Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
Can you treat alcohol withdrawal at home?

Withdrawing from substances at home is never advised due to the severe medical complications that can potentially arise. While we can never force someone to go into a recovery centre to withdraw, we can make sure you have the correct information to hand to understand the risk associated with withdrawing or detoxing at home.

Deciding to reduce or completely stop your alcohol addiction is a tough decision to make. Withdrawing will be one of the most brutal battles you fight, with several possible life-threatening effects that could arise. Amazingly, you want to become clean and begin a new chapter of your life free from alcohol; however, these processes must be done with medical assistance.

The risks of at-home alcohol withdrawal

Many individuals seem to be under the impression that withdrawal from alcohol isn’t that dangerous at all. Many believe you will feel ill and get the shakes, followed by a fever-like illness for a couple of days. This thought process could not be further from the truth; withdrawing from alcohol is extremely dangerous and should be taken just as seriously as withdrawing from drugs. A range of severe, potentially life-threatening risks is involved with withdrawing from alcohol, especially when doing it alone.

When you initially begin to stop drinking alcoholic substances, the body will naturally react with a series of withdrawal symptoms, usually with each one getting more severe. These symptoms are often rather painful and challenging to manage without medical intervention and can often last for weeks, if not months. The sudden stop of alcohol can leave an individual mental and physical state in absolute bits, causing the following hazardous effects:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Death

Whilst the above effects are rare, you never quite know how your body and mental state will respond to the initial withdrawal of alcohol. There is no point in putting yourself at risk and making withdrawal alone.

Furthermore, if you have used or become addicted to additional substances, your withdrawal symptoms and effects will often be worse and unpredictable. The following substances are known to make alcohol withdrawal worse:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Meth
  • Prescriptive medication
  • Opioids

The risk of relapse for individuals who choose to tackle withdrawal alone is much higher. The pain and anguish from the withdrawal symptoms become too much, and the individual will begin drinking again. This then begins a vicious cycle of attempting to withdraw alone and relapsing. When you allow yourself to be entered into an alcohol treatment facility, you will be taken from your hostile environment and away from your bad habits.

The pros and cons of withdrawing at home

Alcohol withdrawal is a terrifying, dangerous process for anyone; we always advise you to seek medical intervention before you begin. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will often be very severe; however, the severity of an individual’s symptoms will depend upon a range of factors which can be seen to include:

  • Age
  • Longevity of the addiction
  • Gender

Pros of withdrawing at home

The pros of withdrawal are minor and will not keep you safe mentally or physically. The pros can be seen to include:

No financial obligations: Withdrawing at home means you have no financial commitment; however, when your symptoms worsen, you will have no medical assistance, and the likelihood of relapse is exceptionally high.

The comfort of your home: Being at home is a comfort to many. When individuals know they will go through hard times, sometimes being home allows you to feel at ease, but again there will be no medical assistance.

Confidentiality: There will be absolutely no record that you had an addiction nor that you needed help for an addiction. When they are not ready to accept their addiction, individuals will often attempt to get clean on their own, leaving them in a horrible cycle of trying and relapsing.

The cons of withdrawing from home are many; these can be seen to include:

  • Significantly higher risk of mental health issues worsening.
  • Higher risk of the individual developing permanent physical health effects and complications
  • Significant increase in the likelihood of relapsing and setbacks
  • Lack of necessary medication to reduce pain
  • There is always a risk of harming the relationships you hold dear to you when you are not in the right state of mind by withdrawing.

What to eat during withdrawal at home

If you withdraw from alcohol at home alone, you must keep your body well nourished. When you withdraw, food will be the last thing on your mind; however, eating the right food is essential. Eating nutritious foods will ensure your body is metabolizing properly and utilizing all the necessary nutrients.

Focus on your hydration

Alcohol withdrawal will often cause a variety of symptoms which can be seen to include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Trembling

These symptoms will be witnessed and most severe within the initial 24 and 72 hours after the alt drink is taken, which will often limit the ability to want to eat.

Ensuring you drink plenty of fluids during your withdrawal will keep your body hydrated to eliminate as many toxins as possible. There are a variety of fluids you can drink that can be seen to include:

  • Water
  • Juice
  • Gelatine
  • Ice pops
  • Orange juice

Take minerals and vitamins

When you begin your withdrawal in an outpatient or inpatient facility, you will often be prescribed medication to help ease the withdrawal symptoms. If you decide to withdraw at home, you will not have that luxury; however, there are a variety of vitamins and minerals you can buy in preparation for your withdrawal to help remove toxins from the body. These can be seen to include:

  • Vitamin B
  • Multivitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium

Have a balanced diet

Once you begin eating again and have some appetite, focusing on eating a healthy diet is vital. Ensuring your body is full of foods from a variety of groups will ensure you are meeting your caloric needs. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits; make a smoothie if you don’t like to eat them raw. However, ensure you do not neglect the importance of protein and whole grains.

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