Over 15 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and the long-term effects of alcohol use can be devastating. Alcohol addiction can lead to an increased risk of accidents, social and economic problems and so many health problems that it is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Because of the negative effects that alcohol can create, many people who use alcohol are interested in detoxing from it. People sometimes wonder if they can detox at home and avoid the expense of going through a detox program at a facility. Detoxing from alcohol at home is feasible, but should only be done with the consent of your doctor and should only be done by people who are unlikely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Options For Detoxing at Home
People who are thinking about stopping alcohol use often wonder how to safely detox from alcohol at home. Safely detoxing at home is only possible if you are unlikely to experience moderate or severe withdrawal symptoms. Severe withdrawal symptoms can cause seizures, suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, can be fatal. If you are likely to have any of these symptoms you should only detox in a facility with 24-hour medical care available. Those who are unlikely to experience moderate to severe symptoms may consider a home detox.
People who are looking for natural remedies for alcohol withdrawal should consider one of the oldest alcohol withdrawal remedies, alcohol itself. While using alcohol as a treatment for alcohol withdrawal may seem counterintuitive, using small amounts of alcohol to treat withdrawal symptoms may help during alcohol detox. This strategy can be done by continuing to use alcohol, but slowly decreasing the amount that is used until alcohol use is stopped, or by stopping alcohol use but using very small amounts of beer or another weaker alcohol to treat withdrawal symptoms when they occur.
Detox Medical Kits
Home alcohol detox kits are available on the internet and offer a variety of natural ways to treat alcohol withdrawal. The content of these kits and their effectiveness are almost never regulated or tested. Most of these kits should be avoided, as it is impossible to tell whether it will actually be helpful. If you do decide to purchase a detox kit, you should carefully review the claims that it makes and the reviews of people who have used it in the past.
Cold Turkey Detox
A cold turkey alcohol detox is when a person stops alcohol use suddenly without any reduction in alcohol intake prior to beginning the detox process. If you are considering quitting cold turkey, you should speak with your doctor about getting prescriptions for medications that can help to reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that you will likely experience.
Risks of Detoxing From Alcohol at Home
If you attempt to detox from alcohol at home, you will encounter some unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Those who drink more than one or two drinks a day are likely to experience some more severe side effects that will require medical treatment. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fast heart rate
- Irritability or agitation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Elevated blood pressure
These symptoms may begin as early as six hours after your last drink and will typically last up to three days, but may last for longer.
Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Severe tremors
- Delirium tremens
These severe symptoms may start as late as three days after stopping alcohol and can last for a week or more. If you or someone else are attempting to detox from alcohol at home and have any of these symptoms, you should go to the hospital as soon as possible and seek professional help.
People who are researching alcohol detox may wonder what delirium tremens are. Delirium tremens refers to a severe alcohol withdrawal symptom that only occurs in about one in twenty people who detox from alcohol. Delirium tremens causes severe tremors, hallucinations, seizures and severe delirium where the person detoxing may not act normally or rationally and may not recognize familiar people. Delirium tremens can be fatal because of the stress it puts on the body and on the brain. Someone who is suspected to be having delirium tremens should immediately go to the hospital.
Treating an Alcohol Addiction After Detox
Detoxing from alcohol is only part of the recovery process. Unless you address the reasons that you used alcohol in the first place, you will likely start using alcohol again. Professional alcohol addiction treatment addresses not only the initial detox, but also a plan for maintaining sobriety. This can include medications that help to reduce alcohol cravings or treat the underlying reason for alcohol use, and therapies that address alcohol use behaviors. By seeking professional treatment you will not only be able to detox safely and comfortably, but you will also greatly lower your risk of experiencing a setback.
Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to speak with a representative about how professional treatment can address a substance use disorder. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” August 2018. Accessed August 31, 2019.
- Davis, Chris. “Home Detox – Supporting Patients to Ov[…]me Alcohol Addiction.” December 2018. Accessed August 31, 2019.
- Trevisan, Louis A. “Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal.” Alcohol Health & Research World, 1998. Accessed August 31, 2019.
- Legg, Timothy J. “Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.” Healthline Media, April 23, 2018. Accessed Aug. 31, 2019.
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” April 2019, Accessed Aug. 31, 2019.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Delirium Tremens.” July 31, 2019. Accessed August 31, 2019.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.