Addiction to alcohol is a problem in this country. Many people who perhaps drink regularly or binge drink are unaware of how quickly they can slip into mild or severe alcohol dependence. Alcohol can destroy relationships, families and careers and cause major other issues in your life, negatively affecting your physical and mental health and possibly leading to death.
Recognising that you have a problem with alcohol and coming to the decision to stop drinking are huge steps in turning your life around.
Undergoing alcohol detox is the major first step of recovering from alcohol addiction and is a hurdle you must overcome if you wish to achieve long-term recovery. Now, when it comes to detoxing there are two clear pathways – accessing professional treatment via a rehab clinic or detoxing at home.
Whilst many people choose to attend alcohol rehab, detoxing at home can be safe and brings with it many benefits. Home detox allows you to remain in a comfortable environment that you are used to and feel safe. As you are remaining in your household and accessing no professional services there is financial loss and you can hopefully get emotional support and guidance from family and friends.
If you are thinking of detoxing at home, you need to be sure it is the right option for you and are aware of the risks the process brings.
How to Safely Detox from Alcohol at Home
The safest detox method outside of a rehab facility is tapering off. Tapering off entails slowly reducing your alcohol intake over a longer period rather than a more drastic drop-off.
Initially, you should begin to keep track of how much you drink to assess your task and become fully more aware of the risks and decide if detoxing at home is doable. Once you know the state of play you can start reducing your alcohol consumption little by little – cutting it down by 10% or so each week. If doing this begins to induce severe withdrawal symptoms then your problem may be more severe than you think, or you may be going too quickly.
Once you are down to less than 10 units a week you can attempt to stop altogether. Hopefully, by this point, whatever symptoms of alcohol withdrawal you experience will be manageable and not dissuade you from continuing the detox process. Whilst this gradual tapering off is a slower process than a medically supervised detox programme, it is better to go slow to avoid fatal consequences.
Before you attempt any detox at home you should inform a medical professional, such as your GP, so they can keep in regular contact. You should also let friends and family know so that they can check on you and offer support if needed.
What are the Risks of Detoxing from Alcohol at Home?
Ending your dependence on alcohol brings with it side effects and dangers that must be taken seriously if you wish to detox at home. There are physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal which include hand tremors (the shakes), sweating, nausea, visual hallucinations, seizures, depression, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and insomnia.
The major risk of detoxing from alcohol are the DTs. Delirium Tremens (the DTs) is a severe type of withdrawal from alcohol. They usually begin 2-3 days after you stop drinking and lasts for roughly that amount of time but could last as long as a week. The DTs are serious and if they go untreated they can prove fatal, causing a heart attack or a stroke.
There are many possible symptoms including chest pain, fever, passing out, seizures, tremors, and high blood pressure. If you begin experiencing these symptoms you should contact a medical professional and stop detoxing.
Coping with symptoms this severe means that your addiction is more serious than a mild dependence and detoxing from home may not be the best pathway for you. If that is the case, you might want to consider medically supervised detox.
Medically Supervised Detox
Medically supervised detox is where you will be administered prescription drugs by medical professionals to help alleviate the worst of withdrawal symptoms. This can be done on an outpatient basis or as part of inpatient treatment – depending on your personal choice and addiction severity.
Facilities under the umbrella of Rehab Clinics Group offer an industry-leading detox experience, putting your comfort and well-being at the forefront of our treatment options. Attending a residential rehab will give you the chance to not only detox under the care of our dedicated staff and in a peaceful location but have access to therapies meant to help with the deeper problems behind your addiction including treatment for stress and anxiety.
Beyond your time detoxing and at rehab, you will have the chance to attend support groups and continue your recovery under our guidance.
Medically supervised detox brings with it a decrease in the chance of relapsing and the chance to go through a stressful period in an environment purpose-built to relax and calm you. If your addiction is severe then medically supervised detox is the best and safest option for you.
Making Sure to Keep a Balanced Diet During Detoxification
As you are detoxing and purging harmful toxins from your body, you must put the right things back in. Starting and maintaining a healthy nutrition regime is a great weapon against withdrawal symptoms and can help ease unpleasant side effects during detoxification.
Many people that go through detox experience a craving for sugary foods. The desire to replace one addiction with another is strong but you must stay vigilant and not fall into this trap. During detox your body will be losing the serotonin boost it got from your addiction and looking for another – stopping this habit is a massive step to stopping possible relapses. Cutting down on food high in sugar like sweets and chocolates is good practice regardless as high blood sugar can lead to conditions such as diabetes.
Concentrating on eating fruit and vegetables is a good habit and will ensure that your blood sugar is controlled. Foods known to be helpful for people going through detox include whole grains, proteins low in fat, cayenne peppers, spinach and parsley and sunflower seeds. A combination of these foods will raise your dopamine levels, decrease sugar and hunger cravings.
Keeping yourself well-fed and hydrated will keep your body strong and putting time and effort into meal plans and cooking is also an activity that will take your mind off alcohol. Cultivating self-discipline when it comes to putting things into your body is vital as you will have to practice it every day of your life after you’re sober.
With a balanced diet, you can start your rehabilitation off on the right track.
Is it Safe to Detox at Home?
Whilst there are many possibilities and potential dangers when it comes to detoxing, doing it from home can be done safely and effectively if you are only suffering from mild alcoholism and take precautions throughout the process. If your problem is more serious, it would be better to attend at least a detox programme on an outpatient basis.
Rehab Clinics Group is a collection of rehabilitation centres around the country, leading the way in residential rehab treatment. With our swift admissions process and an array of treatments to help with not only alcohol problems but drug addiction, gambling and depression and many others.
For more information contact a member of our team at 03301 596 494 or go to the website and fill out the contact form.