Alcohol Detox at Home

Going Through Alcohol Detox Without Medical Support

Do you have alcohol dependence? Are you thinking about doing an alcohol detox at home? Detox is often one of the most challenging yet ultimately rewarding processes that someone can go through. In this article, we give you advice on how to prepare a home alcohol detox.

Note that this process can be dangerous and that it is far better to do an alcohol detox with trained professionals who can give you professional medical advice.

Keep reading to learn about the risks of trying to detox from alcohol at home, and how Icarus Behavioral Health in New Mexico offers assistance for exactly this situation!

How to Prepare to do an Alcohol Detox At Home

How to Prepare to do an Alcohol Detox At Home

Here are a few of the things that you need to think about before attempting an alcohol detox at home. Be aware before doing this that cold-turkey alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Before beginning your alcohol detox at home, it is essential to gather all of the necessary supplies and prepare your environment. This includes stocking up on nutritious, non-alcoholic food and drinks that will help nourish you through the process, as well as any medications or supplements that may be recommended or prescribed by your doctor. Additionally, you will need to create a comfortable and safe space to detox in, where you can relax and de-stress.

Understand the Detox Process

It is also important to have a good understanding of what alcohol detox entails before beginning the process at home. Alcohol withdrawal and detox can be difficult and uncomfortable, so it is important to be aware of potential physical and psychological symptoms that may arise. Educating yourself on the process will help you better prepare for what lies ahead.

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Have a Plan

Having an organized plan in place can also be beneficial when attempting an at-home alcohol detox. Make sure to have someone available who can check in on you regularly to ensure that the detox is going smoothly. Additionally, having a designated person or people in place who can support you throughout the process can be incredibly helpful.

Find Sober Supports

It is also important to find supportive resources outside of your home that can help you with your alcohol detox journey. Such resources may include addiction counselors, support groups such as AA meetings in Albuquerque, and online programs. Having a solid team of professionals or peers to turn to during difficult times can make all the difference in the success of your detox.

Stay Committed

Finally, it is important to remain committed to your alcohol detox process even when things get tough. Acknowledge that progress may be slow at times, but trust that each day you are one step closer to your goal of sobriety. Remember to take things one day at a time and be proud of every accomplishment, no matter how small.

Reasons to Avoid Alcohol Detox at Home

Reasons to Avoid Alcohol Detox

We’ve taken a little look at how you could do alcohol detoxification, but the truth is that if you are able to, you should always do an alcohol detox in a medically supervised detox. Here are some of the reasons for this.

You are Isolating Yourself

One of the main reasons why doing an alcohol detox at home is not recommended is because it isolates you from professional help and support. When you go through a detox, you need access to medical professionals who can make sure that you are safe and comfortable. If you have any underlying health conditions, they will also be able to monitor you closely and make sure that the detox is not making your condition worse.

Being Around Other People Helps

In addition, being around other people who are going through the same thing as you can be very helpful. It can help you feel less alone and can provide you with a sense of solidarity. You may even be able to learn from each other about different coping mechanisms and resources that can help you throughout the detox process. If you attempt to do this at home, however, you will not have access to these important resources.

It Can be Dangerous and Even Deadly

Another reason why doing an alcohol detox at home is not recommended is that it can be dangerous. Detoxing from alcohol can have serious side effects such as seizures, delirium tremens, and even death. If you are attempting to do this without professional help, you may not recognize the signs of an emergency until it is too late.

You May be Tempted to Use Dangerous OTC Medicines

In addition, if you are detoxing at home, you may be tempted to use over-the-counter medication or other substances to ease the symptoms. This can have serious consequences as these substances could interact with the alcohol in your system and make the situation worse.

You Might Not Have Access to the Necessary Resources

When you attempt to do an alcohol detox at home, you may not have access to the necessary resources to be successful. This includes things like a doctor or therapist who is familiar with your condition and can provide guidance on how best to manage your alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

You Will Not Have Access to Medicines

In addition, doing a detox from alcohol at home without professional help means that you may not have access to medications designed for treating alcohol withdrawal that can help lessen the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. These medications can be an important part of a successful detox as they can make the process much easier and more comfortable.

These medicines can only be legally prescribed during a medical alcohol detox.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a widely accepted form of treatment for alcohol detoxification. MAT provides the patient with medication to help reduce cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and other adverse effects associated with alcohol addiction.

What are the Most Often Used MAT medicines for Alcohol?

The most commonly prescribed medications used in MAT include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. Acamprosate helps to reduce alcohol cravings, allowing patients to focus on their recovery without feeling the need to drink.

Disulfiram works by preventing the breakdown of alcohol in the body, creating an unpleasant reaction when combined with alcohol and making it difficult for individuals to continue drinking. Naltrexone blocks opiate receptors in the brain, reducing the pleasurable effects of alcohol and helping patients to abstain from drinking.

Why is MAT so Effective?

MAT is an effective treatment option for alcohol abuse and addiction because it helps to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. By providing medication to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, MAT gives patients the tools they need to successfully detox from alcohol.

MAT is usually used alongside psychosocial therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and supportive counseling which can help clients to address underlying issues that may have contributed to their alcohol use disorder.

MAT as Part of a Professional Detox

Medication-assisted treatment is not a silver bullet; it requires commitment and dedication from both the patient and medical staff in order for it to be successful. However, MAT has been proven to be an effective tool for helping individuals detox from alcohol and can make the process of recovery more manageable.

If you are considering medication-assisted treatment as a form of alcohol detox, speak with your doctor or another medical professional to ensure that it is the right choice for you.

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What are the Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

One of the most common and serious consequences of alcohol abuse is going through withdrawal when drinking stops or is significantly reduced. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases can be deadly. It’s important to know what to expect if you are considering quitting drinking, or if you have a loved one who is.

Anxiety and Restlessness

One of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, when you detox from alcohol, is anxiety and restlessness. People going through withdrawal may experience an increase in their normal level of anxiousness or even panic attacks, as well as feelings of restlessness that can make it difficult to concentrate on anything else. They may also have difficulty sleeping and experience restlessness even when lying down.

Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea

Another common alcohol withdrawal symptom when you detox from alcohol is nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. People going through withdrawal may find that their stomachs are uncomfortable and they feel like they have to vomit but can’t. Diarrhea is also common and can cause dehydration if not managed properly.


One of the more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms is tremors or shaking. This can be a particularly frightening experience as it can happen without warning and often feels like an earthquake inside your body. It’s important to seek medical help if tremors are particularly bad and/or last longer than a few hours.


Another one of the severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is hallucinations. People may see, hear, or feel things that aren’t actually there. Hallucinations can be terrifying and the person experiencing them may not understand what’s happening.


One of the most serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms is seizures. Seizures can be very dangerous and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of a seizure include violent shaking, loss of consciousness, and/or uncontrolled movements.


Depression can be another alcohol withdrawal symptom following alcohol abuse. People in alcohol withdrawal may find themselves feeling incredibly down and sad all the time, lacking motivation or energy to do anything else. This is due to the body trying to adjust back to functioning without alcohol.

Irregular Heartbeat

Another possible symptom of alcohol withdrawal is an irregular heartbeat. This can be caused by the body’s sudden lack of alcohol, and people may feel like their heart is skipping beats or beating too fast. You may also experience high blood pressure.


Insomnia is another common symptom of alcohol withdrawal. People may find themselves unable to sleep for long stretches and can feel exhausted during the day as a result.

Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens is one of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and can be life-threatening. This condition is characterized by confusion, hallucinations, fever, seizures, and other worrying signs. People with delirium tremens require immediate medical attention.

Underlying Mental Health Problems and Alcohol Detox

Underlying Mental Health Problems and Alcohol Detox

The important thing to remember when addressing alcoholism is that it is not just a physical problem – it is often rooted in underlying mental health issues and behavioral health conditions. Those treating alcoholism should look beyond the physical symptoms and address any underlying psychological conditions as well.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems can trigger and/or perpetuate an alcoholic’s dependence on alcohol. Mental health problems can often be addressed with the help of psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Treatment for alcoholism should include examining any psychological components that may be present and addressing them appropriately.

Addressing your underlying mental health disorder is also important because it can reduce relapses and improve the chances for long-term recovery from alcoholism. When a person is able to get to the root of their mental health issues, they are better equipped to address their dependency on alcohol.

An Example Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

If you’re considering quitting drinking, it is important to understand the timeline for alcohol withdrawal. Every person’s experience will be unique, but there are general patterns that tend to occur.

6-8 hours

Within 6 to 8 hours of your last drink, you may begin to experience mild symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety and difficulty sleeping. As time passes, these symptoms may become more severe.

12-24 hours

Within 12 to 24 hours of your last drink, you may start to experience physical symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. You will also feel physically weak and restless.

48-72 hours

By 48 to 72 hours after your last drink, you may experience agitation, tremors, sweating, and difficulty concentrating. In addition, you may experience auditory and visual hallucinations, a rapid heart rate, and seizures. Alcohol withdrawal is likely to peak after 72 hours and gradually become milder.

‘Note that you may still get post-acute withdrawal symptoms months after your acute detox period. Remember that the timeline for alcohol withdrawal can vary depending on a number of factors such as how much alcohol you’ve consumed over time and your general health.

To manage your withdrawal safely and effectively, make sure you seek professional medical help. Withdrawal can be a dangerous process, so having a doctor or nurse monitor you during detox can ensure your safety and well-being.

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Get Help Quitting Alcohol with Safety and Support

We hope that after reading this article you understand the danger and extreme unpleasantness involved in doing an alcohol detox at home. Seeking alcohol addiction treatment in a safe and supportive environment simply is the better choice.

Contact Icarus Behavioral Health for more information on how our medical detox with licensed medical professionals can support you to get sober. All calls are completely confidential, so please reach out now to get options for yourself or a loved one to find lasting recovery!

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