Is It Dangerous To Detox from Alcohol At Home?
Choosing to live an alcohol-free life by becoming sober can positively influence various areas of your life. Sobriety can also benefit the people around you since alcohol use disorder can severely affect your life. Alcohol addiction can increase economic costs due to unemployment, premature death, disability, and chronic medical conditions. Heavy alcohol use can also lead to accidents resulting in incarceration, violence, and injury. Heavy drinking over a long time may lead to changes in your brain chemistry and physical dependence. Such changes are significant indicators of addiction, and at that point, you may need to detox to lessen the withdrawal symptoms once you stop drinking.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms During Detox
When you develop physical alcohol dependence, it increases your chances of experiencing alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, uncomfortable, and potentially fatal if medical professionals do not supervise it. Withdrawal from alcohol typically includes several symptoms when someone physically dependent on the substance stops drinking suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms in people with alcohol use disorder can show up hours to a few days after their last drink. They typically last for about 24 hours to 72 hours, but they can also go on for weeks. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may differ based on an individual’s chronic use or when they had their last drink. Common signs to expect include:
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Mood swings
- Nervousness and mild anxiety
- Decreased appetite
- Dilated pupils
Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include delirium tremens/confusion, seizures, tremors, increased heart rate, muscle aches, vomiting, nausea, sweating, and insomnia.
Some people might not want to go to a treatment or detox facility for several reasons, including not being able to afford it or keeping their addiction secret. Some of these people may also be unaware of the dangers of alcohol withdrawal. Quitting alcohol suddenly or “cold-turkey” can lead to alcohol withdrawal which includes the symptoms listed above. Severe withdrawal symptoms may also be fatal, thus why you need to get medical advice if you are trying to stop drinking after heavy or long-term use.
Some of these alcohol withdrawal symptoms are manageable since they resemble those of a hangover. The problem comes in when you do not understand how severe your alcohol addiction is, then develop more complex withdrawal symptoms. Most people do not realize that the further you go into withdrawal, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms become.
Safety Concerns When Detoxing From Home
Even though it is possible to safely detox from alcohol without medical supervision at home, you should take extra caution because it is still dangerous. Also, some people might be able to handle the alcohol withdrawal symptoms at home without experiencing any severe issues. Still, the best way to detox if you are quitting alcohol is to seek medical supervision first. Trained medical professionals can address any health complications that could arise immediately. They can even dispense medications that can help lessen the withdrawal symptoms making the process much easier.
Even though trying to carry out alcohol detoxification at home might save you money and may seem more manageable, there is a high chance of relapse. Most people who attempt to detox at home usually focus on the physical withdrawal symptoms and forget about the risk of psychological withdrawal symptoms. You need the right kind of support after and during detox to help you overcome your body’s chemical and psychological alcohol dependence. Otherwise, you will be unable to finish the process and risk relapsing soon afterward.
Tips for Safely Detoxing at Home
If you choose to detox from home, you need to be prepared to do it safely. Fortunately, you can try several suggestions and remedies to help you alleviate mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the tips for managing symptoms include:
Since it can be dangerous to quit alcohol altogether, the most crucial part of withdrawal treatment when detoxing at home is through tapering. This includes reducing your alcohol intake gradually instead of stopping suddenly. Tapering off alcohol helps you prevent major withdrawal symptoms so you can safely achieve sobriety. It would be best to talk to a medical professional to help you develop a tapering schedule depending on how much and how long you have been drinking.
Clear Your Schedule
The withdrawal symptoms from alcohol detox are typically similar to flu-like symptoms, so it might be advisable to clear any commitments from your calendar and take some time off work. This free time could also give you some time to concentrate on your recovery.
A healthy diet may offer you an increase in energy levels and nutrients that your body could have been lacking. The new diet may help you reduce fatigue during the detoxification period and possibly hasten the recovery process. Another great way to relieve alcohol withdrawal is to take lots of water to replace that which is lost by the body through sweating or vomiting. Taking water also reduces symptoms such as fatigue and headache while decreasing your risk for dehydration. You can also restore the electrolytes the body loses by taking drinks with electrolytes such as sports drinks.
Focus on Relaxing
Detoxing from alcohol at home can be a stressful experience. Try to shift the focus away from its discomfort by practicing various relaxation techniques such as taking warm showers, yoga, meditation, or controlled breathing.
Get Help or Support
Many people try to go through alcohol detox alone. You might be able to deal with some of the physical symptoms, but managing the psychological symptoms can be much more challenging. Many people are doomed to fall back into their old drinking habits if they detox without any support. You can look for an outpatient program to join or call up a loved one or a friend to help. If you experience more serious symptoms such as frequent vomiting or high fever, it is best to get medical attention. Such symptoms can be early indicators of potentially fatal and dangerous medical conditions.
Even though these tips can help you deal with some of the mild withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detox, you still need to exercise caution during the process, given how dangerous it can be. If you are suffering from a severe alcohol abuse condition, you may need professional care and continued support to maintain long-lasting sobriety.