or a loved one achieve sobriety.
What Is Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detoxification is the process of slowly and systematically cleansing your body of alcohol over a relatively short period of time. While someone might say they are going to “detox” after a night of heavy drinking, they typically mean a period of unsupervised abstinence. However, if you have developed a dependence on alcohol, you will require a more formal and safe way to cleanse your body. Consequently, checking into a detox clinic is a necessary first step toward recovery from alcohol addiction, as it creates a solid foundation for long-term recovery.
Detox is so important because excessive consumption of alcohol makes the mind and body dependent on the substance. At the same time, tolerance builds up, making it harder to achieve the desired level of inebriation without larger quantities of alcohol, which only worsens the cycle of addiction. Like any addictive substance, this increases the risk of health complications, including alcohol poisoning. Unfortunately, stopping the intake of alcohol cold turkey is almost never a safe option, as the withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. As a result, formal, systematic alcohol removal with round-the-clock medical supervision is the best way to detox.
Since alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and even life-threatening, the alleviation of these symptoms is often the primary goal of alcohol detox. Depending on the severity of the addiction, alcohol detox could take up to several weeks to complete. If you choose to get help to detox, trained professionals with monitor your vitals, administer medications as needed, and provided a comfortable, supportive, and therapeutic environment in which to cut off your alcohol addiction.
It’s also important to remember that detox is just the first step in the recovery journey. It is recommended to begin with a comprehensive alcohol detox and then continue your treatment with inpatient or outpatient rehab. In many cases, the combination of detox and rehab can help you develop the skills to stay sober for life.
Alcohol Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
Part of the reason that so many people think that they can manage their own detoxification is because they are unfamiliar with (and unprepared for) the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The truth is that withdrawal can be very intense. Without professional supervision, it could be very easy to relapse during the early stages of recovery. Additionally, many of the symptoms can be severe to the point of causing permanent health problems or even death. Below, we will go over some of the most common symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal:
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Panic Attacks or Anxiety
- Increased Heart Rate
- Elevated Blood Pressure
These are often the symptoms that make alcohol withdrawal uncomfortable. You may find it difficult to function without proper sleep. At the same time, symptoms like shaking (also known as tremors), nausea, excessive sweating, and confusion can make it even harder to go about your daily routine. Plus, work or school are nearly impossible when you’re experiencing a rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and unpredictable anxiety.
Much like hangovers from binge drinking, alcohol withdrawal can cause a sensitivity to light and sound that can lead to severe headaches. The combination of all of these factors makes it very difficult to get sober and stay sober without help. This doesn’t even take into account the more severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal known as Delirium Tremens (DTs). These symptoms generally include:
- Severe Anxiety and Paranoia
- High Fever
While all of these symptoms can be dangerous, alcohol withdrawal seizures can be particularly frightening and difficult or even impossible to manage on your own, especially while you’re experiencing other symptoms of Delirium Tremens. So, if you’re trying to overcome an alcohol addiction, you should always seek out the help of a professional rehab clinic, particularly if your addiction is severe and you’re at risk of experiencing DTs.
The Dangers Of Detoxing From Alcohol At Home
While some people try to detox at home and you may have encountered anecdotal evidence of successful home detoxes, we cannot stress the danger of this home detox enough. Even if you have a moderate alcohol dependence, an at-home detox could put you at risk of relapse or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Here are just a few of the reasons to avoid detoxing from alcohol at home:
- Unpredictable Withdrawal Symptoms - If you haven’t had a medical professional evaluate the severity of your addiction, you won’t know what to expect during the withdrawal period. Withdrawal symptoms can kick in just a few hours from the time of your last drink, and they typically get worse very quickly. If you start experiencing severe symptoms like hallucinations or seizures without medical supervision, you could be putting your life in immediate danger.
- Lack of Medication Management - Detox professionals know when and how to administer medication to ease the discomfort of withdrawal and prevent the onset of more severe symptoms. Even if you do have access to the right medications, it would be difficult to administer them in the proper dosages on your own.
- Increased Risk of Relapse - The risk of relapse is a constant threat when attempting to cut off alcohol use. While this risk is still present when you leave a detox facility, it is far lower than it would be if you try to detox at home. One of the biggest issues with detoxing at home is the easy access to alcohol; when alcohol is accessible during the early days of recovery, relapse is a strong possibility.
- Inability to Treat a Dual Diagnosis - If you have a dual diagnosis, it means that you’re struggling with addiction and a separate mental illness. An inpatient detox facility can help provide emotional and therapeutic support to treat both. This is virtually impossible if you try to detox at home.
- No Formal Transition Process - When you finish detox at a clinic, you are set up with a treatment plan to continue your recovery journey. This often includes the steps to check into an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. When you detox at home, you are left to deal with this difficult transition on your own.
How To Safely Detox From Alcohol
As you can see, there are a lot of risks associated with detoxing at home. It is simply not safe and unlikely to be successful. Alternatively, if you choose to detox in a controlled setting under medical supervision, you have a much greater chance to overcome your addiction. Not only can a real inpatient detox facility help minimize the discomfort and dangers of withdrawal, but it can also help you continue your path to long-term sobriety.
Fortunately, Midwest Detox has the personnel and expertise to start your recovery out the right way. We provide comprehensive alcohol detox in a controlled, comfortable setting. You will have privacy, while still having access to the medication and emotional support you need to get through those difficult first days or weeks. Rather than taking risks with an at-home detox, please contact an inpatient facility like Midwest Detox to get the treatment you need.
Are you in need of a private alcohol detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.