Updated on April 3, 2024
6 min read

How to Detox from Alcohol at Home

7 Tips to Safely Detox from Alcohol at Home

Attempting detox at home can be an intense experience. Here are a few tips to help increase the chance of a successful detox:

1. Set Aside Time to Focus on The Detox

Quitting alcohol can take a significant amount of time. The detoxification timeline varies based on the severity of the alcohol addiction.

Overall, the process can take weeks, and you might still feel withdrawal symptoms for months. Setting aside time to focus on the detox can help you prepare for withdrawal.

2. Remove all access to alcohol

Having little to no access to alcohol can help you stop drinking. Consider avoiding bars and liquor stores, as well as avoiding routines that involve alcohol.

You should also throw away any alcoholic drinks at home. Making alcohol difficult to access can help you avoid temptation and increase the chances of a successful detox.

3. Ask For Support From a Loved One

Ask friends or family to check on you throughout the detox process. Aside from providing emotional support, they can also call medical professionals if something goes wrong. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be painful and potentially life-threatening, so it's important to have people you can rely on.

4. Gradually Taper Your Alcohol Intake

Gradually tapering your alcohol use helps ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce alcohol cravings. It can also help your body adjust to the lack of alcohol. Tapering increases the length of the detox process, but it might be better for you in the long run.

5. Find New Hobbies or Activities to Avoid Triggers

Keeping yourself busy can help you stay sober. Start a new hobby or plan a project to keep your mind off cravings and triggers.

You can even use this as an opportunity to develop healthier habits. Overall, having a hobby you're passionate in can improve your mental health.

6. Stay Physically Active and Maintain Proper Nutrition

Light exercise and a proper diet can help you adjust to the detox. Exercise can reduce stress, improve mood, and bolster your immune system.

Eating healthier helps your body heal from the effects of alcohol. It also ensures your body has proper nutrition to maintain stamina during the stress it will go through during detox.

7. Attend a 12-step Program or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

A community of understanding and empathetic people can help you recover. These support groups require no commitment from attendees, and you can attend meetings online.

How to Manage Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms at Home

You can do several things to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms better when detoxing at home. For example:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Take vitamins and supplements 
  • Be prepared for alcohol cravings
  • Get a first-aid kit
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Find support from loved ones
  • Avoid people who drink with you
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Is it Safe to Detox from Alcohol at Home?

Detoxing from alcohol at home is not universally recommended due to varying levels of safety for different people. The withdrawal process can be dangerous, and its symptoms vary depending on the severity of alcohol use.

At-home alcohol detox is especially dangerous for people with alcohol use disorder (AUD). A medical detox with support and supervision can drastically increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Although detoxing from alcohol at home can have benefits, the early stages of sobriety pose a dangerous risk for medical complications. You also have a higher risk of relapsing during this time.

Dangers and Risks of Self-Detox

When you detox from alcohol, you may feel withdrawal symptoms, especially if you've become physically dependent on alcohol. A self-detox can be dangerous because you don't have access to medical care for the most severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Other risks of self-detox include:

  • Low rate of success
  • Lack of professional counseling and other resources
  • Difficulty avoiding triggers and alcohol cravings
  • Alcohol withdrawal seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Heart failure

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

If you don't experience intense withdrawal symptoms, an at-home detox may be a good option. However, alcohol withdrawal syndrome is dangerous and require supervision from medical professionals.

These symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Delirium tremens (DT) is a life-threatening condition that requires medical attention. If you experience nausea, seizures, and hallucinations, seek help.

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Pros and Cons of Detoxing from Alcohol at Home

Although an at-home detox has its risks, it does come with some benefits. For example:

Pros

  • Saves money
  • Provides the comfort of a familiar environment
  • Allows you to meet work, school, family, and other obligations
  • Access to family and friends
  • Avoids the unfortunate social stigma of going to rehab or admitting you have a substance use disorder (SUD)
  • Allows for anonymity and privacy

Cons

  • Increases the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Higher risk of relapse
  • Lack of access to medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms
  • Increases the risk of mental health side effects, including stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Puts greater pressure on someone’s support system, including friends and family members
  • Can be dangerous depending on withdrawal symptoms

Self-Detox vs. Medical Detox

In most cases, medical detox is preferred over self-detox. Medical supervision ensures that care is immediately available if serious symptoms arise.

Medical detox provides:

  • Professional monitoring and support
  • A safe, structured environment
  • Peer support
  • A stress-free and temptation-free environment
  • Relapse prevention
  • Aftercare support
  • Therapeutic intervention
  • Mental health treatment for co-occurring conditions
  • Support for family members

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

If you are considering at-home detox, speak with your doctor before beginning the process. They can help you determine the best and safest action for your needs.

However, there are plenty of available treatment programs that can help you overcome alcohol addiction. Available treatment options for alcohol addiction include:

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What is ‘Self-Detox?’

Detoxing from drugs or alcohol without professional help is known as a self-detox. You can choose to taper your substance use or go "cold turkey." In either case, you won't have outside support or treatment.

If you want to do an alcohol detox at home, consider doing the following:

  • Choose a quit date
  • Work out a plan
  • Keep a drinking diary
  • Avoid drinking
  • Avoid activities that involve drinking

Self-detox is an individualized approach without professional or medical support. Because of this, it's important to plan around the alcohol detoxification process carefully.

Summary

A self-detox involves detoxing from alcohol at home without medical support or supervision. It allows you to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the comfort of your own home with little cost.

Although it might be safe for people with mild withdrawal symptoms, it can be dangerous to people with alcohol dependence. People struggling with AUD may also feel severe symptoms which can be dangerous.

Although an at-home detox can be intense, there are ways to mitigate severe side effects. However, it's important to contact medical professionals when an emergency occurs.

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Updated on April 3, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on April 3, 2024
  1. Davis, C. “Home Detox - Supporting Patients to Overcome Alcohol Addiction.” Australian Prescriber, 2018.
  2. Tam et al. “Alcohol Screening and Brief Interventions in Primary Care - Evidence and a Pragmatic Practice-Based Approach.” Australian Family Physician, 2016.
  3. Australian Government Department of Health. “How Can You Reduce or Quit Alcohol?” Australian Government Department of Health, 2019.
  4. Das, SK. “Detoxification of drug and substance abuse.” Medical Toxicology, 2020.
  5. Shahrouz et al. “Telemedicine detoxification treatment for alcohol, opioid, or sedative-use, hypnotic-use or anxiolytic-use disorders.” Addictive Disorder and Their Treatment, 2018.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Detoxification and substance abuse treatment: A treatment improvement protocol (TIP 45).” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015.
  7. Rahman A., Paul M. “Delirium Tremens.StatPearls, 2021.

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