Home Alcohol Detox

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or alcohol dependence, is a chronic condition that requires medical intervention and treatment. Unlike other illicit drugs, alcohol is easily obtained and is accepted in society as an approved beverage and activity.

But this makes addiction to alcohol even more dangerous: its accessibility and status in the lives of many across the globe make it difficult to spot when consumption teeters into dependence, and dependence into addiction.

When someone who is struggling with alcohol decides they have had enough of the difficulties addiction brings, they might decide to ‘get sober’ and stop drinking. But when someone has depended on alcohol for so long, the body becomes reliant on certain chemicals, and the presence of alcohol is necessary to function.

Sudden cessation of alcohol can, therefore, shock the body and can lead to harmful and serious consequences. This is why medically-assisted alcohol detox is always highly recommended. Those wishing to quit drinking at home or alone should be aware of the dangers that detoxing from alcohol brings.

Do I Need An Alcohol Detox?

In order for you to determine whether you need alcohol detox, it is vital that you or an addiction specialist assesses your consumption. It is also vital to understand the difference between binge-drinking, and chronic alcoholism. While all forms of alcohol dependence or abuse can be dangerous and require specialist treatment, the need for detox depends on the amount, frequency and type of alcohol you drink.

For example, if you consume large amounts of alcohol regularly, perhaps at weekends or parties, then it is unlikely that you need a detox. You may benefit from an intervention or alcohol abuse services, but your body is unlikely to be reliant on alcohol.

If, however, you drink daily and feel like you need alcohol to function, then it is likely you need to detox. Some common indicators that a medically-assisted detox is necessary are withdrawal symptoms when you try and stop, such as vomiting, shaking or sweating, or if you drink in the morning and carry a drink with you throughout the day.

When you contact our admissions team, we will provide a medical questionnaire to assess the nature and severity of your drinking. Some questions we will ask include:

  • How frequently do you drink?
  • How much do you drink per session?
  • What type of drinks do you normally consume?
  • Does drinking cause problems in your life?
  • Are you symptomatic of alcohol addiction?
  • Have you ever been arrested or charged due to incidents related to alcohol?
  • Has alcohol caused relationship breakdowns?
  • Do you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking alcohol?

Looking for advice?

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free support & guidance on alcohol addiction, detox & recovery. Call us today on 0800 111 41 08.

How Our Home Detox Works

The costs associated with private rehab put many people off residential treatment. Which is why home detox is increasing in popularity. A medically-guided home detox from a certified addiction specialist or organisation follows a similar process to rehab.

Home detox is not recommended for the chronic alcoholic due to the onset of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms experienced during the ‘acute’ withdrawal phase of detoxification. When you choose home detox our medical professional travels to your home. Typically this is a doctor. The doctor judges your suitability for home detox.

The major difference is the location. Home detox allows the individual to stay within the comfort of their own home and continue to attend any work or personal obligations. But we must emphasise that although home detox is more personal and familiar, it should not under any circumstances be done alone.

A guided home detox consists of a medical professional gradually weaning you off alcohol, as opposed to you suddenly stopping your intake. This can be done through tapering schedules, which is when you gradually drink less and less alcohol until your intake is nil.

Home alcohol detox also involves medication, such as Disulfiram and Antabuse, to combat the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and help your body recover from the effects of alcohol and its absence during the detox phase.

Am I Eligible For A Home Detox?

Your safety is paramount during any detox programme which is why it is crucial for you to look at the requirements below and see if you are suitable for an alcohol home detox:

  • There needs to be someone who can sit with you through the entire detox process, and who is capable of phoning for help in an emergency
  • You do not suffer from and have never had, a seizure. This relates to both alcohol-based seizures and regular seizures
  • A period of 10 days can be set aside to complete the detox process and recover before returning to work or duties
  • You are not consuming more than 30 units a day
  • If you are an exception to any of the above statements, then a home detox is not suitable for you. You need to attend inpatient treatment or a hospital addiction programme to ensure you detox from alcohol safely

When Should You Not Detox From Alcohol At Home?

Other important considerations before detoxing at home are listed below. If you are someone who:

  • Has a history of seizures
  • Suffers from depression
  • Has an underlying medical condition such as heart disease, hepatitis, or coronavirus
  • Becomes violent or aggressive when intoxicated or when sobering up
  • Has a history of mental illness
  • Takes benzodiazepines or other opiate-based medication
  • Is pregnant

Then you should not detox at home. Call up a residential rehab and ask for advice on your situation. Home detox is not suitable for you and could lead to serious danger – for yourself and others.

What Is The Alcohol Home Detox Process?

In terms of the detoxification process, home detox is very similar to the process in a residential rehab or a partial-hospitalisation programme. The steps are as follows:

  1. Assessment: This step is performed by a medical professional to see if the detox process is necessary, and to foresee any risks that could occur. This will either by a doctor, nurse, or addiction specialist who will then advise the detox team on how to proceed to step 2
  2. Medication: After step 1, medication is prescribed and administered which is the start of the detox process. After three hours, withdrawal symptoms will begin to develop. These will be overseen by the nurse or detox supervisor, and medication will be administered when required over the next few hours and days
  3. Monitoring: The medical specialist will assess and monitor the patient throughout the process, administering more medication when necessary, and checking vitals to see if any vitamins or alternative therapies could help alleviate withdrawal symptoms

The medical expert has two roles during this process: to offer support, counselling and medication in order to relieve withdrawal symptoms; and to look out for any serious medical emergencies. This is the only difference between a guided home detox programme, and an attempted self-detox at home.

Book your alcohol home detox today

Interested in our home alcohol detox programme? Contact us today on 0800 111 41 08 for more advice & to discover your options.

Choosing To Self-Detox At Home

When someone decides to stop drinking, they often think it’s as easy as that and they only have to put down the drink. But unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. People recognise this and seek assistance for a medical detox, which is a wise move. But choosing to detox at home is a brave and very risky decision.

You should remember that self-detox is not safe nor wise without supervision and that detox at home is much harder than in a residential facility. This is because a home detox does not remove you from the trigger-filled environment, and triggers and stressors can occur at any moment. Research indicates that the risk of relapse is six times higher during home detox, as opposed to inpatient or even outpatient rehab.

When considering a home detox, you should remember that you will be in the environment that caused, or enabled your drinking in the first place. Old habits and bad influences will knock on your door, and it will take a lot of willpower to say no.

When withdrawal symptoms become too much to bear, the thought will run through your head to visit your nearest shop or off-licence and buy more alcohol. This can be prevented and worked through with many strategies, but it’s vital you know these risks going in. If you do decide to detox at home, here’s what you can do to give yourself the best chance:

  • Get rid of all alcohol in your home, or in any places you may visit during the home detox period.
  • Set yourself enough time to detox by booking time off work, setting aside responsibilities and obligations for a week or so
  • Seek support from people who are aware of your condition and who will be able to help you in a medical emergency
  • Ensure you have access to medication, whether that’s through your GP, a referral service, or another organisation
  • Read up on withdrawal symptoms and what to expect so you know the more serious signs to look out for
  • Stock up on healthy, nutritious meals that will aid your recovery
  • Delete and block (maybe temporarily if possible) from your social media or phonebook the contact numbers of people who would negatively influence you during detox
  • Arrange some easy-going, relaxing or distracting activities to undertake during this period such as renting a movie, getting a crossword book, or enjoying a warm bath

The Pros & Cons of Detoxing At Home

Home detox for alcohol delivers effective treatment for eliminating dangerous toxins from the body. When done with correct guidance and supervision, it can help the individual taper off alcohol safely, reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the risk of serious consequences.

It also offers medication to help keep the individual most comfortable, and the medical supervisor will check up on vitals regularly. Alcohol home detox only offers help and advice on further treatment for your alcohol addiction but does not address the psychological components of addiction.

It merely tackles the physical aspects of your dependence and does not look into the reasons or compulsions behind your behaviour. Because of this, home detox is only effective for carrying out the first phase of addiction treatment and stops there. Rehabilitation, therapy and aftercare are all required for a successful recovery from alcoholism.

Below we have listed the pros and cons of detoxing from alcohol at home:

Pros of home detox:

  • Reduces costs dramatically compared to private rehab
  • Allows the individual to detox from their own home
  • No major disruption to work/ personal life
  • Ability to continue childcare or care for the elderly
  • Familiarity and normality without attending rehab
  • Allows a partner or spouse insight into the withdrawal and detox process
  • Maintain an element of independence and autonomy

Cons of home detox:

  • High-risk of long-term damage if detox is done unsupervised
  • Major risk of relapse during withdrawal with access to alcohol
  • Interference from external factors and stressors
  • Housemates/ relatives may be disturbed watching their loved one undergo detox
  • No further access to therapy or rehabilitation
  • Does not address the mental aspect of addiction
  • Individual must sort out their own food and nutrition
  • Environments can be unsuitable
  • Triggers and bad influences can crop up

One of the main advantages of home detox is the limited amount of time it can take. Patients can take a week off work and tell employers or colleagues that they are going on holiday. This helps avoid any questions, and unlike private rehab which can take longer, evokes no red tape regarding informing your employer.

The Importance Of A Medically-Assisted Detox

Supervised or medically-assisted detox is important for the patient’s physical and psychiatric health. It helps prevent serious repercussions such as relapse, health complications, overdose, or mental health problems. No detox programme or schedule can guarantee the absence of mental or physical problems, but when medical assistance is provided, the patient will feel supported and have access to effective treatments.

The chance of relapse is far less probable during a medically-assisted detox as the patient won’t feel ‘left to their own devices’ and will have plans in place to cope with cravings. Withdrawal symptoms will be managed with medicine and medical care, as opposed to the self-medication of alcohol. Round-the-clock care is essential for detox, to stop the rise short-term and long-term medical conditions.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox At Home Take?

Each individual is different and detox times may vary, but the general advised detox period is ten days. This allows enough time for the alcohol in your system to completely disseminate, and hopefully allows enough time to pass for withdrawal symptoms to become bearable.

For alcohol home detox, we recommend taking a week off work where possible. For those who cannot take that much time off, seven days is doable. But speaking to your employer and requesting ten days off is the safest option. This is because withdrawal symptoms can sometimes disturb the body and the brain and could affect your ability to perform workplace tasks.

For more information on the withdrawal symptom timeline and sample tapering off schedule, read further on down this page.

Looking for more help?

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice & guidance on addiction, substance abuse, and recovery. Call us today on 0800 111 41 08.

How To Safely Taper Off Alcohol At Home

As we have highlighted, suddenly stopping your alcohol intake is dangerous and a ‘tapering off’ technique is generally approved. This means gradually reducing your intake day by day, to stop the onset of sudden withdrawal symptoms.

Your tapering schedule will depend on the severity of your alcohol addiction, how much and how long you have been drinking, and some other personal factors. To gauge how much you drink, you or your detox provider should be the first look at what the National Institute of Alcohol Alcoholism defines as a ‘standard drink:’

  • 12 ounces of 5% beer
  • 5 ounces of 12% wine
  • 1.5 ounces of 40% spirit

We’re aware that the alcohol content in each drink varies, and that some drinks are stronger or may appear to get you feeling drunk more than others. This is why experts recommend tapering off using beer, as this drink is the hardest to ‘feel drunk’ from.

You will start the tapering schedule with the maximum number of drinks and will gradually reduce your intake each day until you reach sobriety. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, you should let your detox provider know and they will administer medication to help those feelings subside.

Sample Tapering At Home Schedule For Alcohol

If you’re thinking of tapering from alcohol at home, make sure to speak to your doctor and figure out a proper tapering off the timeline. This will ensure your safety and will make the process worthwhile. The general tapering off schedule is outlined below.

This schedule is recommended by HAMS for those who drink more than 20 beers per day, and includes 8 hours of sleep:

  1. Day 1: one beer per hour for the next 16 hours
  2. Day 2: one beer per hour and a half, until you have drunk 10 beers
  3. Day 3: consume eight beers throughout the course of the day
  4. Day 4: consume six beers throughout the course of the day
  5. Day 5: consume four beers throughout the course of the day
  6. Day 6: consume two beers throughout the course of the day
  7. Day 7: zero beers

If you drink less than 20 beers per day, it is recommended that you start with 10 beers on day one, drinking two beers less each day until you reach zero beers on day seven.

Physical Vs Psychological Withdrawal

Detoxing from alcohol can evoke psychological symptoms, but because it is a substance that alters the way the body functions, the physical withdrawal is riskier and more dangerous. Psychological withdrawal refers to drugs or substances that an individual cannot become physically addicted to (cannabis, cocaine, tobacco) but feel like they are addicted.

Thus, the withdrawal symptoms associated with psychological withdrawal are not necessarily a threat to health, but to mental health. Psychological withdrawal can incur depression, mood swings, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation. They can last for months or even years and are treated with therapy and/or medication to stabilise mood.

Physical withdrawal, on the other hand, occurs when an individual has become physically reliant on a substance. The components of the brain that are responsible for normal functioning have become so dependent on alcohol; it cannot function normally without it.

When the person suddenly stops drinking, the parts of the brain that were used to it go into a period of abnormal withdrawal, until the body and brain readjust to functioning without it.

Withdrawal Symptoms To Expect During Alcohol Home Detox

When detoxing from alcohol, no matter how severe your addiction is, you will experience some unpleasant common withdrawal symptoms which include:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Racing Heart
  • Fever-Like Symptoms
  • Lack Of Coordination
  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Blood pressure increase

These are all typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and as long as you are following a medically-assisted detox, you should be fine. They are not pleasant to experience but have faith that these feelings will end when you get to the end of the detox process.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

When an individual who heavily relies on alcohol stops drinking, they experience withdrawal symptoms which is called ‘alcohol withdrawal syndrome.’ This term generally applies medically to anyone who experiences symptoms when they stop drinking, but in terms of alcohol addiction, AWS refers to when an individual stops drinking.

AWS begins up to six hours after the last drink, so those who suspect they are alcohol dependent should note down the time they drink their last drink, and then note down when they start to feel anxious, shaking, and sweating etc.

It’s important to remember that alcohol withdrawal symptoms are normal, and mean that the detox process is working. Symptoms can range between mild and severe, and unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how serious they will be until the detox process begins.

Medically-assisted detox is vital to preserving the patient’s health, and to also ward off a condition known as ‘delirium tremens.’ This withdrawal symptom is due to a huge shift in the way the nervous system works. It is a serious side-effect of withdrawal and requires immediate medical intervention if suspected. Some of the side-effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Intense Shaking
  • Delusions
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Convulsions
  • Shock
  • Dehydration
  • Cardiac Arrest

Don’t detox alone

Attempting an alcohol detox without medical assistance can be life-threatening. Call us today on 0800 111 41 08 to explore your options. Let us help you.

Withdrawal Timeline For An Alcohol Home Detox

Alcohol detox takes up to one week generally, but can sometimes take longer if the addiction is more severe. The duration of the detox process depends on a few varying factors which include your age, general health, how long you have been drinking, and how much you have been drinking.

Below we offer a breakdown of the symptoms per hour:

  1. The first six hours: you will experience minor withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea, slight shaking and a dry mouth
  2. 12 to 24 hours: these withdrawal symptoms will become more intense and you may experience vomiting, tremors, excessive sweating, and will have difficulty concentrating
  3. 36 to 48 hours: after the first 24 hours, withdrawal symptoms should begin to subside and on days two to three after detox, you will still experience headache and tremors, and stomach issue may occur as the gut becomes accustomed to digesting without alcohol
  4. 72 to 96 hours: days three to four indicate a lot about your condition. Those experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms should see them subside greatly, whereas patients with severe withdrawal symptoms will experience delirium tremens, a spike in body temperature, hallucinations, confusion and seizures. If you do experience the latter symptoms, it is vital you seek emergency medical intervention
  5. 96 hours onwards: for those with mild withdrawal symptoms, day four onwards is when your experience of detox will seem to go uphill. Body temperatures, functions and heart rates should begin to settle. However, those experiencing severe withdrawal could continue living with seizures, agitation, confusion and a racing heart for up to four weeks

How To Treat Alcohol Withdrawal

First and foremost, alcohol withdrawal is treated with medication to alleviate discomfort and to stop any medical emergencies. During a home alcohol detox, you will be given a tapering schedule by your detox provider and a prescription drug plan which will be administered by a nurse. This nurse will visit your home daily to ensure your medication is delivered, and to look out for any severe symptoms that could cause alarm.

You will initially receive a high dose of medication on days one to two of your detox, to aid the body as much as possible. This dosage will decrease daily until the detox process has ended, and you will then be advised on a medication plan by your doctor for the following weeks.

Vitamins may also be prescribed to address the lack of nutrients and deficiencies caused by alcohol addiction. These will help your body recover quicker and may make you feel better too. Alcohol withdrawal for detox at home can also be treated with diet and home remedies which we will look at below.

It is important to note that during an alcohol home detox, you will only be given medication for as long as the detox process takes. Our caregivers will ensure you are comfortable and safe, but after that, it is down to you and your family to ensure your own comfort.

While nurses will visit daily to check out for any medical emergencies and will be on call to address dangerous symptoms, you will not be under 24-hour medical supervision. This is the major difference between inpatient rehab and home alcohol detox.

Types Of Medications To Aid With Home Detox

Modern medicine means alcohol detox can be treated far more advanced than it has been in the past. Medications have now been researched and developed to help those battling with alcohol addiction and withdrawal in three different ways. The first is to aid the patient in the detox process by administering medicine which assists bodily functions back to a normal state now alcohol has been removed.

The second approach is to supplement medication during therapy and maintenance stages to support the body in the vitamins and nutrients it has lacked during long periods of alcohol abuse. The third method is the most interesting and involves medication which helps curb alcohol cravings. This type of medicine works in different ways:

  1. One medication, Naltrexone, works by blocking receptors in the brain that drive us to drink. This reduces the pleasure patients get out of drinking by putting the brain under less pressure.
  2. The second medication, Acamprosate, works by halting a certain channel the brain functions on when it is reliant on drink. It interacts with the GABA receptors in the brain and helps stabilise the interceptors damaged by alcohol abuse. This reduces withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness and insomnia
  3. The third medication, Disulfiram, intends to deter people from drinking by producing extremely unpleasant side-effects if someone does relapse after or during detox. These include vomiting, a hangover-like feeling, and headaches

Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly used drugs during alcohol detox to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Beta-blockers are also used in more severe cases to stop the risk of heart attacks or sudden alcohol death syndrome.

The Importance Of Diet In Alcohol Home Detox

Nutrition is of vital importance during detox. Not only does it promote overall good health and make the patient feel better, but it can also aid the recovery process by replenishing the body with the vitamins and nutrients it requires. Because alcohol disrupts the way the body absorbs vitamins, we have listed the following steps to aid you in your recovery:

  1. Ensure you stay hydrated: alcohol dehydrates the body in the first place, and combined with the side-effects of withdrawal (Sweating, vomiting and increased heart rate) the body’s water stores can drop dramatically
  2. Eat a balanced diet: once you are able to eat again, it’s important to fuel your body in the correct way to restore energy and all the nourishment it has lost. Eat plenty of greens and fruit, and don’t ignore your carbohydrates including wheat, grains, and proteins
  3. Take vitamins or minerals: the downsides of home detox are that you will only receive the basic medication – not vitamins and minerals. You are responsible for this element during home detox, so stock up on vitamins B, C, E, and calcium.

Alcohol Home Detox And Relapse Risk

One of the major risks of alcohol home detox is the likelihood the patient will relapse. This is significantly more common in home detoxes than those in medically-supported facilities. The individual may decide that withdrawal symptoms are too unpleasant or the outcome (sobriety) is not worth waiting through the pain for.

Mental health issues may arise and make it almost impossible for the patient to resist going back to old ways, which is admittedly very easy in a non-rehab setting. The urge can be too great, or perhaps triggers occur that mentally drives the individual to drink.

More worryingly, when an individual decides to relapse during detox, there is a higher risk of overdose. This is because the body has become slightly accustomed to functioning without the substance, and is then suddenly overthrown with a new hit.

The individual could also think they ‘need more’ alcohol given the fact they have detoxed, and could consume an extreme amount of alcohol to feel the effect. Relapse and the risk of overdose is a huge concern during alcohol home detox.

The Dangers Of Detoxing At Home

As well as overdose, there are multiple risks of alcohol home detox that you should be aware of. These are listed below:

1. Relapse: relapsing, again and again, can be severely harmful to the body. Each time an individual detoxes and then relapses, it begins a process called ‘kindling’

2. Mental health issues: without the correct support via therapy from rehab centres or inpatient programmes, the individual undergoing a home alcohol detox can develop a variety of mental health problems. Patients often feel depressed, anxious, paranoid, or may experience insomnia, which can be a scary ordeal when going through a medical process

3. Other medical complications: although our detox providers have a duty to administer medication and ensure your safety and health, home alcohol detox is simply not as safe as a detox in a rehab facility. This is because 24-hour supervision cannot be guaranteed at home.

We will do our best to look out for, prevent and treat any unprecedented medical issues during detox, but of course, without round-the-clock care, you are more at risk of medical complications during a home alcohol detox

What Happens After Home Detox?

One of the major drawbacks of home detox is the lack of therapy and counselling sessions once detoxification is complete. Residential rehabilitation provides an extended element of therapy and counselling sessions ensuring emotional triggers of addiction are tackled. The availability of counselling and therapy sessions following a successful home detox depends on the rehabilitation centre administering your home detox.

Counselling and therapy sessions may be offered on an outpatient basis for an additional fee. Home detox patients are encouraged to attend Alcoholics Anonymous sessions in their local area. Alcoholic’s Anonymous sessions are of course free of charge.

How Much Does A Home Alcohol Detox Cost?

Every home alcohol detox case is different, and costs vary according to the medicine required, the level of care needed, and any other factors. But generally, our home alcohol detox programme costs between $1,800- $2,000. In this price you will receive:

  • An initial assessment with our detox specialist via skype, telephone, or in-person if required
  • A course of medication which will be delivered to your door – you don’t need to worry about collecting it from a doctors or chemist
  • Access to a helpline where we can answer any worries or questions you may have during the alcohol detox process

Make A Home Detox Appointment Today

Rehab 4 Alcoholism offers safe and secure alcohol addiction treatment throughout the United Kingdom. Centres are typically residential in nature and offer a diverse range of treatment plans depending on the severity of addiction and personal wishes of the patient.

Start your home detox now

Call Rehab 4 Alcoholism today on 0800 111 41 08 for advice & guidance on beginning your home alcohol detox, or complete our enquiry form.

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