Can an alcoholic detox at home?

See all articles
alcohol detox at home
Alcohol addiction
The Hader Clinic
The Hader Clinic
October 5, 2021
minute read

What you need to know about withdrawing from alcohol at home

Detoxing from alcohol at home is a possibility for alcoholics seeking to recover without incurring the cost of an alcohol treatment facility. Unfortunately, detoxing from alcohol at home carries significant difficulties and dangers.

The most important thing is is work out what you want from rehabilitation, what you believe will give you the best chance of success. Read on to discover what detoxing from alcohol entails, and why withdrawing with medical supervision is a superior option.

The Hader Clinic can help addicts at every stage of recovery with our alcohol detox programs. We can assist you with a medically supervised detox, offering you the greatest chance of succeeding in the long term.

Can an alcoholic detox at home?

Technically, you can. Practically, most can't. A tiny percentage of alcoholics are able to successfully detox from alcohol at home. For those that are unable to do this, home alcohol detox can be deeply unsafe, potentially resulting in seizure or death.

We'll outline the hazards of detoxing from alcohol at home. To begin, we'll examine how the alcohol detox process could work for an alcoholic wanting to avoid medically assisted withdrawal.

How does home alcohol detox work?

There are a variety of ways that home alcohol detox might work for alcoholics seeking to achieve change. In contrast to expert medically supervised detoxes, detoxes at home likely mean trial and error in determining what works best for the alcoholic.

When undertaking a detox program at home, there are various options addicts could select:

  • Completely abstaining from alcohol use - going 'cold turkey' - in the hope that withdrawal can be managed
  • Detoxing 'naturally' through herbal remedies and therapies like acupuncture
  • Tapering alcohol use until the alcoholic can manage their cravings

These options all have one thing in common. They've been consistently shown to be ineffective in studies. Few who undergo them will maintain sobriety in the long term. Despite some anecdotal evidence of their efficacy, it turns out addiction is a dilemma that requires professional support. You don't have to do it on your own.

However, if your mind is made up on detoxing from alcohol at home, here are some basic tips you should follow:

  • Dispose of any alcohol in your home
  • Invite a loved one who understands your addiction to help
  • Speak with a doctor regarding your detox plan and possible dangers
  • Eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water throughout withdrawal
  • Discourage potentially stressful visits from people

What benefits come with withdrawing and detoxing from alcohol at home?

The principal benefit offered by detoxing from alcohol at home is saving money. Really this is merely the appearance of saving money. Unsuccessful attempts at sobriety add up. Every relapse costs you your health and damages your finances. In the fullness of time, these outweigh the apparent savings gained by not entering a professional alcohol detox facility.

As an addendum, if you pay for private health insurance, you could potentially have coverage for the expense of medically-assisted alcohol detox.

What are a few of the dangers of detoxing from alcohol at home?

Detoxing from alcohol at home won't cure physical dependence. Alcoholism is typically the product of a number of other personal issues and problems, including mental illness. Following withdrawal and successful detox, these problems can still linger.  If the desire to drink alcohol remains present, relapse is highly likely.

Alcohol withdrawal is associated with a number of symptoms that can range from mild to life-threatening. These begin in the hours after drinking has ceased and are referred to as Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, or AWS. AWS is very similar to a hangover and typically manageable for those not addicted to alcohol.

For people who are addicted to alcohol, life-threatening complications arise around 12 to 24 hours after their last drink. Delirium Tremens (DTs) is the term that describes the symptoms that occur, including:

  • powerful confusion
  • irritability, agitation and rage attacks
  • hallucinations
  • involuntary trembling and tremors
  • heightened photosensitivity and responses to other stimuli
  • mood swings
  • seizures
  • exhaustion and lethargy
  • prolonged sleeping periods

DTs is a medical emergency. Those experiencing DTs require urgent medical attention.

Is there a better approach?

A medically supervised alcohol detox offers alcoholics the greatest possible chance of recovering without relapse. The Hader Clinic offers a 28-Day Detox and Withdrawal Program in a formal drug detox facility, instead of a haphazard home arrangement.

After 20 years of working with alcoholics, we strongly recommend that alcohol detox takes place in a facility like ours. Here are just some of the ways inpatient detox and withdrawal treatment could benefit you or your loved ones:

  • Our alcoholism experts can assist you to manage the negative physical and mental effects caused by alcohol withdrawal
  • Medical support can help you avoid the dangers of delirium tremens associated with severe alcoholism
  • You can commence a variety of treatments and therapies to help you on the path to recovery

Related articles

As featured in