When you are dependent on alcohol, you reach a breaking point. You’re sick of having nightmares, waking up groggy, and not remembering what occurred the night before. You drink heavily and you’re sick of always letting down your friends and family. You wish to halt. You want to stop drinking. The road to healing begins with that insight. But how do you go about detoxing from alcohol?
Alcoholism may have an impact on both the person who struggles with alcohol use disorder and their loved ones. It could appear like a detox is the sole option for treating alcoholism. However, it’s crucial to remember that alcohol detox, especially if done at home, can be dangerous. Detox at a specialized treatment facility staffed by medical professionals is the most commonly recommended way to begin treating alcohol addiction and dependency.
For individuals who only experience mild withdrawal symptoms, there are safe at-home alcohol detoxification techniques after stopping drinking.
However, consider medically assisted detox if you feel tremors, shaking, or disorientation when you start reducing your alcohol intake. If you have withdrawal symptoms when you quit drinking, you should speak with a doctor about the safest detox method.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms you might get when you start reducing alcohol consumption can range from moderate to life-threatening. In addition, the intensity and duration of your alcohol use disorder (AUD) will frequently affect the withdrawal symptoms you go through. For instance, people who have battled years of excessive drinking are more prone to severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures or delirium tremens (DTs).
Minor signs of alcohol withdrawal syndrome include:
More severe withdrawal effects from alcohol include:
- Extreme hallucinations
- Delirium tremens (in rare cases)
Delirium tremens are the most extreme side effect of alcohol withdrawal, although rare. It can begin two to five days after your last alcoholic beverage and pose a severe threat to your life. However, less than 5% of persons who stop drinking will experience severe symptoms like delirium tremens.
Due to the severity of some withdrawal symptoms, alcohol detox should be monitored by a medical professional like a doctor. This is true for people with a history of lung, heart, or other illnesses, as symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can deteriorate rapidly. Your treatment specialist will be able to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and mild symptoms to ensure that your condition doesn’t become worse. Additionally, you may discuss alcohol withdrawal syndrome and any discomfort you are feeling with them. Your medical team uses this information to decide which medication will assist ease your suffering and help with physical symptoms.
Detox from Alcohol: A Timeline
After your final drink, alcohol withdrawal symptoms might appear two hours later. Even though the most severe symptoms usually go away within the first week, some milder ones might linger for up to a year. Of course, you won’t experience the same withdrawal symptoms simultaneously, but there is a rough framework for what to anticipate.
The steps involved in alcohol detox are listed below:
Around 6 hours after your last drink, you often experience mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Also, six hours after quitting drinking, someone with a lengthy history of excessive drinking may experience a seizure.
12 to 24 hours
A very small percentage of people going through alcohol withdrawal at this point experience hallucinations. They could perceive or hear unreal things. Therefore, physicians do not view this symptom as a significant consequence despite the potential for fear.
24 to 48 hours
In this period, minor withdrawal symptoms typically persist. These signs might include a headache, trembling, and upset stomach. Minor withdrawal symptoms often peak at 18 to 24 hours and start to subside after four to five days in such cases.
48 to 72 hours
The delirium tremens (DTs), often known as alcohol withdrawal delirium, is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that some people suffer. This disorder can cause a person to have seizures, a fast heart rate, or a very high body temperature.
The harshest and most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms often occur during this period. Moderate withdrawal symptoms may occasionally last a month. Rapid heartbeat and illusions (seeing things that aren’t there) are a couple of them.
Importance of Alcohol Detox
The initial stage of treating alcoholism is the alcohol detox phase. Alcohol is eliminated from your body throughout this period. After beginning detox, withdrawal symptoms usually go away in about 1-2 weeks, but depending on your AUD, it can take longer. After that, you’ll be able to concentrate on other elements of your rehabilitation, such as various activities, treatments, counselling sessions, and support services.
Over months and years of drinking, your body starts to get dependent on alcohol, which has a depressive effect. As you depend on the medication, your brain gradually quits manufacturing some of the molecules it gets from alcohol. Because of this, it takes time for your body to adjust when you stop drinking. It results in withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, fever, nausea, and headaches.
Some people hesitate to cut back on their drinking because they worry about the withdrawal symptoms that come with alcohol detox. While some individuals may only have minor side effects from drinking, others may experience excruciating agony. Because withdrawal symptoms can alter abruptly and violently, it’s crucial to detox under a doctor’s supervision. A rehab facility’s medical staff can control your discomfort using various drugs. In addition, it enables you to concentrate on healing and improving.
What is Self Detox?
Self-detoxification refers to attempts to give up using drugs or alcohol without the aid of a professional. They may cut back on their drug or alcohol use or stop altogether. They receive no outside assistance or care in either scenario.
A quit date is frequently selected by someone who wants to stop using drugs or alcohol. As a result, they begin avoiding situations that might prompt substance use and get involved in activities that divert their attention from consuming.
Some people who try self-detox do so with considerable preparation. Others decide to stop using and make no other changes to their life.
Self-detox is a personalized process (and there is no official regimen). It denotes quitting drug use without assistance from a doctor or other expert.
How to Detox from Alcohol at Home Safely?
It might be risky to stop drinking abruptly if you have a drinking problem.
Instead, take action to cut back on your drinking over a few weeks gradually. Although it requires some planning, doing this is far safer than stopping abruptly. You will also find it simpler to stop drinking when you’re ready after gradually reducing back.
Here is a method that you might consider :
- Make time to concentrate on cleansing. It may take several days or weeks.
- Eliminate all alcohol from the house and any areas where it is accessible.
- Ask a loved one for assistance. At the absolute least, check in with someone periodically and ask them to do the same for you. This ensures that medical specialists may be informed if something goes wrong.
- Reduce your alcohol intake gradually. It prolongs the detoxification process while lessening the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Plan peaceful pursuits that assist you in avoiding drinking triggers. Think about picking up a new pastime or organizing a task that will occupy your attention on things other than drinking.
- Take a stroll or do yoga to keep your body moving. You probably won’t feel like engaging in strenuous exercise. However, light exercise is healthy for you and gets your mind off of drinking.
- If your cravings get too powerful, think about going to a 12-step gathering. Attendees in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are not expected to make any commitments. However, even attending meetings online is an option.
Is Home Alcohol Detoxification Safe?
Each person has a different threshold for safety, depending on how heavily you drink.
At-home detox can be a possibility for you if your withdrawal symptoms are not too severe. However, alcohol withdrawal is a medical emergency for a lot of folks.
However, it is generally not advised to detox at home. People with alcohol use disorders (AUD) may suffer risk throughout the detoxification process. They may experience life-threatening symptoms. A person’s likelihood of making a successful, long-term recovery increases with supervision and assistance of a healthcare professional and their professional treatment advice.
Self-detox has the advantage of being substantially less costly than professional help. However, the first few weeks of abstinence carry a severe risk of health issues. You may experience withdrawal symptoms and they may be more than you’ve anticipated. During this period, relapse rates are also at their peak because of alcohol dependence.
The Pros and Cons of Detoxing at Home
Alcohol detox is often handled best by a medical expert at a detox or rehab facility because it may be a risky process. Alcohol detoxification entails withdrawal management, which has physical side effects. Alcohol withdrawal can cause serious consequences. In the end, various criteria, such as age, gender, the length of the addiction, and the quantity consumed daily determine how severe the symptoms are.
- No financial obligations.
- Anonymity and confidentiality.
- More significant potential for negative impacts on mental health.
- More substantial potential for harmful physical health consequences.
- Limited symptom alleviation due to a medication shortage.
- Not having access to medical care during an emergency while experiencing alcohol withdrawal.
- The increased likelihood that a setback may occur.
- Relationships may suffer as a result of the difficulty of withdrawal.
Risk of Self Detox
Risks associated with self-detoxification include:
- Low success rate
- Lack of access to options, including professional therapy and certified addiction professional.
- Having trouble avoiding triggers
- Not receiving treatment if major issues occur during medical complications.
- Without medical help, withdrawal symptoms are often more severe.
- Potential for life-threatening symptoms, such as heart failure, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations.
How to Manage Alcohol Withdrawal at Home?
While your body detoxifies from alcohol, food will probably be the last thing on your mind. However, due to the impact that alcohol has on how your body metabolizes and absorbs nutrients, eating is a crucial component of your rehabilitation.
Some people choose natural alcohol withdrawal treatments over medically supervised programs because they prefer them. The healthiest method to naturally treat alcohol withdrawal is gradually cutting back on drinking, and a variety of at-home therapies can help you manage moderate withdrawal symptoms. However, the most severe withdrawal symptoms require medical attention in a specific treatment center.
Prioritize Staying Hydrated
There are several different symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, including lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. These symptoms may make it challenging for you to eat because they are at their worst 24 to 72 hours after the last drink.
During this period, drink enough liquids to rehydrate your body and flush out impurities. During the initial phases of withdrawal, effective options for hydration include water, juice, broth, ice pops, and gelatin.
Start Taking Balanced Diet
It’s crucial to concentrate on eating a nutritious diet as soon as you can resume eating. To help you achieve your caloric demands, eat meals from various food categories in the appropriate quantities. For example, consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, but don’t overlook the value of healthy grains and lean protein sources.
Take Your Minerals and Vitamins
Inpatient or outpatient detox treatment centers will typically give drugs to aid with alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you’re detoxing safely. Unfortunately, you won’t have that privilege at home. However, there are several vitamins and minerals you may consume that are frequently advantageous and aid in the removal of pollutants that are of alcohol abuse. Vitamin B, multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and calcium are a few.
Showering doesn’t make you stay sober or help alcohol leave your system more quickly. However, it can lessen specific withdrawal symptoms by promoting relaxation. A lukewarm shower may help you forget about some mild withdrawal symptoms. Taking a bath that is excessively hot or cold might harm body temperature.
Deep breathing can help to reduce the tension that comes with alcohol withdrawal. It increases the amount of oxygen the body receives, regulating heart rate and maintaining blood pressure. Conversely, shallow breathing restricts oxygen intake and might cause anxiety.
Meditation will help you calm your thoughts and concentrate on the advantages of alcohol detoxification, in addition to assisting you with breathing control. According to a few modest studies, yoga and other meditation practices may help treat alcoholism combined with other therapies. However, additional study is necessary to demonstrate that yoga is an effective therapeutic adjunct.
Make every effort to increase your level of comfort overall. For example, put a cool cloth on your neck or forehead if you’re sweating. Wrap yourself with blankets if you’re cold. Make a list of your favourite music or movies to pass the time.
The patient should not take prescription medications unless a physician has recommended them. If you are using drugs to cope with withdrawal because it is so difficult for you, speak to your doctor or an alcohol rehab facility about medically supervised withdrawal.
Alcoholism is a dangerous medical disease that can lead to addiction. However, some people may taper off alcohol without the supervision of a healthcare professional, and minor withdrawal symptoms can often be treated at home with rest and medications. However, those with alcohol addiction need specialized treatment from a specific treatment provider.
Medications Used During Alcohol Detoxification Treatment
Different drugs may be administered during alcohol detox treatment at an inpatient rehab centre to lessen painful withdrawal symptoms and avoid complex medical conditions. Additionally, medications can help in maintaining a person’s chemical equilibrium, reducing the likelihood of catastrophic consequences. In a medical detox centre with experienced alcohol withdrawal programs, a healthcare professional like a doctor will provide the medicine and monitor its results. Another treatment option is available if the drug starts to have adverse side effects or obstructs the detoxification process.
Several drugs are frequently given during the detoxification process, including:
Naltrexone reduces alcohol cravings while the body is detoxifying. Naltrexone prevents the euphoria that alcohol could produce in the case of a relapse. You should wait 7–10 days before using naltrexone since the drug may exacerbate withdrawal symptoms. It is available as a pill and an injection.
Years of binge drinking may profoundly change how the brain functions and appears. After quitting drinking, acamprosate, also known as Campral, is administered to assist your brain start functioning normally once more. Additionally, research is being done to see if acamprosate might help with PAWS symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. It also helps reduce alcohol cravings, but if alcohol is ingested, it has no adverse effects if it is consumed.
During the alcohol detox phase, benzodiazepines (benzos) are most often used to relieve withdrawal symptoms. They are given to treat insomnia, anxiety, and muscular spasms, in addition to helping to relax your central nervous system. Both short-acting and long-acting versions of the drug are available. Long-acting benzodiazepines are often given for three days or used as needed. The two benzo drug classes most frequently administered in an inpatient treatment environment are chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and diazepam (Valium).
Disulfiram is an additional drug used to treat alcoholism. Disulfiram functions differently from other pills because it causes significant responses when alcohol is ingested. For instance, you may encounter side effects like facial flushing, nausea, headache, weakness, and low blood pressure if you consume alcohol while taking disulfiram. The unfavourable outcomes are intended to stop you from continuing your drinking habits. Disulfiram is not designed to improve brain functioning or lessen alcohol cravings like other drugs.
The Benefits of Medically Supervised Detox
The hardship that is stressful on both the body and the mind. To safely detox and regain the energy and strength needed to proceed to the next stage of treatment, patients must have access to the appropriate level of care. Substance use disorder (SDU) that results in addiction detoxification is a medical treatment; as such, it should be handled in the same way as surgery, physical therapy, or any other standard medical problem in rehab facilities.
No detox is enjoyable, but medically assisted withdrawal treatment has several clinical and lifestyle benefits, such as:
Knowledgeable and Encouraging Medical Staff
In a top-notch medical detox program, treatment providers like addiction-trained doctors and nurses assist patients in managing withdrawal symptoms and responding rapidly to emergencies. You receive treatment from healthcare professionals who are experienced in alcohol withdrawal. You can detox safely while experiencing any symptoms in a rehab centre.
Clean and Secure Environment
In addition to providing top-notch professional care, medical detox also gives patients the privacy and respect they require during the more delicate phases of the detox process. During such an arduous physical and emotional process, privacy may make all the difference.
Professional Symptom Relief
Doctors specializing in detoxification are qualified to manage a wide range of withdrawal symptoms and assist patients in being as comfortable as possible when they need it most.
When it comes to where you’ll detox, you have a variety of alternatives at your disposal:
Inpatient Treatment for Alcohol Detox
If you choose to go through alcohol withdrawal at an inpatient treatment facility, a team of medical professionals will be available to you 24 hours a day to provide care. For those who have been drinking heavily for a long time or who consumed excessive amounts of alcohol when they were addicted, inpatient rehabilitation is often preferred. Another benefit of inpatient therapy is that, if required, a doctor can write prescriptions for medications to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms.
Outpatient Treatment for Alcohol Detox
An alternative would be outpatient therapy if your addiction is more manageable. Outpatient detox entails frequent visits to a detox centre when you decide to quit drinking. You will detox at home for the majority of the outpatient detox process. Medication to aid withdrawal symptoms may be provided when you attend the treatment centre.
Get Support After Alcohol Detox
Support is crucial no matter how you decide to address your alcoholism, whether that’s through counselling, rehab, or self-directed (online addiction) treatment. Never attempt to do it alone. When you have people you can rely on for support, comfort, and direction, recovering from alcohol addiction or abuse is much simpler.
Family, friends, addiction counsellors, registered therapists, other alcoholics in recovery, your healthcare professionals, and members of your spiritual group can all offer support. A person stops drinking may also require mental health services after detox, and rehab centres offer specific programs.
Make Use of Your Close Friends and Relatives
The help of friends and family members is a crucial tool for healing. Consider attending family therapy or couples counselling if you’re hesitant to turn to your loved ones because you have let them down in the past.
Create a Network of Sober Friends
If drinking was a significant part of your past social life, you might need to establish some new relationships. Having clean friends who will help you with your recovery is crucial. Consider enrolling in a class, becoming a church or civic organization member, volunteering, or attending local events.
Prioritize Attending Meetings
Sign up for and consistently attend meetings of a recovery support organization, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Spending time with others who get your situation entirely may be pretty therapeutic. In addition, the group members’ shared experiences might be helpful to you, and you can pick up tips on how others have managed to maintain sobriety.
Start Your Road to Recovery
You are capable of overcoming your alcoholism and being sober. The critical thing to consider is that self-detoxing from alcohol at home is sometimes not safe and you may experience symptoms. The most significant risk group for difficulties from alcohol withdrawal comprises heavy drinkers and those who have previously tried to self-detox.
Although enrolling in a treatment program can put you off, it’s the safest approach to detox from alcohol. Friends and relatives might be a source of emotional support, but the truth is that they lack the medical training and access to medications necessary to safely detox from alcohol.
You will gain from the care of a group of medically qualified specialists who can assist you through the withdrawal process and direct you down the road to recovery if you enrol in alcohol addiction treatment & detox program in a treatment provider today.
Call Neworld Detox Medical Centre to talk with a representative about how professional therapy may help you if you have any questions regarding alcohol withdrawal treatment or home detox.