Alcohol Abuse & Addiction Alcohol Detox Remedies

Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal

Going through alcohol withdrawal isn’t a fun process, but there are several things you can do to make the experience better.

Alcohol withdrawal can kill you. It is not recommended to detox from alcohol at home without proper medical supervision. Call (614) 916-6571 to find a medically supervised alcohol detox center in Columbus, OH.

Detoxing from alcohol is the first step toward a life of sobriety, but many find it to be the most difficult part of the recovery journey. Detoxing from alcohol at home is possible for people with mild symptoms. For those with moderate to severe alcohol addiction, a medical detox is recommended.

Table of Contents

Alcohol Withdrawal and Detox

Alcohol withdrawal happens because continued alcohol use changes the sensitivity of receptors in your brain. Alcohol stimulates receptors called GABA receptors, causing suppression of the nervous system. The brain adjusts to the overstimulation of these receptors by reducing their sensitivity, allowing them to function normally while being overstimulated by alcohol. 

When alcohol is removed, the GABA receptors are not sensitive enough and cannot suppress the nervous system correctly. This leads to over-excitement of the nervous system until the brain can increase GABA receptor sensitivity and restore normal balance. This adjustment takes about seven to 10 days to complete.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are caused by overexcitation of the nervous system. Symptom severity is primarily influenced by how heavily alcohol was used, but it can vary based on many different factors. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Confusion
  • Sweaty, clammy skin
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin as soon as alcohol levels in the bloodstream drop below their normal levels. While the alcohol detox timeline will be different for everyone, it will involve: 

  • Initial symptoms: The first symptoms can start as soon as six hours after the last drink. These symptoms can include headaches, tremors and stomach issues.
  • Intensification: Withdrawal symptoms will get gradually and steadily worse until 48 to 72 hours after the last drink. New symptoms may occur, and existing symptoms will intensify. 
  • Peak: The peak is the worst part of detox and is when the most severe symptoms are likely to occur. The peak of withdrawal symptoms marks the end of the intensification phase and occurs about 48 to 72 hours after the last drink for most people.
  • Improvement: Symptoms will improve following the peak, although they may improve more slowly than they intensified. They will normally resolve within seven to 10 days after the last drink. However, it may take up to two weeks for some people.

Is It Safe To Withdraw From Alcohol at Home?

It can be safe to withdraw from alcohol at home in some situations. However, it is absolutely essential to speak with a doctor about your situation before you try this. Detoxing at home works best for people who are trying to quit alcohol for the first time and are likely to only have mild withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol can cause some of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms of any substance and can be fatal in some cases. For this reason, withdrawing from alcohol at home is highly discouraged for anyone who could experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms.

How To Detox From Alcohol at Home

The first and most important step of an at-home alcohol detox is to check in with your doctor and make sure that it is safe to do. They can also provide you with medications that can help make the process easier.

If you are detoxing from alcohol at home, there are several things you can do to make the process safer and more successful. These include:

  • Always have someone with you while detoxing.
  • Clear your schedule for two weeks so you have time to detox correctly.
  • Ensure there is no easily available alcohol in the home.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid people who could tempt you to drink.
  • Try relaxing activities like yoga, exercise or meditation.
  • Have an emergency medical plan if serious symptoms occur.

How To Safely Taper Off Alcohol

Tapering off of alcohol involves gradually reducing the amount of alcohol use over time, eventually stopping use entirely. However, tapering is not a medically recommended form of quitting alcohol because it is very difficult to do. Alcohol addiction is characterized by an inability to control one’s drinking, and a taper requires very strict control of how much alcohol is used. This makes it very difficult to successfully taper yourself off of alcohol.

For those who do wish to taper off alcohol, there is very little research on how to do it because alcohol tapers are not recommended. One study suggested a 10-day schedule, but there is no accepted tapering schedule since self-tapering typically does not work for alcohol detox.

Medical Alcohol Detox

A medically supervised alcohol detox is the safest way to detox from alcohol. This method of detox involves monitoring and treatment provided by health care professionals. Medical detox allows complications and dangers to be quickly recognized and treated before they become a problem.

Medical alcohol detox is not only the safest way to detox, but also the most comfortable. Withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant, and a medical detox can enable quick treatment using effective IV medications that could not be used at home. This provides comfort and reduces the worst alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Detox Medication

Alcohol detox medications are focused on preventing severe withdrawal symptoms and improving unpleasant symptoms that occur. Common alcohol detox medications include: 

  • Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are a core part of treating alcohol withdrawal. These medications work on the same receptors as alcohol, calming the body and reducing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Anticonvulsant drugs: Anticonvulsant drugs are used to prevent seizures in patients who are at risk for one.
  • Adrenergic medications: Adrenergic medications are used to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, improving safety during detox.
  • Barbiturates: Barbiturates work like benzodiazepines but are not as safe. They may be used in some situations, but benzodiazepines are typically preferred for alcohol withdrawal.
  • Baclofen: Baclofen works on the neurological pathway that affects the same receptors as alcohol. It is a more recent treatment option for alcohol withdrawals that improves symptoms and reduces alcohol cravings.

Someone planning to detox should speak with a doctor about which medications are best for their specific situation before taking anything for alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Detox Near Me

Finding a local detox facility can seem daunting, but considering these factors can help you locate the best alcohol detox facility in your area:

  • Quality: Checking reviews, accreditations, size and reputation can give you insight into a facility’s quality.
  • Capability: Not all detox centers provide the same level of treatment during detox. You will want to make sure that your detox facility can give you the care you require.
  • Post-detox care: Detox only helps if you can maintain your sobriety afterward. Finding a facility with good follow-up care is essential for effective recovery.
  • Cost: Paying for detox is an important consideration. You will want to check with your insurance provider as well as the detox facility to learn more about potential costs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction, The Recovery Village Columbus can help. We provide comprehensive alcohol addiction care that includes medical detox, rehab and other follow-up services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you start your journey to lasting recovery.

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.