Is It Safe To Detox From Alcohol At Home?
Updated: January 1, 2021
Home » Addiction Recovery Resources » Getting Sober » Is It Safe To Detox From Alcohol At Home?

When a person decides to stop drinking, it is a big deal. Making the choice to stop and recognizing that you have a problem is a gigantic step. But the biggest battle is yet to come. Ending a relationship with alcohol isn’t as easily said as done. That feeling that a person got from using alcohol is a tough feeling to break. The chemical dependence that a person can have is even worse. But not everyone recognizes how hard this is going to be and tries to detox from alcohol at home. But is it even safe to detox from alcohol at home? In many cases, that isn’t a good idea.

What Can Happen During Detox From Alcohol

The first step to completing an alcohol detox is to stop drinking. When an addicted person stops taking any kind of drug, legal or illegal, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. In some people, those symptoms can appear within a few hours of ceasing consumption. A person suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms they could experience the following side effects:

  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Agitation

Depending upon the person and their level of alcohol dependence, these side effects can be anywhere from mild to severe. Individuals of experience severe symptoms could require hospitalization. Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.

Detoxing From Alcohol At Home

People like to think that they won’t experience the side effects of a detox. Sadly, for many others, the cost of a detox center or treatment facility leads them to attempt to detox from home. This is rarely a good choice. As noted above, people can experience seizures when withdrawing from alcohol. It is in the best interest of the person to be in a medical facility during the detox process. Medical personnel should supervise the detox process and be close if severe side effects present.

People who suffer from milder cases of alcohol abuse could possibly complete a detox at home. The side effects can be less severe and in theory, a person should be able to handle those side effects without medical intervention. However, it is not suggested that a person try to detox without another person present. This way, if something does go awry with the process there is someone who can call for medical personnel to help. No one knows how they are going to react to a detox until they are in the process.

If you are considering detoxing from home without medical professionals present, speak with your doctor before proceeding. There are medications he or she might be able to prescribe that can help lessen those symptoms.

If you still decide to proceed with an at-home detox, here are some steps you need to take before you begin:

  • Dispose of all alcohol in your house. Don’t leave any behind. This will stop you from reaching for it during any exceptionally difficult moments.
  • Reach out for support. Talk to your friends and if needed, ask them to stay with you during the process. You will need all the support possible. It isn’t easy to stop drinking and maintain your sobriety. And it would be nice to have someone around to provide comfort during the detox process.
  • Clear your schedule during the detox process. Detoxing from alcohol doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t quit drinking on a Friday and think everything is fine by Sunday. This is a days or even weeks long process. Just because the alcohol may be out of your system doesn’t mean the detox is complete. You need to wait until the side effects have dissipated.

Once you start the detox process at home, here are some things you will need to consider so you can set yourself up for success.

  • Make sure you are comfortable. Have comfortable clothing, blankets, pillows, and anything else you need to feel safe and cozy in your home.
  • Also, make sure you have any supplies you will need to handle any of the side effects. This includes medications from your doctor that can help ease your side effects if prescribed.
  • Ensure that you stay hydrated. The detox process can take a lot out of you. A person can have sweat profusely and run a high fever. You don’t want to become dehydrated on top of your withdrawal symptoms. Keep water nearby and other drinks that can replace lost electrolytes.
  • Stock your home with healthy foods. It is quite common to have no appetite when going through the detox process. But once you feel like eating, you don’t want to have a house full of unhealthy food. Make sure you have stocked up on fruits & vegetables along with lean proteins and whole grains.
  • Take vitamins and supplements to keep your body operating at its best. If your diet isn’t high in fiber, add in a daily fiber supplement along with a multivitamin to help stabilize any deficits you may have. B Vitamins are great at helping remove toxins from your system and it isn’t possible to take too much of a B Vitamin.

Not every person is a candidate for an at-home detox. People who suffer from extreme alcohol addiction should not attempt to detox at home. People who suffer from delirium tremors after not drinking for a short period of time should not try to detox at home. These people are at high risk for severe withdrawal symptoms or even death.

Should you try a home detox and it goes wrong, seek medical treatment immediately. When you get to the emergency room, let them know that you have been detoxing at home so they know how to help stabilize your vitals.

Even people who are not as acutely addicted to alcohol could still suffer serious side effects during a detox. Nobody knows how the body is going to react to the removal of alcohol until it happens. Be prepared for any possible outcome.

What To Do After Your Detox

Once you complete your detox, the next step of your recovery begins. And that step will be the longest and will continue the rest of your life. And that stage is the recovery phase. There will be good days and bad days for people in recovery. You will need a support system to be successful. Persons in recovery who detox at a facility have access to counseling and support services. If you do this on your own, you don’t. Seek out groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or other community support groups to help you with your sobriety.

Final Thoughts

While there are people who are successful at it, detoxing from alcohol at home is not recommended. There can be some very extreme reactions to the removal of alcohol from your system, including seizures and death. It is safer to detox in a medical facility so these complications can be treated as they arise. Despite the risks, some people still attempt this at home. If you are one of those people, take proper precautions and let your friends & family know what you are doing so they can support you through this process. Once you complete the detox process, don’t forget the next step in your recovery which is meetings and counseling to support your sobriety.