Any attempt to detox from alcohol at home is going to be challenging. Depending upon the severity of your alcohol problem, it may also lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Nonetheless, there are some best practice tips which, when executed, will increase you chances of success and negate potentially harmful withdrawal symptoms.
While it’s possible to detox from alcohol at home, we believe your best – and safest – route to success, lies in dedicated treatment centres. For that reason, the Rehab Clinics Group provide dedicated alcohol rehab centres which aid your recovery in a safe and supportive environment for detox and rehab purposes.
However, if that doesn’t appeal to you right now, then it’s worth developing your own home detox programme based on professional advice. By using the following tips you can decrease the chances of developing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and the health problems that they can cause.
Remember: be kind to yourself and set gentle targets.
What to consider when you start your alcohol detox from home
Perhaps the first thing you should do is manage expectations. Setting ambitious targets is likely to end in a failed detox. And with that failure will come disappointment, frustration and perhaps self-directed anger. The end result may be reaffirm your alcohol dependency and pull you further away from a long term solution.
Instead, it’s better to start with targets which are realistic and easier to meet. In the next section, we explain how gradual withdrawal from alcohol works.
Another thing to remember is this: though you may be attempting an alcohol detox from home, you can still draw on support. To avoid feeling isolated you may choose to attend support groups, where you can talk to people who have been in similar situations, get informal advice or simply talk through your current situation.
Finally, be aware of the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms. Going cold turkey is not recommended for a home detox. While specialist treatment centres can help treat health issues should they occur, you won’t be able to depend on such medical support at home.
Ease yourself into your home detox
Tapering is an important concept when trying to eliminate your alcohol intake. The idea behind it is simple: gradually reduce your intake of alcohol so that you can avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms. This approach enables a safe route towards sobriety.
So, how do you start? Each case is different. The first thing you need to do is establish how much alcohol you drink each day. Be honest with yourself and if you’re not sure, record how much you’ve drunk today (or record your intake tomorrow). Getting this baseline correct provides the foundation for accurately planning your tapering and for tracking your progress.
Remember: any reduction is a success. For example, the harm reduction unit, HAMS, [https://hams.cc/taper/]provides a recommended schedule for people who drink more than 20 beers a day.
Day 1: One beer and hour for every 16 hours, for a total of 16 beers
Day 2: One beer every 90 minutes, for a total of 10 beers
Day 3: Eight beers consumed over the course of the day
Day 4: Six beers through the day
Day 5: Four beers
Day 6: Two beers
Day 7: No beers
If this seems too challenging you can always choose a more gradual reduction. For example, a decrease of one beer a day is better than no progress at all.
How long will your alcohol detox take?
This varies depending on the severity of your alcohol dependency and the kind of assistance you have available. In a clinic where you have access to professional assistance and are on a rehab programme tailored to your needs; then a successful detox will happen more quickly. At home it’s likely to take longer.
As previously mentioned, it’s important to take a gradual approach. There’s not a single timeline that will work for everybody, but as we see above: it’s possible to achieve a detox in a week in some cases.
After this point you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. During the first 48 hours after your final alcoholic drink, withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst. After this point, symptoms will gradually reside.
Such symptoms are a combination of physical and psychological effects, which can include: headaches, tremors (the shakes), nausea, sweating and difficulty focusing. They are caused by chemical changes in your brain caused by excessive alcohol consumption. In particular, alcohol affects the area of the brain responsible for fight or flight responses.
Between three and seven days after your last drink, you body starts to adjust to being free of alcohol.
As well the above withdrawal symptoms, you may also experience difficulty sleeping and develop a tendency to wake up in the night. However, your sleeping pattern should return to normal with a month.
Alleviating alcohol withdrawal symptoms at home
There are a variety of ways you can help manage withdrawal symptoms.
Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic drinks. It’s incredibly important to avoid dehydration as this will make withdrawal more severe. However, you should avoid caffeine as it can exacerbate tremors and further impact on your sleep.
It’s important to eat as regularly as you can. Try to get a good mix of carbs, healthy fats, fruit and veg, and protein. For further advice, check out the NHS portal which offers healthy eating advice. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/
The health benefits of meditation are now well and truly accepted by Western medicine. The simplest form of meditation is to simply sit still, close you eyes, and focus on your breathing. This can help reduce anxiety and make you feel more relaxed.
Only take prescription drugs which your doctor has prescribed.
By taking on board this advice you can improve your chances of a successful detox from alcohol at home. Withdrawal from alcohol is an important first step to overcoming your alcohol-related problems.
However, withdrawal is just the start. You’ll most likely need further treatment and support to help you in the long term.
To access further support and treatment, the Rehab Clinics Group provide recovery centres across the UK, offering expert assistance where and when you need it most.