Alcohol Detox At Home: Pros and Cons

Last Updated: December 10, 2019

Alcohol abuse or addiction can be manifested in many ways and has devastating effects on the individual’s physical and mental health, relationships, social life, and work. It is a legal substance that lowers anxiety and inhibitions. Furthermore, everyone whose life is negatively affected by this substance on a regular basis is considered to have a problem with alcohol use.

What is Alcohol Self-Detox, also called Alcohol Detox At Home?

Simply put, self-detox from alcohol is an approach to giving up drinking that involves either stopping alcohol use “cold turkey” or tapering use off gradually, with minimal to no outside help.
Here’s how the process typically works: the person sets a “quit date,” and then either stops drinking instantly or gradually reduces their intake over time. People attempting alcohol detox at home try to avoid the triggers that force them to grab a drink, so they often keep themselves busy in their favorite activities to keep the cravings at bay, use vitamin supplements, start doing exercise, and eat a healthier diet, all to hopefully facilitate a successful detox from alcohol at home.

While some of the people who use this approach to stopping drinking talk to their doctors to assess how to detox from alcohol at home safely and whether self-detox is a viable option for them or not, most do not. So in far too many cases, the only outside help they get is from friends and family.
This article is for them. At AddictionResource, we feel that medically-supervised alcohol recovery programs are much less risky, and have FAR greater chances of succeeding. But because we know that many alcoholics won’t ever take the step of talking to a professional, and will instead try to “do it themselves,” in this article we provide a kind of short “Alcohol Detox At Home Guide” to help them do it safely.

How Successful Is At-Home Alcohol Self-Detox?

In addition, if the person is heavy into alcohol addiction, and drinking because they have severe symptoms of withdrawal when they don’t, they should heed this warning:


Detoxing from alcohol can be a painful process, and it is more dangerous for heavy drinkers, those who consume alcohol to avoid symptoms of withdrawal.

How To Detox From Alcohol At Home – First Steps

Pouring alcohol into the sink in the kitchenIf one has read the cautionary warning in the preceding section and still wish to pursue self-detox from alcohol, here are a number of preliminary steps one should undertake to make sure the process is safe, and to increase its chances of success:

  • Remove ALL alcoholic beverages from home – this is obvious, but a crucial step.
  • Clear the schedule – the time required for complete detoxification could take weeks. Make sure nothing stands in a way.
  • Get support – make arrangements with family members or friends who will make sure a detoxing person is OK, and who will be there if the individual needs anything.
  • Focus on hydration – make sure a detoxing individual drinks enough fluid, because this will help to rehydrate the body and get rid of toxins.
  • Take vitamins – B-complex, Niacin, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc. Experiment to see which ones work best.

The Two Main Types of Self-Detox From Alcohol

  • Cold Turkey – fast, abrupt, more painful way to stop alcohol consumption
  • Tapering Off – gradually stopping, using less and less alcohol

Alcohol detoxification can be done at home, under very limited circumstances.
Alcohol detox at home is usually safe for the binge-drinker who only parties on the weekend because their bodies have not developed the full-blown addiction. These drinkers may become seriously uncomfortable while attempting self-detox from alcohol, but most likely this discomfort will not move into the life-threatening category.

This is especially true of the “Tapering Off” approach to self-detox. It can be done safely IF there is someone else present monitoring the quantity of alcohol consumed, and IF the person is allowed to drink only a beverage with a lower alcohol content, like beer, and IF this consumption is doled out by the supervisor only. If the alcohol-dependent person is left to monitor himself or herself, in most cases the individual will increase consumption to avoid the pain of withdrawal.

The Cold Turkey Approach

Girl in despair covers her face with hands sitting on a white sofa“Cold Turkey” implies sudden secession of alcohol consumption. This method can be effective for some because it quickens the path to recovery. It is much harder than the second “Tapering Off” method, but it has proven to be the right choice for some.
It is important to understand, however, that withdrawal symptoms can be very severe. The body of an alcoholic is accustomed to large amounts of alcohol, which is why a sudden discontinuation of consumption can act as a shock to the body. The Cold Turkey method can cause the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Heart rate increase
  • Hallucinations (audio-visual-tactile)
  • Fever
  • Seizures

The Tapering Off Approach

Tapering off is a method of alcohol detoxification that consists of slowly reducing one’s amount of daily alcohol intake. It is a less severe approach with regard to unwanted side effects such as stomach pains, nausea, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Many people choose beer as a tapering off tool, so if a person is a beer lover, this could work in their favor. If they opt for this detox method, make sure to limit a daily alcohol intake consistently and not fluctuate back and forth.
Overall, alcohol home detox is neither the most effective nor the safest method of quitting alcohol addiction, but in some cases, it is an inexpensive and efficient one. Having someone around to make sure a detoxing individual stable is always a good idea, so if one chooses to undergo self-detox from alcohol, they should remind their best friend, family, or even a doctor to check on them regularly, just in case. This is essential if a person wants to practice safe alcohol detox at home.

Risks of Alcohol Detox At Home

The risks of alcohol detoxification at home far outweigh the benefits for a number of reasons. First, detoxing at home is rarely successful. Many individuals quit the process and resume drinking as usual within the first 24 hours, just from the difficulty of managing the symptoms. Part of the issue is that the alcoholic does not have the support at home that he or she would have at a treatment center. There is a need for counseling, friends, helpful mentors, and group support that is rarely present in the home situation, and certainly not present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The alcoholic needs to be away from the trigger situations that are cues to drinking, like people, places, and bottles. The drinker may also need medical attention, because of the life-threatening physical and psychological symptoms that can happen during detox.
Remember, it is NOT recommended that heavy drinkers perform detox on their own, without professional guidance.

Despite these risks, a significant number of people choose self-detox methods, which can be carried out at home. But it is important to remember that self-detox is performed without any professional help, which means dealing with withdrawal symptoms alone, or with minimal outside help

Side Effects Of Detoxing From Alcohol At Home

Just as a reminder why the answer to the question “How to safely detox from alcohol at home” has to be “One can’t always be sure it will be safe,” Common side effects of self-detox include:

  • Pacing, restlessness, and irritability.
  • Agitation
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps, body pain, and tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea and other bowel crises
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar level
  • Headaches, dizziness, and confusion
  • Hot and cold flashes changes of body temperature

Physical Symptoms

Alcoholic hold in hand empty bottle at doctor reception office closeup
In many cases, it is the serious and disabling physical symptoms of detox that change the drinker’s mind about continuing with the process. These symptoms are often severe and should ideally be monitored by medical staff. Some of the physical problems include:

  • The need to move around, restlessness and irritability
  • Feeling as if the skin is crawling and being agitated
  • Blood pressure can increase to very high levels
  • Aches and shakes, and feeling as if “every muscle hurts” as alcohol is flushed out of the system
  • Pulse rate increases with the stress of the withdrawal
  • The digestive system moves into crisis; diarrhea is common
  • The blood sugar drops, because alcohol is a form of sugar in the body
  • The individual may have symptoms of hypoglycemia
  • Headaches, dizziness, and confusion
  • Tiredness, temperature changes in the body, hot and cold flashes
  • Shaking and cramping muscles

Psychological Symptoms

There can be serious psychological symptoms as well, including:

  • Generalized anxiety – feeling like a hammer is hanging over the head and bad things are going to happen
  • Hallucinations
  • Intense cravings to get relief
  • Feeling like the body is coming apart.
  • Mood swings – from depressed to hopeless to suicidal
  • Paranoia often accompanies the hallucinations and can escalate into defensive actions

Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens (the DTs) are the most dangerous withdrawal symptom for alcoholics, with the likelihood of them occurring to 1 in 10 individuals in withdrawal. The death rate from serious cases of DTs can be as high as 35%.

The symptoms of delirium tremens can occur within 72 hours of alcohol withdrawal and can appear with no warning. DTs can happen at any time during the withdrawal period but are more likely to present during the first ten days.
Signs of delirium tremens during self-detox include:

  • Grand mal seizures characterized by loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions
  • Compromised heart functions including high blood pressure, suppressed breathing, and low oxygen levels
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety and agitation

DTs need medical intervention and monitoring because they have many dangerous attributes, such as:

  • Grand mal seizures, during which a person can thrash about, swallow their tongue or bite it off, lose consciousness, or become physically hyper-strong.
  • Heart functions can be compromised as pulse rate and blood pressure rises, and breathing may be suppressed, which causes the oxygen supply to the heart to decrease. The possibility of stroke or heart attack is increased.
  • The alcoholic experiencing DTs may have hallucinations such as bugs crawling on their skin or spiders in the room. They may claw at their faces and rip at their skin. The individual can also do permanent damage to their eyes, believing that their eyes have become damaged because of the hallucinations.
  • The alcoholic can become paranoid and attack someone because they believe they are being hunted or threatened.
  • The alcoholic will be confused by the sugar withdrawal, which can result in an impaired judgment in critical situations.
  • The individual may be anxious and agitated, not able to cope with social situations.

Reasons People Take the Risk Of Continuing To Drink

The number one reason that people with alcohol abuse problems continue to drink is that they believe they “have it under control.” This is a dangerous thought because these individuals are likely to die from alcohol poisoning, like Amy Winehouse. The following are the most cited reasons that someone continues with their addictive behavior:

  • Denial: They deny the problem, ignore their behavior, and withdraw from criticism and those that confront them with their addiction issues.
  • Lack of control at a treatment center: They want to control the issue themselves as they have already lost control of their bodies and relationships.
  • Fear of change in their lives: They fear the pain and discomfort of withdrawal and the process of rehabilitation. Any type of change moves them out of their “comfort zone.”
  • Fear of life: The individual knows that they don’t have the coping skills to have a normal life, so they choose a dysfunctional pattern. It may be bad but it is better than appearing inadequate.
  • Self-defeating attitude: Many people with an alcohol dependency believe they are past all help and hope. These people need mental health treatment and counseling for depression, simultaneous with addiction rehab
  • Stigma: Many people fear “what other people will think” if they go to rehab for help. They don’t realize that these “other people” they’re worried about already notice the addiction problem.
  • The desire to die: The addicted individual has lost the desire to live and is using alcohol to commit a form of “slow suicide.” This type of person will drink until they die unless they receive an unwanted intervention.
  • Cost: Many alcoholics will say that the cost is too prohibitive for them to seek professional help through a rehab center, but this is erroneous. Insurance will cover 30 days of rehab, Medicare will cover 30 days and if someone has no insurance at all, a judge can order rehab at no cost to the individual seeking help.

Page Sources

  1. Davis C. Home detox - supporting patients to overcome alcohol addiction. Aust Prescr. 2018 Dec;41(6):180-182.
  2. Tam CW, Knight A, Liaw ST. Alcohol screening and brief interventions in primary care - Evidence and a pragmatic practice-based approach. Aust Fam Physician 2016.

Published on: March 9th, 2018

Updated on: December 10th, 2019

About Author

Juliette Siegfried, MPH

Juliette has been working in the health communications field since 1991, when she began working at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Her initial campaigns focused on smoking cessation and cancer prevention. Juliette later moved to the corporate side of health communications, including working at Kaiser Permanente, where she designed interactive computer-based training for health education.


Leave a comment

  • jeffrey auld
    i’m trying at home detox now.
    • Shawn
      How do you detox at home?
    • Maureen Elizabeth Base-Smith
      Jeffrey, how did it go? I wish you well
    • Pat
      How are you doing I want to try it
    • Pat
      Did you quit cold turkey or you giving yourself a small amount a day
      • Doreen
        How are you doing? I wanted to start home detox, but reading all this scared me
  • GC
    One of the main reasons alcoholics continue to drink is the physical dependency that becomes overwhelming when they try to stop. It seems most of the reasons listed are purely psychologically based when one of the key reasons a person continues in there alcoholic behavior is because stopping is no longer a choice for them physically. Upon stopping, the alcoholic becomes violently ill and and easier option to acquiring medications through a doctor is to simply continue self-medicating with a drink.
  • anonymous
    my fear is that the meds prescribed by docs are just as addictive and dangerous – and combined with alchohol deadly!. Benzos are horrible to get off of. I had my own trouble getting off them due to anxiety I had a few years ago. Now my significant other is trying to detox and the recommended prescription is Ativan. What if he gets addicted to those instead, or worse, in addition to?? Am I going to talk him into getting treatment only to end up regretting it because of the addition of Ativan to the cocktail?
  • KLL
    I am so scared and worried right now because my husband is trying to detox at home. Two days ago, he was talking about suicide and wouldn’t go to the ER to be evaluated so I called the police and they “pink sheeted” him. He was evaluated in the ER and he contracted for safety and I had to take him home. The next day he had an appointment with his primary care doctor. My husband also has type 1 diabetes. The doctor prescribed an antidepressant for him. That’s when I spoke up and said he really has a daily drinking problem. The doctor said that the antidepressant wouldn’t be very effective if he continued to drink and that he recommended detox. My husband refused to detox in a hospital or facility and said he would do it at home. So, now he is quitting cold turkey, and I don’t know what will happen next. He went to work today. He said at lunch that he had a headache and his stomach was upset. I hope we can make it through this.
    • Krizzii
      My thoughts for you would be to learn all the signs of our symptoms and try to learn what and how to respond if he goes into tremors or at least keep phone numbers of doctors and paramedics to call if any situation should arise. Some symptoms can become life threatining. My prayers are with you. Stay strong and be kind.
  • Ca
    Hello, We just lost our brother today to acholism and he to was trying to detox. He was a hard worker and had a good heart. He went to a Christian group home in hopes of recovering. Sadly he did not make it. While at the home he started to vomit several times throughout the night. He didn’t sleep. The next day he feel down and didnt get back up. This was all with 48 hours. If you have symtoms headaches, throwing up, shakiness you should go to the hospital. My brother chose not to go to the hospital and unfortunately he did not make it but we will always love him and love him for trying to better himself. Please get medical help if you are detoxing just to be on the safe side. I wish my brother would have been in a hospital setting where they could have maybe saved him. I would not recommend the benzos either as those are also addictive but being supervised with medical equipment on hand is necessary. Dont give up, God bless you on your journey.
    • Rachel
      I am so scared. My fiance is getting ready to do the same thing and I want him to go to a medical facility but he refuses. Did your brother just decide to quit cold turkey or was he tapering off? I am so sorry about the loss of your brother. Im now even more terrified than I was before.
  • Jen
    How much alchohol does one has to drink for it to be unsafe to detox at home? Ans when do you know there is risk for seizures?
  • Bobby
    My on and off significant other is going to die soon from alcohol. He has been drinking since he was 14. He is 42. It has escalated to a bottle of vodka a day and 15 or more seltzers. He has been in jail 3 times in the last month. Domestic violence, Assault and then drunk in public. He does not remember ever being incarcerated. he calls me and I bail him out. After the worst drinking binge over the holiday (it was ugly). I asked him to leave . He was temporarily staying with me because he couldn’t go back to his house where he strangled his roommate. Yesterday he was frantically trying to get Dr.’s appointments to help him detox. Well of course his appointments are next week or the week after. I talked to him this morning while he was on a job and he was very agitated and then started crying and hung up. I don’t what to do, he wants help.
      My advice is run…
  • Margaret
    I’ve been through alcohol withdrawal so severe they let to the DTs. 5 times before I got sober. If anyone has any questions about the experience, feel free to message me. This article was one of the most objective and informative that I found during my struggle. My withdrawal was compounded by severe anorexia, and it is a blessing and a miracle that I am still alive. I am here to answer any questions I can. Be well!
    • Heather
      Hi Margaret My son is on his way to my house to detox / tapper off from his drinking. He is 34 and has been drinking 2-3 years heavily and regularly, nearly every night I believe. He does not have health insurance so rehab is not an option. I have all the vitamins and schedules I could find to help him.
      • Tom
        Do you have an update? I’m attempting this method as of this moment.
      • richard steffan
      • JC
        Can you send over the vitamins and the schedules? The above article is objective but does not help much. I do have Dr prescribed Ativan (yes aware of the dangers, I just pan on using it for help for a few days) and am 24 hours in so would rather continue with cold turkey then go back to tapering. And — my sobriety date would be my wife’s birthday which is nice — but only if it works and its not too painful (so far it is, even with Ativan….but less painful then the way I felt at the end of a day of drinking)
      • Jennifer
        Can I get you list of vitamins and schedule? My husband would like to try this from home too. How did you make out with your son?
    • Ki
      I have detoxed 3 times with a doctor. I was sober for a year and started back June of this year. Please give any advise you can. I won’t have insurance until January 1st but would like to quit sooner if possible. Thank you so much
    • Teila
      Margaret, My husband is really bad. He functions but barely. We are trying to taper off, he was at 30 (16 oz) beers in a 24 hour span. I have successfully reduced him down to 15 (16 oz). in a 24 hour period, we are now going to 9 (16 oz) The only problem is he wants more. When they are gone he keeps walking to the refrigerator looking for more. He drinks those 9, which was the first day today in 2 hours. Should I take him for a walk? Read to him? What? I’m so scared. This has been horrible we are like patient and caretaker. We are not even like a married couple. He hasn’t touched nor showed me anything remotely close to affection for 2 months. I’m afraid I’m losing him.
      • Kel
        Your situation is very similar to what I am and have been going through with my sons father for several years. He has detoxed at home several times as well in the Emergency Room where medication and assistance could be provided. They will not turn him away if he makes the decision to go. Detoxing at home is VERY. Difficult. I have personally done it myself and unless he has SERIOUS will power to quit he will more than likely give in Bedford the process completes.
      • Sam
        Margaret, The amounts you are talking about are huge. This is an extreme case, I don’t think you can succeed at home, you need to seek medical help ASAP. God bless.
      • Vikki
        You seam like ur doing it right. Honestly he wants more causr hes not drunk. You need to set a schedule for him. Like got to the gym, swim then lunch. Smoothie 4 snack and beer in between or after meals just to get by. Real key for me is get him addicted to good things. EXCERSIZE!
      • Rhonda
        My husband spent 21 after the second day he quit drinking and it was during the Covid so I could not go to the hospital there’s some days he drinks a handy a day of vodka I hate when he drinks and I’m scared to death and he tries to stop I will take any suggestions
    • Lina
      Hi Margareth, My Husband experiencing withdrawal for the last couple 10 days, I really don’t know what to do. Please help
    • Sheila
      Thank you. I have anxiety and itchy skin and agitation. Feel like my pulse is racing but it isn’t. 55 female heavy drinker. Excellent health otherwise. Trying to detox. Suggestions?
    • Marianne Francis
      My husband is in the hospital going through detox. When he goes home, should I throw away any alcohol lrft in the house? I expect him to demand more alcohol. What do I do?
    • Trina
      Hi Margaret would love to talk to you about this , my sister had a seizure last week from alcohol withdrawal and has anorexia habits for a long time , could use your experience as she drinking 2days after it happened again ?? She’s in total denial
    • Jason Weir
      Hi there. Its 3:30 am and going through some withdrawals from drinking beer and cocktails over the past day in a half. I’ve been drinking both water and Pedialyte all night but now feel my heat starting to race. I just drank a single beer to help subside and slowly detox. I went cold turkey once before and that was a horrible experience. I didn’t drink for nearly 2 months after that but slowly started drinking more and ,well shit, here I am… SMH…. I can quit anything without flat out without issues but I feel Decreasing alchohol intake is better and safer than cold turkey… Your thoughts and insight are appreciated. Thank You. Jason
    • Adriana
      Hi Margaret, I very much hope you are doing well. I’m reaching out to you because of my son. He went through DT an year ago, but started drinking again heavy end of Jan. Now we me and him are trying tapping off the alcohol since yesterday. Please if you can give me advice and I would love to read the article.
    • Kate
      Hi Margaret, I am trying to do this myself and am very discouraged, do you have any advice/encouragement from the other side?
    • Missy
      Hi Margaret, my boyfriend son is staying with us and is detoxing right now yesterday throwing up he did eat last night. Today and tonight throwing up voice real shaking sounds like when talking. He was able to keep mashed potatoes down so far. He has been drinking alot of water. Any suggestions. He was a straight vodka drinker. 29 yr old
    • AA
      My husband is in end stage alcoholism, and has had 3 seizures, been to the hospital now 7 times due to his drinking. He can drink 30 beers and you wouldn’t know it for years. In 2017 his body couldn’t handle it and started to reject the alcohol, which lead to immediate and serious withdrawal, DT’s and seizure. He had been battling with sobriety ever since, he wants to be well but the disease is so powerful, it is terrifying, He just last night went to the hospital to safely detox, less than 24 hours and they discharged him, but he is experiencing.severe tremors and vomiting. If I give him an ativan would it be ok? I don’t know why they let him out.
    • Donna
      I finished reading this highly informative and comprehensive article…continued scrolling down to absorb additional insights/nuggets of wisdom from the commenters….and noticed that your alcohol withdrawal was compounded by severe anorexia. This ‘hit home’ for me in a visceral way…and I hope that all is going much better for you now. Your mention of the DT’s during detox frighten me immensely for I am trying to do ‘Cold Turkey’ at home and know I feel quite anxious about it. Do you have any protocol for those with eating disorders wanting to stop drinking. Is it possible to do safely at home? I have dealt with this for the past 16 years…am 59 years old…and I ‘believe’ what happened…in a very gradual, pernicious way…Is that I unfortunately began ‘using’ alcohol as a way to ‘numb’ my inner dilemma/ambivalence regarding my marriage. Before my decidedly maladaptive ways of coping was restriction, exercise addiction and anorexia/bp type….and I sincerely believe the unfortunate ‘amping’ up of my wine intake was to hide from fear and emotions … I hope YOUR personal path is smooth and free of obstacles. I wish you only all the best things.
  • Sonya eve
    I’m so severely depressed due to alcoholism I’ve been involved with a man which supplies me alcohol to keep me numb that I couldn’t understand what’s going on around me,,, is very abusive and a mental emotional,,He total narcissus,, I have three cats I don’t know where to go!!! I’m scared to be around him because I can’t trust him at all ,,,,he wants all my property and things once he puts me in ER detox,,,,,, I don’t know what to do and what will happen to my cats I’m terrified I’m hurt so bad
  • NK
    I have self detoxed many times. I’ve been a binge drinker for a few years – when I binge its about a liter of vodka per day. I spent 60 days in treatment last year and it was great. I relapsed This past week it rose to about 1.5 liters of vodka. I’m currently on day 2 and this has been the worst I’ve ever experienced. Vomiting, body aches, throwing up blood. My advice is to stay hydrated with electrolytes, try to get some vitimans and especially B vitimans, you can talk to a doctor to prescribe anti anxiety meds and anti nausea pills too. I’ve gone to detox twice and it wasn’t a bad experience.. I would definitely be doing that today but we have family Christmas but I already told my father that if I haven’t improved that I’ll need to go. Hope this helps and good luck.
    • Phyllis
      Your family would be most happy with a sober person as a gift to them and what a gift to yourself ! That would be an awesome, amazing Christmas for all ! Trust me , my husband is a alcoholic and me and the kids would love nothing better than to have him sober . He is a wonderful husband , father , grandfather but beer changes his personality in the worst way .
  • Davis Mz
    All your replies are very helpfull, it might be us, our neighbor, family member,friends or even your husband or wife please give a helping hand. Most alcoholics live in denial and they take alcohol Inexcess to hide their true feelings as most of them would feel, unwanted, defeated or not loved. Let’s help them sober up and know their self worthy. I am on my route to do a detox at home and all these reply are amazingly going to assist me greatly. And I would love to help most of friends and family who are alcoholics to vist this page much love thanks!!!!!
    • LG
      Davis, I loved your letter and am wishing you the best. I hope you succeed in taking back control of your life and the choices you make. My 21 year old son is going to try to detox at home starting today, I will do what I can to help him. He was supposed to go to a detox facility but backed out when he found out the cost. Like you, he really wants to save himself. I am sending you and everyone who has kindly wrote these letters my compassion, strength, love, and optimism. I hope it helps
  • Debra
    My boyfriend has decided to detox at home and look for a job at the same time. He’s self monitoring his taper off which I know is a mistake. I’m taking him to my place in the country and hope that’ll help. Quiet, serene, off the beaten path in a dry county. He says he quit before in December. I met him in January and noticed he drank a lot of vodka, a liter every day or so. As a recovering alcoholic with 35 years of sobriety, I’m aware of the dangers of self detox for very heavy drinkers. I’d like to be prepared to support his efforts without contributing to his demise! Suggestions please!!!
  • Linda
    My boyfriend has been drinking since 15. He is now 61, severely diabetic and takes 8 – 10 Ativan in a day. He has had a stroke, heart attack, and cannot stop eating sweete. He is a binge drinker and drinks beer.. a lot in one setting. Severe withdrawals for next 3 days, anxiety off the chatts and itching all over when he is withdrawing. He is in denial and will not go to rehab for fear he will be tapered off the Ativan too quickly. He has taken this benzine for years. He is now trying to detox at home which is really awful. Every symptom you can think of. It is so sad to watch. Trying to talk to him gets nowhere. He cannot manage his blood sugar at this point. There are serious mental problems that we cannot explore as doctors say a mental assessment is a waste of time while drinking and taking Ativan. A rehab will not take him and allow the Ativan. This is a living hell watching the one you love destroy himself. He is very afraid and therefore trying to detox on his own. I beg him to go to medical detox but he says he will die if they take him off the Ativan too fast. Never ever take this drug as it takes years to recover from. It steals your life, and trying to come off feels like someone pushed you into hell. I pray for alcoholics because they want off this hamster wheel so much but the brain chemistry has been so changed they are happier when they are drunk… cravings so great, anxiety so intense, angry, depressed, paranoid, muscles hurt, just barely alive. We that love them die along with them each day. So so hard living in fear as we suffer along with them while alcohol whispers in their ear “ she is selfish” Pray for our family that we can get him into a medical detox with dual diagnosis. If anyone knows a seriously good rehab please share with me. Again, God have mercy on us. This Easter we know the Bible says “by his strips we are healed” and the finished wiork on the cross made a way back to God. My person believes God had forsaken him but it is not true.. the sick must do the work. It is easy for us that are blessed with good health to say,. The escape from addiction is so difficult. The hope is God will walk it with them as he said he would never leave or forsake us. This is our hope this Easter. Blessing to all here.
    • Meg
      I was addicted to benzos for 35 years as well as being an alcoholic. I wanted to get free from both. I went through a treatment program and it was absolute hell, but the medical care great and I was in a safe, therapeutic setting. I never, ever want to go through those withdrawals again. But because of the treatment center, I made it through to the other side. Now clean and sober, my life is better than it has ever been.
  • Jennifer
    Trying to detox on my own Been throwing up all day. This is horrible! Heavy drinker…. any tips
    • Tracy
      I detoxed in the hospital after a seizure and stage 4 cirrhosis diagnosis. When they weened me off the Librium I found gelatin, popsicles, electrolyte drinks ie Body Armor or Gatorade (just an example) Benadryl helped with the nausea & keep hydrated. I took magnesium and vitamin b as well. Calcium and vitamin d helped with muscle cramping. Once I felt like eating eggs and hot cereal were my savior. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but when it was over I felt stronger and more determined than ever.
    • Liz
      I would say taper down first to avoid a seizure. Like write down the time and amount you drank and do a little less per day. How u feeling now ?
  • ed
    Lots of water and b vitamins and switch to diluted drinks or beer for a week before trying to stop .My worst detox was in a well lit jail cell with a paper jump suit ,they gave me nothing to help withdraw,I didn’t eat for 4 days,and threw up constantly.I hope any who like to drink realize what can happen when your body depends on it to function.I am glad you made it through Margaret.
  • Elizabeth Baughman
    I’m am now trying to home detox, the doctor only give me 20 mg of Librium and I started yesterday. I supplemented with alcohol and have had three drinks today. I know stupid right. I just talked to her and told her it wasn’t enough and she increased it to 30 mg a day. I have to do this and no one knows I’ve been drinking again. My husband thinks I’m getting off sleeping pills and he’s about ready to leave me over that. I relapsed a month ago but withdrawing is awful. I didn’t drink anything on Sunday all day and Sunday night no sleep, horrible leg cramps, shaking and vitters. I’m very dehydrated and anemic so I’m taking vitamins and drinking lots of fluids. I need advice and help please.
    Two or three days after stopping, you may get a blood pressure and heart rate spike, like 195/120 an 180 pulse. You will need a blood pressure monitor, and be prepared to bring down the pressure with a benzo, sublingual nitroglycerine(for fast emergency BP lowering), a beta blocker(lower pulse rate), and isosorbide mononitrate (synergy of BP reduction), as well as other daily BP meds you take daily…to go cold turkey off of a 5-6 or more daily drink habit . 3 days after quitting is a prime danger time, and you can not lower BP crisis to a safe level without medication, or recognize it without a BP home monitor..
  • Gerald Strong
  • evans appadoo
    hi am evans from mauritius. am 38 years of age. i started drinking beer at the age of 18. now at this age am drinking beer morning itself when my wife going to work. why am drinking beer in the morning is to stop myself from shaking. i cant even brush my teeth well. so the only solution is to have 3 beer then only i feel normal. the problem now after beer in the morning am shy to talk to people as i stink. so i postpone some meeting telling to myself tomorrow will be another day. after the three beer the craze of having more mingle in yr head. so now its time for vodka. so the vodka will will be sufficient for me for the rest of the day. last week i was drunk am driving on a speed limit of 60km where i was doing 119. my car got crashed. its a real hell to be alcoholic. i forget things, even i forget which day we are today. i really want to stop. plzzz help!!!
    • Brian
      I had morning shaking aslo so I decreased the amount of alcohol in the evening and in the morning doing I shot you have to keep that promise to yourself and decrease to half a shot 1 week and the shaking was gone do this and try to quit completely or limit to a couple on weekends if that doesn’t work the o ly option is not drinking I am speaking from my experience I am supposed to be dead by alcohol poisoning b.a.c.was .5 look it up have quit all together I almost lost everything, I will pray for you
    • Jackie
      Evans, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t drink the vodka in the morning and the beer later in the day. That way, you could handle the withdrawal symptoms so that you can function and able to be with people without worrying about smelling of beer. Changing up your routine might be the first step in getting control of your life and stopping drinking altogether.
  • Brent
    I’ve been a heavy whiskey drinker for 10 years, every evening. Usually a little more that 1/2 liter. Do you think that’s long enough that I’m at high risk for seizures if I quit cold turkey? Thanks in advance.
  • Brent
    I’ve been drinking about 1/2 liter of whiskey ever night for 10 years. Do you think I’m at high risk of seizures if I quit cold turkey? My doctor said that usually doesn’t happen until someone’s been drinking for 20 or more. Anyone know. Thanks.
  • T L
    My husband is 9 days out of detox from hospital 13 days altogether sobriety blood pressure 213 over 137 been drinking everyday since 18 He is 48 this year pay close attention to your blood pressure and blood sugar if your diabetic
  • Lauren
    Day 10 of cold turkey self-detox for me (48 yr, F), a binge drinker, nonsmoker, regular weight, no major health issues. If you are over 55, and/ or a smoker, diabetic, have heart issues or other major health problems GO TO A HOSPITAL TO DETOX. First 7 days were hell…anxiety, restlessness, irritability, mood swings, exhaustion, sweating., shaking, nausea, body aches, headaches. Noticed my BP increased around day 3 until day 7. Took daily magnesium (blood pressure), iron and 10 mg prozac (anxiety, depression). Drank water and Gatorade nonstop. Ate mild, bland foods such as rice, bananas and low sugar oatmeal. Allowed myself minimal sugar intake every other day (half a candy bar or half a soda). Everyday after work I gave myself permission to leave the dishes, laundry, yard work so I could rest quietly either on the couch or in bed. Slept in short stretches…sometimes waking every 2 hours…but would not get up out of bed…would rest quietly until fell asleep again. When the urges and misery tempted me to drink I called one close friend to talk me down and this person checked on me in the evening around the time I would normally start drinking. Now, I am feeling the benefits! Energy is returning, sleeping soundly and waking up without feeling sick, concentrating more, appetite for healthier foods returning, moods leveling out more…now the really hard work begins. STAYING SOBER…time for AA and a sponsor to learn coping tools and how to live without alcohol. We alcoholics don’t like discomfort…hence the numbing escape of alcohol. Still a long road ahead as it can take up to over a year before the nervous system and brain reset and recover for the most part. Good days and bad days…life on life’s terms without self- medicating. Please don’t give up. The physical misery of withdrawal ends and there is hope for a better life for all of us and our loved ones.
  • Determined-wife
    My husband tried detoxing at home from a 19 year drug addiction to pain medicine. He is a schizophrenic and began having severe hallucinations. I ended up having to ‘Baker Act’ him which means force him into a mental health facility. They are quiet aware of his addiction and his very recent overdose! That was the scariest thing I’ve ever witnessed! I was alone in the house with him and he died on me! Several times! When I called 9-1-1, they informed me that I needed to perform CPR on him, of which I do have training for, so I did. It’s the only thing that kept his heart going until they arrived and treated him with narcan. I almost lost my husband that night and I will not take that risk again. A Baker Act only lasts 72 hours. I will continue to fight for my husbands life. If I have to, I will ‘Marchman Act’ him which will mean he will be forced, by a judge, to go into a treatment program for his addiction. I pray each and every one of you find a safe way to clean your bodies out and get rid of your dragon. I pray you have a good support system to help you throughout your process of recovery but I do recommend a treatment facility because it is dangerous to withdrawal at home and the addiction is much deeper than the physical aspect. If you don’t get the proper guidance and counseling, you could end up right back where you started. No one wants to go through withdrawals and beat it and then end up right back into addiction! But, unfortunately, it happens quiet often. Prayers for you all!
  • Tami Oyler
    Please help. My husband is 39 and has been drinking for about 5 years non stop. He isn’t the worst alcoholic but he can’t do 2-4 hours without it. Before we go to church he has to drink, after church. Mid day and at night. He wakes up in middle night and drinks usually 24oz of beer that is 8% alcohol. He tells me that he can’t quit cause he will die so he is tapering off. I can’t handle much more of this. We have been married 17 1/2 years and I don’t know how to handle this and be a good mother and wife. He refuses to go to rehab and says that he can do it on his own. Only problem is he can’t and we fight so much. He blames me for his alcoholism and says that everyone he opens a can it’s cause I just don’t support him. Can you please help me ? I don’t know what to do to help him
  • Parash
    I drank 1 lite of vodka for 21 days straight, didn’t eat much , previously detoxed in hospital three times it’s free in uk, but I was too embarrassed to go back to hospital I saw the way the did the detox , and my doctor said it’s not difficult, I started to taper of 3 days ago definitely need some cheap pills for the nausea , 3 litres of water a day – make u eat something salty each day to avoid , light small meals and magnesium, calcium supplement, COD liver oil , a high strength multi vitamin b complex supplement pill take 3 of them with 3 x thiamine supplement pill , a general all round multivitamin, definitely one of those drinks sports drink that replenishes electyrolytes ( same things I got at hospital)and the withdrawal symptoms usually come every 3-6 hours depending on the symptoms I have a beer and a double vodka the symptoms go away repeat the process next time symptoms arrive u really only drink enough to let the symptoms subside and then within about a week your tapered of because You’ve cut back because as the week goes on when the symptoms start to come at longer intervals your drinks less frequently and your fine after about a week to 10 day and no risk of seizures because your body has got lower levels of alcohol and your brain has adjusted and then u just quit completely . I actually don’t need Librium when tapering of , never take it with when tapering of alcohol
    • Jen
      Thank you for sharing! Hope you are doing well!
  • Gwendoline
    On day 4 of a home detox after being a heavy drinker for 3 years and totally out of control for nearly a year. I made sure to stock up on sufficient liquids, especially sports drinks with electrolytes added, and food that would keep until I was able to face eating again (not my first experience of detox) I had waited to attempt it at home until my summer vacation was due from work so I could clear my schedule and not have to face the World for a couple of weeks. The first 3 days have definitely been the worst…shakes, sweating, nausea and diarrhoea, extream anxiety and paranoia. I’ve barely moved from the sofa except to use the bathroom and get fluids. Today is still pretty rough, but had a shower and managed to eat a few crackers which I’ve managed to stomach. The itchiness and dry mouth have begun to ease and my temperature seems to have stabilised. I have kept my focus despite the horrible syptoms by looking back at photos and videos of my life before alcohol became such a negative force in my life and remindin2myself that the withdrawal cannot possibly be worse then the life I have been living as an alcoholic. I’m sending everyone who is going through this journey all the hope and encouragement possible. Hopefully we will be sober, stable and happy one day x
  • Bette Dodd
    My husband is a 40 year wild turkey drinker, hides and lies snd becomes verbally abusive to me. I have als and must have full time care. I have begged him to go to a detox program but because a dr told jim don’t stop cold turkey he assumes he can drink all he wants
  • Jen
    Detoxing at home means you should let yourself go through the uncomfortable process to an extent, but taper off when the withdrawal symptoms start to get more extreme. It is really, really hard. If you start getting super shaky, drink a beer. Try to ride through the anxiety and mild symptoms. Feeling mildly bad is good, because it means your body is going through mild withdrawal and tapering off. For me, the anxiety was one of the worst parts, that tempted me to drink more than necessary to taper off. And that is essential. You can’t do it and drink more than necessary to stave off the bad withdrawal. It won’t work for for you do that, you will just continue your body’s addiction. But you obviously have to be careful, and not let the withdrawal get too bad. Check your heart rate. Mine felt like it was racing, but it was within a normal rate. This might sound foo foo, but exercise made a huge difference to me. I don’t know if the endorphins from a hike helped my body adjust? I had emergency alcohol with me, but didn’t drink it and pushed myself pretty hard, and for some reason it seemed to make things easier over the space of a few days. It is possible, but it takes grace, will power and please go to the doctor if it gets too bad. Vitamin b and also milk thistle seemed to help me, though I don’t know for certain. Drink lots of water.
  • Joan Tippetts
    Medicare did not pay for detox in my case. I had to pay the full amount from my savings.
  • Tammy
    Trying to help a friends sister while she is out of town. Was drinking one to two bottles of white wine daily if not more. Has had multiple injuries, falls. Fracture ribs, clavicle etc. ER refuses admission no medical reason, she had traumati brain injury from alcohol 2015. Her husband and I are rotating supervision. I have provided 6 oz each day. We are on day 2;;; was this too severe of decrease. How do I determine amount?
  • Cathy Emberson
    Very helpful information. Gave me a lot of insight into the problem. I’m going to try it at home while being very careful. Luckily I have the support of my family.
  • Brittany
    I am 33 and i drink budlight every day anywhere from 8 16oz to 12 normal cans a day and i barely eat and ill smoke a pack of cigs doing that. Ive bern drinking like this on a daily for maybe a year but would binge drink on weekends. I am trying to detox at home by myself and 2 children. I am at 48 hours with nothing as today went on i have the nausea and headache. But thats it besides the sweating like crazy. You think ill be ok? I would do hospital but I can’t leave my kids.
  • Steve
    I read that heavy drinking is defined as 15 or more drinks per week. I’ve been doing that for over 40 years. My annual blood test that is done along with my annual physical show ALT of 18, AST of 21, Albumin of 4.1 and Bilirubin of 0.6. And my GP (family doc) is a weekly member of our golf 4some. And he has been in our golf group around 25 years, so he knows my drinking habits. I’m 6′ tall, 162 lbs, workout daily and eat a healthy diet. And this year he said do you think you could reduce your drinking. And of course I asked how bad are my test results? He said the standard tests were average at my age (60) but things can change more rapidly as I age and I’m risking my future health. So I asked him if I want a good buzz should I follow Willie Nelson’s example? He laughed and said I can’t recommend it since you don’t have any medical need. So, I started cutting back and felt anxious, felt deprived and a bit angry. For me the last 2 symptoms are more my alpha ego accepting that aging is starting to force changes in my life. I’m about 2 months into 2 glasses of wine per evening, or 2 beers. And even this takes me to the edge of the definition of heavy drinking. The reason I found myself in this forum about self detox is my life mate (mid 50’s) joined my change in drinking habits as an act of solidarity. Her experience cutting back to 8 drinks per week was considerably more difficult. So I’ve opted to limit my weekly consumption to her max of 8 drinks per week. We’ve learned that as far as wine goes white can be stored for a few days without a noticable change in taste. If we store a red over night I’ll pour it out and pull a new cork. Reds don’t store worth a damn. This addictive and deadly drink has been turned into an art. Take a walk thru a large liquor store and admire the art on the labels, the distinctive shapes of the bottles and even the work that goes into the boxes that some products are packaged in. And 17% of men and 8% of women will struggle with alcoholism. I’m surprised at the desperation I see in some of these posts. As a business owner I have fired people for drinking on the job, failing to make it to work more Monday’s than not, being consistently late, failing to pay back pay advances on schedule…etc. And I knew in most cases alcohol was involved. The reality is a business can’t survive if 17%/8% of the work force can’t function properly. And I also researched and found that near 40% of hospital beds are occupied by citizens with alcohol related illness. That takes 3rd place right behind smoking which trails obesity. The main road I take to work is just under 2 miles from the freeway and I counted 14 locations that sell alcohol in that short drive to the freeway ( yes, I included restaurants). In a country that champions free will we owe it to the youth to educate them early so their free will choice is an educated one. And we need quality health and mental care for those with this disease. The fact that there are forums for self detox speaks to the failure of our society to help people fight a deadly disease. We don’t hesitate to gather together for cancer cures. Let’s see an organization for alcoholism that is as well known as the Komen organization or even Planned Parenthood. And until this forum caught my interest I’d never even heard of the NIAAA who’s is the largest fund raiser for treating alcoholism. The approach of self treatment has poor results and anyone who has recognized their problem deserves better options than forums like this. We are talking about the 3rd most common disease in our country. If it affects as many of 17% of men and 8% of women that’s 25% of citizens. And it impacts their families, employeers, friends and I have to mention the people they injure or kill and those innocent families. Forums of this type aren’t the solution and neither is prohabition, we all know how that turned out. The best result will start with education and accessible care for those with the disease.
  • Thia Van Rens
    Lauren, you have done an immense job of detoxing yourself. I’m helping my husband as I write this. As an RN I have seen how hard this is for someone to commit to sobriety. God love you girl. Keep yourself on course and stay off that lonely road. With you in spirit.
  • Yazzie
    Wow! I am in tears reading all the comments. As of right now I am starting my home-detox journey. 36 yo mother to the most beautiful, well behaved 10 month old Baby Girl. My biggest fear is losing her. My Mother is on her way over to pick her up so I can detox.Which she doesn’t know about, nobody knows. I start after she goes to bed & I stay up all night drinking alone. Me & her father are going through a bad break up. I isolate, deeply ashamed and embarassed. Emotionally, phusically drained. I don’t eat, I don’t sleep. Its gonna be really hard because I don’t have any support from anybody. Just finished my last drink and I can already feel myself getting sick. It’s gonna be extremely hard & I’m afraid. I hate being alone. Thx for the comments, it gave me more strength and hope I didn’t have before I read them. God bless & Happy Holidays.
  • Val
    I have read this article and my husband is going to help me self detox, I am a alcoholic and had many years sober, and have been drinking vodka nonstop for about 2 weeks. I see tapering down with beer, van you give us any thoughts how far apart and how much beer. Thank you Val Smith
  • Jackie
    There are some familiar stories in the preceeding comments. I am 60, widowed, living alone in my own home, and drinking more than 25 drinks a day. I wake up every morning in withdrawal and need to have 3 drinks to stop the dry heaves and I’ve lived like this for years. I must have a surgical procedure in 2 weeks and the instructions are no alcohol for 24 hrs before and no liquids at all after midnight. I know I will be in serious withdrawal by the time I get to the hospital, so I’m trying to taper down between now and then but I keep vomitting. Even when I try to stop the shaking with a few drinks, I throw them up. For 3 days now I haven’t eaten more than a few crackers. I guess I should get some drinks with electrolytes and see if that will help. Wish me luck.
    • Jackie
      Well, I did it and I survived; at times, I wasn’t sure I would. The vomitting stopped by the fifth day and I was able to drink some clear chicken broth and eat some jello. I never did get to the store for electrolytes and for the next couple of days I limited myself to red wine – it was the only alcohol left in the house. The wine was in a box, so I filled a carafe on the first day and limited myself that way. I drank the carafe over the course of the day by diluting it half and half with water and on the next day I gave myself half that amount. Day 8, I nursed one diluted glass all afternoon and I think I had another in the evening. After one more day of nursing small amounts, I had my first booze-free day in years. There is a small amount left in the wine box, probably not more than 1 glass, so I stuck it in a cupboard to keep it out of sight. I don’t crave it just yet, but knowing it’s there reduces my anxiety. I know that if I really start obsessing about having a drink, I won’t have to buy a bottle or go to the bar. As for physical symptoms, after the vomitting came 3 days of diarrhea for which I eventually took imodium. That worked. I gradually added solid food starting with plain rice one day, some toast the next, then some ichiban noodles and worked my way up to eating regular meals. So it’s day 10 booze-free and I feel great. My hands still shake a bit but not enough to notice. The take-away is that detoxing at home by tapering is possible, though I wouldn’t recommend doing it alone. I should have had someone to at least check on me. If you’re going to try it, you need to be very strong-willed to exercise the self-control to abide by the reduction limits that you establish.
  • Marcie Zambryski
    My son is trying to taper off after a 21 day binge! He thought his alcoholic dad was dead. Blamed himself and now on doesn’t seem to be able to get it together. We started watering down the vodka. He doesn’t even notice. I need some kind of schedule to try. He has a beautiful wife and two little girls. Laid off because of COVID19. He is off his usually schedule he lives by. The gym every morning, home shower and off to work. He won’t go to the hospital for help. Says he can do this himself. What more can we do?
  • Jean
    My daughter has been binge drinking every day for the past couple of months (that we are aware of) and she drank too much one night and was afraid that she would die from alcohol poisoning (this is when we became aware that she was drinking). She asked us not to take her to the ER because she is in the process of working towards her Masters Degree in Nursing and thought that if she had that on her record it would work against her in the future, which we agreed with, so we watched her closely, monitoring her blood pressure, pulse and temperature which fluctuated a bit but for the most part she was OK. Here is where I am heading with this comment, she, and we (her father and I), have agreed to detox her at home. We are tapering off using beer because she dislikes the taste, however, I thought that it was going well (I had all of the beer locked up in a safe that only I know the combination of) then just a little bit ago, about 3am, I caught her trying to break into the safe. We are on day 3 of the withdrawal and I thought that we should have been doing better than we are. So, I have a question, for a 19 yo female, 122lbs, when should we start seeing a better outcome? Thanks to all for your response.