Home Alcohol Detox

An addiction to alcohol is one of the most serious addictions that an individual can have in the modern world.

Similar in severity to heroin and other opioids during a detox, alcohol addictions are increasingly widespread due to the ease of accessing and consuming this substance.

Alcohol can also seriously impact an individual’s quality of life. Not only does it have serious impacts on the individual’s health, but it can also impact their performance at work or school, worsen their financial situation, and break down close relationships.

This can cause a range of other issues, relating to both physical and mental health factors and generally decreasing the individual’s wellbeing and general quality of life.

For this reason, seeking rehabilitative support, such as that received through a full home alcohol detox, is essential.

Other reasons to detox from alcohol

Doctor with clipboard

In order to rehabilitate from an alcohol addiction, the individual must first stop consuming alcohol and work towards detoxification.

This is especially the case where individuals may be suffering from one or more of the following conditions:

  • Alcohol use disorder (alcohol addiction)
  • Liver disease e.g., cirrhosis
  • Heart conditions e.g., arrhythmia
  • Chronic pain 
  • A condition that requires medication which has negative effects when combined with alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy or planning to become pregnant

There are many different treatment programmes available for individuals struggling with the conditions listed above and these should be discussed with the individual’s rehabilitation service provider.

However, for some individuals, it may be suitable to consider a medically assisted home alcohol detox.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

What is a medically assisted home alcohol detox?

Doses of pills segmented in a packet.

In general, a medical detox is one that is assisted by the implementation of medical interventions by medical professionals.

Completing this at home has a similar concept but is completed within the individual’s own home and includes the daily delivery of detox medication as the individual is slowly transitioned away from alcohol.

This is a home alcohol detoxification and is generally also supported by regular meetings and progress checks from an alcohol rehabilitation officer.

These individuals will make regular trips to the individual’s home, ensuring that they are taking their medication as planned, keeping to the plan that they have in place, and maintaining abstinence from alcohol in the long-term.

By keeping up with all of these practices, individuals give themselves the best possible chance of preventing harmful withdrawal symptoms and avoiding the life-threatening effects of long-term alcohol addiction.

Some studies also suggest that a home detox can be up to 22 times cheaper than inpatient care (1).

What is the reality of home detox?

Doctor writing notes, with a laptop in the near field

In reality, a home detox is only suitable for a select few individuals.

A home detox cannot be completed if the individual’s intake of alcoholic drinks is extremely high as this may result in serious withdrawal effects that require more specialised and professional care.

For example, those who consume 20 or more units of alcohol per day are not suitable for rehabilitation, as withdrawing from this quantity of alcohol can have serious effects.

However, any fewer units than this should still be treated as serious cases and only mild addictions may be considered.

Withdrawal can be an incredibly risky stage of the rehabilitation process, but it must be completed nonetheless in the safest way possible.

For this reason, it is only offered to a select few who fit a specific criteria discussed in an initial assessment.

Am I eligible for an  home alcohol detox?

Two doctors in white coats and stethoscopes talking

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are only a few individuals out of many who may be suitable for a home alcohol detox.

In general, rehabilitation providers offering a home alcohol detox service will consult a select list of requirements.

Some of these are listed below:

  • The individual has never experienced alcoholic seizures as a result of withdrawing or excessive alcohol consumption
  • The individual has a consenting individual to be present throughout the detox phase of rehabilitation.
  • The individual must be able to commit a minimum of 10 days to this home alcohol detox.

If an individual does not fit any of the criteria points above, then they must start to consider alternative treatments such as residential rehab or outpatient services.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Who should not detox from alcohol at home?

An elderly man hugging his small granddaughter

Opposite to the criteria above, there are also individuals who are not suitable for a home alcohol detox.

As mentioned above, this is generally related to the individual’s history of alcohol consumption and the quantities of alcohol they consume.

However, this can lead to a number of other criteria, some of which are listed below:

  • The individual has a history of alcoholic seizures or fits
  • The individual has a history of aggression and/or violence when under the influence of alcohol or when trying to cut down
  • The individual has a chronic health issue e.g., diabetes, heart disease, lung complications, hepatitis C., or liver disease
  • The individual has experienced serious withdrawal symptoms after trying to cut down consumption in the past.

Any individual matching one or more of the criteria above should consider alternative forms of rehabilitation such as residential care or alternative outpatient services.

Should I consider a private detox clinic?

A bedroom with art on the walls and a cushion on the bed

If the individual, for one of the reasons above or any other reason, may be unsuitable for a home alcohol detox, then they could consider a private detox clinic.

Often, these are incorporated as part of a residential rehab centre, though there are also many independent establishments that also provide this form of service.

Private detox clinics, providing inpatient detox care, are specifically designed spaces in which an individual can safely undergo withdrawal.

These centres are equipped with all the resources, medications, equipment, and staff needed to withdraw from a range of substances.

Sometimes, each detox clinic will have a substance that they are specialised in assisting with the withdrawal from.

Others are more general and can assist individuals with a wide range of addictions and withdrawal needs.

Why complete a home alcohol detox?

An older man, writing on a laptop in a homely room


In the 90s, more individuals were detoxing from alcohol at home than they were in hospital or residential settings (2).

This shows the desire to withdraw from home, though, (as mentioned above) it may not be suitable for all.

However, for those for whom it is suitable, it can provide a host of benefits for the individual struggling with alcoholism.

For example, an individual living at home will generally feel more relaxed in comparison to the first few days spent within a residential detox clinic.

In addition, they may be able to continue carrying out their everyday activities and errands in some cases.

Activities such as going to the shop for themselves, cooking for themselves, and visiting friends and family regularly will all assist in individuals’ recovery time and commitment to rehabilitation.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Withdrawal symptoms

Man with his head in his hand, eyes closed, in a gesture of pain

When going through a home alcohol detox, the individual is still likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms, though these are likely to be lessened in severity due to medication associated with home detoxes.

Common symptoms are listed below:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mild aggression 
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Body tremors
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Increased sweating 

If an individual experiences any of these symptoms, they should make a note in their withdrawal diary and report them as soon as possible to their home alcohol detox supervisor.

Keeping a note of and tracking withdrawal symptoms is a great way for individuals to track their progress, as well as generally keeping on top of their detox, predicting symptoms, and making a plan for the future of their rehabilitation.

How long does home alcohol detox take?

A hand holding a phone calendar showing the year 2021

There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s detox experience and the time taken for an individual’s detox for alcohol.

An at-home detox can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days or more. This is an average of the time taken for individuals to fully overcome withdrawal symptoms and work toward the future steps of rehab.

The detox process is not a process which can be rushed; withdrawal symptoms cannot be simply ignored or cured overnight.

The individual must follow their medication and treatment programme administered by their rehabilitation service provider.

Alcohol stays in the blood for a few hours after an individual consumes an alcoholic drink and the following paragraphs outline what an individual can expect from a home alcohol detox.

12 – 24 hours

Man with beads of sweat on his forehead

The first 12 to 24 hours often bring with them the most serious initial withdrawal symptoms, making it one of the hardest stages to overcome and resulting in many individuals giving up on their detox.

Individuals who progress with the detox can expect to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms.

The most common of these include a loss of concentration and an inability to focus.

Physically, an individual may begin to sweat more and begin to experience headaches.

This can also lead to vomiting or feelings of nausea as well as the development of body tremors.

After the first 24 hours, most individuals report a decrease in the severity of withdrawal symptoms, though they may also experience hallucinations in conjunction with effects such as insomnia and lack of concentration.

Day 1-2

A man looking fraught

Most of the issues from the first 24 hours will continue into the following day, though they will often be less severe, and the individual may begin to feel better than the previous day.

The most common effects to continue into days one and two include headaches, body tremors, and stomach problems (often as a result of nausea and lack of appetite).

This is the stage in which the symptoms begin to ease off the most.

Individuals who have abstained from further drinking and consumption of alcoholic drinks may begin to feel more confident about their journey through further rehabilitation.

They may still not be able to focus on any future treatments however, until the later stages.

Day 2-3

Woman in striped light of shutters, lying in bed at night

Depending on the individual’s history of alcohol consumption and the regularity of this, the individual may experience a second round of severe symptoms.

During the next few days, the individual will be assessed for signs of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) (3) – a syndrome incorporating some of the most serious effects of an alcohol withdrawal.

Some of the most common symptoms for AWS are listed below:

  • Alcoholic seizures
  • Increased body temperature 
  • Confusion 
  • Agitation and/or aggression 

AWS is treatable but only if the symptoms are recognised soon enough.

This is why it is always recommended to have another person present during any detox as they will be able to provide emergency support if necessary.

Day 3 onwards

Woman slumped in a chair, feeling nauseous

Again, depending on the individual’s history and regularity of alcohol consumption will affect whether or not the withdrawal symptoms may worsen during day 3 and onwards or not.

For individuals with a more severe history of alcohol consumption, this will be when the withdrawal symptoms reach their most serious, sometimes requiring emergency medical interventions in some cases.

Some of the most serious effects experienced at this stage are listed below:

  • Alcoholic seizures
  • Effects on the individual’s breathing rate 
  • Effects on the individual’s heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Vivid hallucinations 

In the most serious cases, medical professionals may need to implement medical interventions such as the use of the drug Librium.

This is a drug that is used to combat the harmful negative effects of an alcohol withdrawal and make the process much safer and more comfortable when used correctly.

This is a drug commonly prescribed as part of a home alcohol detox.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Why therapy is also needed


As part of a full and effective rehabilitation, individuals should progress through all stages of a rehabilitative programme.

This may include a home detox as the detoxification stage, but an individual must also consider further rehabilitation/therapy as well as aftercare.

The main form of treatment is found within the rehabilitation stage of an individual’s rehab journey and includes a wide range of treatments. (3)

Thid includes therapies and other holistic activities that aim to support and treat the individual as they create coping mechanisms.

Therapy is essential, as it focuses on the mental health issues that an individual may experience as a result of a long-term alcohol addiction.

In combination with a full detox, therapy treats both the physical and mental health issues caused as a result of addiction.

After successfully completing these rehabilitation programmes, individuals will then be offered aftercare services – the further support and treatments offered to individuals after leaving a rehabilitation programme.

Pros & Cons of Detoxing at Home


Although some of the pros and cons of a home alcohol detox have previously been listed in this article, it is important to compare them side by side when first analysing whether or not a home detox may be for you.

Not everyone will be suitable for a home alcohol detox. However, it is still something that should be considered as a form of rehabilitative treatment for those suitable.

The benefits of a home detox:

  • Local and familiar area
  • Able to continue with some daily activities
  • Friends and family seen more often 

The drawbacks to a home detox:

  • Same environment in which the individual developed an addiction
  • Daily life may provide distractions or temptations away from their detox programme
  • Strict criteria on who is and who is not suitable for this programme
  • Individuals may feel isolated during detox

Starting on the Road to Recovery

A bumpy road

The road to recovery can seem a long way away when an individual first starts the process of rehabilitation.

However, with the right rehab programme, motivation, commitment, and engagement, any individual can work towards an addiction-free lifestyle.

No addiction is completely curable but through rehabilitation individuals are able to create coping mechanisms and tools to help them deal with their addiction in the future, even after leaving a rehab programme.

Rehab 4 Alcoholism aims to support any individual who wishes to progress with this journey, providing free and confidential advice.

We also offer support when looking for suitable rehab centres or providers of home detox programmes.

The following paragraphs outline some of the ways that individuals can continue their home detox programmes, as well as continue their long-term abstinence after rehabilitation.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

1. Focus on Hydration First


As with many wellness tips and lifestyle choices, drinking plenty of water is a priority for individuals undergoing a detox.

With symptoms such as increased sweating and anxiety, individuals are likely to experience an accelerated loss of water, requiring a greater water intake to maintain a healthy level.

In addition, an increased amount of water flowing around the body will help to wash out the harmful toxins and chemicals that have built up as a result of a long-term addiction.

If an individual drinks a glass of water with their daily medication, it may serve as a reminder to drink more water.

2. Start With a Balanced Diet

A person chopping carrots

As another daily health tip, any individual undergoing a detox or recovering from an addiction will benefit from a healthy and balanced diet.

This is because a healthy diet will include all the nutrition, minerals, and natural substances that the body requires to replace those lost as a result of alcohol addiction.

In addition, good nutrition will also allow the individual to gain energy and maintain this for daily activities, learning, physical exercise, and social lives.

3. Exercise

Woman jogging on the beach in shorts and a crop top

Exercise is one of the greatest ways to help the body restore itself to the condition it was in before the individual began struggling with addiction.

Not only does it help the body regain muscle and strength that may have been lost as a result of a long-term alcohol addiction, but it also promotes the healthy circulation of blood and minerals around the body.

In addition, exercise is known to promote positive mental health, something that may have been seriously impacted as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.

By incorporating more exercise into the individual’s lifestyle such as swimming, jogging, or yoga, they have a higher rate of success for a detox as well as for the remainder of their rehabilitation journey.

4. Meditate

Woman with head on clasped hands, eyes closed

Almost as a continuation of the exercise element of recovery, meditation can also be a harmonious way in which individuals can focus their recovery around.

By meditating, individuals give their minds an opportunity to explore different concepts such as their addiction and its origins.

This will also assist in the later stages of rehab such as therapy as the individuals will be able to discuss this within group or individual counselling, bringing an advanced understanding to their progress and the overall journey.

Meditation can be achieved by standing, sitting, or lying in a quiet room, trying to focus the mind on the breath, and gently drawing the mind back to meditation should it wander.

5. Take Your Vitamins and Minerals

A cup with capsule pills spilling out

As part of a home detox, it is expected that individuals will continue to take their medication as expected, and also any additional vitamins and minerals that are suggested to them by a medical professional or detox support officer.

These, alongside a healthy diet, exercise, and water consumption, can provide individuals with the substances that their body needs to recover.

Individuals should never take additional vitamins, minerals, or substances that are not recommended by a medical professional for a detox.

This is because they may affect the effectivity of the detox medication or the overall process of a home alcohol detox itself.

How Rehab 4 Alcoholism can help you or someone you love

Rehab 4 Alcoholism is a referral service, providing free and confidential advice to anyone struggling with addiction, whether the individual contacts us directly or through a close friend or family member.

Our addiction support line is available 24/7 on 0800 111 4108 for any questions or queries relating to rehabilitation or home alcohol detox that you may have.

To see how we can help you or someone you love, get in contact today.

A head shot of an older woman with glasses smiling


[1] Davis, C., 2018. Home detox–supporting patients to overcome alcohol addiction. Australian prescriber, 41(6), p.180.

[2] McKechnie, J., 1995. Home detoxification: ‘The time is ripe’. Drugs in Society, (2), pp.7-10.

[3] Voegtlin, W.L. and Lemere, F., 1942. The treatment of alcohol addiction: a review of the literature. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol.