Alcohol Detox at Home: How to Detox from Alcohol?

Last Updated: May 22, 2024

David Levin Reviewed by David Levin
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The Alcohol-Related Disease Impact application calculates that yearly, there are over 178,000 fatalities linked to excessive drinking, making alcohol one of the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S.

Worryingly, less than 10% of individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the past year have sought alcohol treatment. This statistic is especially concerning because quitting alcohol cold turkey, particularly after heavy use, can be dangerous and lead to severe withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification provides a safe and supportive environment to manage these symptoms. This article explores alcohol detox at home along with its risks for you to make an informed decision about the best course of action.

Medical Detox vs. at Home Detox

If you are one of the 10% deciding to overcome alcohol dependence, there are a few considerations to take into account.

The alcohol withdrawal process, known as detoxification or detox, can be physically and mentally demanding. Patients may experience palpitations, anxiety, tremors, and mood changes. Depending on the severity and the possibility of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, there are two detox approaches: medical detox and at home, each with its own set of risks.

Medical Detox

This detox process is considered an inpatient program with 24/7 supervision by healthcare professionals in a hospital, clinic, or specialized detox center. It is considered safer, especially for individuals with severe addiction or those at risk for complications of alcohol withdrawal symptoms (i.e., delirium tremens or seizures).

Many medical detox programs offer psychological support or immediate transition into therapy and rehabilitation programs. Medical detox can be expensive, though some insurance plans may cover it.

At Home Detox Alcohol

Alcohol detox at home, also known as an outpatient program, allows remaining in the comfort of home while undergoing the detoxification process. Although home detox doesn’t involve hospitalization, check-ins with a healthcare provider will be scheduled.

This healthcare professional will offer guidance on monitoring symptoms and safely administering medication if needed. Inpatient detox remains the safest route, particularly for those with a severe alcohol use disorder. Yet, a supervised detox at home can be a viable and safe alternative for some individuals.

45% of at-home detox patients show significant improvements after 60 days of treatment. Detoxing alcohol at home is generally cheaper than medical detox.

Is It Safe To Detox From Alcohol At Home?

Detoxing from alcohol at home is considered generally safe and clinically effective for most people suffering from alcohol use disorder. However, it is important to note that not everyone qualifies for this outpatient detox program.

Let’s review if you or someone you know qualifies for detoxing alcohol from home:

Who Is A Good Candidate for Home Detox for Alcohol?

A good candidate for alcohol detox at home typically includes individuals who meet specific criteria, ensuring that the process is as safe and effective as possible. These criteria often include:

Mild to Moderate Alcohol Dependence

Individuals with a mild or moderate stage of dependence on alcohol without a history of severe withdrawal symptoms or prior withdrawal process.

Those who have undergone withdrawal symptoms before, especially severe ones or multiple episodes of withdrawal, are more likely to develop delirium tremens, a severe and potentially life-threatening complication of alcohol withdrawal.

Good Physical Health

Excessive alcohol use is linked to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, and several types of cancer.

A suitable candidate is in overall good health without underlying severe conditions, especially those that could complicate withdrawal, such as cardiovascular diseases.

Stable Home Environment

A supportive and stable home setting capable of offering constant monitoring, emotional support, and help throughout the detox journey. They should be aware of potential dangers, have access to emergency medical assistance, and plan to intervene if necessary.

Clear Plan for Continuing Treatment

A successful recovery journey requires ongoing support, including regular sessions with a therapist to address underlying issues, develop coping mechanisms, and connect with support groups for encouragement and accountability. Research affirms that constant psychosocial support is essential for long-term recovery.

Risks of Alcohol Detox at Home

Detoxing from alcohol at home carries specific risks, especially without professional 24/7 medical supervision. Here are the key concerns:

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures or delirium tremens can suddenly arise.
  • No quick access to emergency medical services if symptoms rapidly escalate.
  • Cravings and triggers are readily available at home, making relapse more likely.
  • Higher chance of returning to alcohol use without a structured environment.
  • Mismanagement of withdrawal medications without professional guidance.
  • Emotional and mental challenges of withdrawal can be difficult to manage.
  • Withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

The duration of alcohol detox can vary based on several factors, including the severity of alcohol dependence, individual health status, and the presence of any co-occurring mental health conditions.

On average, research suggests patients usually complete home detoxification within 9 days. A general at-home detox from alcohol timeline is as follows:

Day Stage Symptoms Care
Day 1 (0-24 hours) Initial Withdrawal Anxiety, insomnia, nausea, abdominal pain, tremors, sweating Stay hydrated

Eat small meals

Rest

Monitor symptoms
Day 2-3 (24-72 hours) Peak Withdrawal Increased heart rate, high blood pressure, fever, confusion, irritability, severe tremors Hydration and balanced nutrition

OTC medications for headaches and nausea (consult healthcare provider)

Avoid stressors
Day 4-7 (72 hours to 1 week) Subside Decreasing intensity of symptoms, possible irritability, fatigue, mild depression Maintain hydration and nutrition

Engage in relaxing activities

Seek therapy or support groups
Days 8-14 (Week 2) Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) Ongoing anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbances Keep a routine

Stay connected with support networks

Follow up with healthcare providers
Days 15-30 (Week 3-4) Recovery Phase Resolution of most acute symptoms, some lingering mild symptoms possible (i.e., mild anxiety) Continue with healthy lifestyle practices

Ongoing therapy and support groups

Maintain follow-up care

How to Detox From Alcohol At Home?

If you still want to detox for alcohol at home after reading and accepting the challenging journey ahead, here are several preliminary steps to make sure the process is safe and to increase your chances of success:

  • Consult a Healthcare Professional

Alcohol detox at home must be done under strict medical supervision. Otherwise, it can represent a dangerous situation for the patient.

To start alcohol detoxing, contact a healthcare provider who will evaluate your medical history, current health, and dependence severity to ensure you are a good candidate. Follow their recommendations and obtain any necessary prescriptions or over-the-counter medications to manage withdrawal symptoms.

  • Prepare Your Environment

Remove all alcohol from your home to avoid temptation, and set up a quiet, comfortable area where you can rest and recover. Ensure you have plenty of water, healthy foods, and medications like pain relievers and anti-nausea drugs.

  • Secure Support

Have a friend or family member stay with you or check in regularly to monitor your condition and provide support. Know when to seek medical help and have emergency contacts readily available.

  • Plan and Manage Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment at Home for Symptoms

A withdrawal plan considers whether it is best to go “cold turkey” or taper your alcohol intake.

Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, including anxiety, shaking, nausea, and possibly seizures. Keep a log of your symptoms and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen significantly.

  • Follow Up Care

Engage in therapy or counseling to address underlying issues related to alcohol dependence. Join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to connect with others in recovery and build a support network.

How to Safely Detox From Alcohol At Home − Bottom Line

The best way to detox from alcohol is to understand that this is just the first step towards full recovery.

While alcohol detox at home has numerous benefits for patients, including cost-effectiveness and comfort, it cannot completely substitute in-patient detoxification. In-patient detox remains crucial for severe cases. Remember, this approach isn’t for everyone, especially heavy drinkers.

Avoid believing in miracle alcohol detox drinks. Consulting a doctor is the only way to assess your situation and determine if at-home detox is safe and effective for you.

People Also Ask

How to detox your body from alcohol?

Consult a healthcare provider for guidance. Gradually reduce alcohol intake, stay hydrated, eat nutritious foods, rest and consider vitamins B1 and magnesium. Seek medical detox for severe dependence.

How to detox at home?

Consult a healthcare professional first. Ensure a supportive home environment, stay hydrated, maintain a healthy diet, gradually reduce use and have an emergency plan.

How long is detox from alcohol?

Alcohol detox typically lasts 5-10 days, but symptoms may begin within a few hours after the last drink. Severity and duration can vary based on individual factors and history of use.

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Page Sources

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Retrieved on May 22, 2024.

Published on: March 9th, 2018

Updated on: May 22nd, 2024

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