How To Detox From Alcohol: 7 Methods To Detox

How to detox from alcohol

Every person addicted to alcohol comes to a juncture when they feel that they have had enough. Blacking out, waking up hungover, and clueless about what had happened last night feels very uncomfortable. The realization comes when you feel you should stop drinking alcohol. This is the time when you take the first step towards recovery. But how to detox from alcohol?

Alcoholism greatly affects the person who is struggling with addiction. At this time, detox is the only way out. Although, alcohol at-home detox can be very dangerous. It is highly recommended to detox from alcohol at a rehab facility.

However, alcohol withdrawal is not easy, and not all can do it independently. This is why detoxification of alcohol and its withdrawal treatment is carried out by medical professionals at rehab facilities.

How To Detox From Alcohol

However, if someone decides to detox from alcohol at home, these tips can help him effectively with self-detox from alcohol.

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1. Keep Some Time to Focus on Detox

This is a challenging process and can take a few days or even weeks. However, it depends on the severity of the addiction.

2. Dispose of all Alcohol from your Home

Avoid keeping alcohol stocks at home, and stay away from those areas where you can easily get alcohol.

3. Ask for Support

 Ask someone to help you with detoxing from alcohol. If something goes wrong, medical professionals can also be alerted immediately.

4. Take Less Alcohol

 Increase the length of detox from alcohol. However, this can reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms of alcohol.

i) Engage in Something that can help you to Avoid Alcohol Triggers

Start a new hobby, or engage in something that can keep you focused on things that do not involve drinking alcohol.

ii) Do Exercise

 Going for a walk or doing yoga can effectively help you detox from alcohol.

iii) Attend 12-Step Meetings for Self-Detox

 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings can be attended online. Moreover, they do not require commitment from attendees.

Alcohol Detoxification

First of all, you should treat alcoholism through the detoxification stage. In this process, the alcohol in your body will be swiped off clearly.

The withdrawal symptoms start typically within two or three weeks, right after the detox process. Sometimes alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening symptoms, which totally depends on the alcohol use.

You can go for different activities like discussions, treatment, and support options when detoxification is completed.

Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms can be very mild and even can cause death. The withdrawal symptoms that you will experience will be based on the tenure and gravity of alcohol use.

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Those people who suffer from overdrinking for years may face critical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. However, some of them also experience seizures or Delirium Tremens (DTs).

i) Subsidiary Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Include

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

ii) Vital Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Include

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If the alcohol use is very severe, the patient can develop Delirium Tremens symptoms due to alcohol withdrawal, which is very rare. This begins, generally, after three to six days since your last consumption of alcohol.

It is seen that about five percent of addicts suffer from Delirium Tremens right after leaving alcohol.

Importance Of Detoxing From Alcohol

The detoxification stage is the first step toward treating alcoholism. The withdrawal symptoms appear within some weeks after beginning the detox process. However, this process takes longer, and it depends on the severity of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol acts as a depressant that your body starts to reply on over some months of drinking. Alcohol addiction stops the proper functioning of the brain and stops producing certain chemicals that it receives from alcohol. Later on, you may depend solely on alcohol.

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Some people face minor effects of alcoholism, while some people face mild symptoms with extreme pain. Through this, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can change very quickly and aggressively. This is why medical detox is essential and less risky than self-detox.

The treatment facility with professionals can help you deal with your pain with therapy and other drugs. This will allow you to pay utmost attention to your recovery and get better soon.

If you are willing to quit drinking, help is always available. Contact a treatment facility and get professional treatment advice.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

The withdrawal symptoms can begin just after two hours of your last drink. However, the most painful symptoms lie in the first week of the alcohol detox process.

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There is no exact timeline for the withdrawal symptoms that you will experience. However, there is a rough outline of what you can expect.

  • 6 to 12 Hours

The initial alcohol symptoms for detox safely are always mild, but this can get worse over time. Some early withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, shaking, nausea, and irritability.

  • First Day

At the end of the first day of alcohol detox, the symptoms can become very severe and painful. Also, the effects felt from the first 12 hours can involve disorientation, hand tremors, and seizures.

  • Second Day

This day will be the same as the first day with the most painful symptoms. You will also experience hallucinations and panic attacks when the alcohol is flushed from your system.

  • Third-Day To Seventh-Day

During this period of your alcohol detox, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, or you may not. However, you will be the severe symptoms of addiction treatment during this period.

  • First Week

After the first week of your alcohol addiction treatment, many symptoms will begin to taper off.

But some of the withdrawal symptoms will stay for a few more weeks. Although, they will be minor symptoms and can be treated with medication.

After the alcohol detox process, some people may face post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) when the significant symptoms are suppressed.

They are prolonged symptoms of detox from alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms often include anxiety, low energy, sleeping disorder, and delayed reflexes. These symptoms will last for some months or even a year.

Medications For Alcohol Detox

An Inpatient rehab facility is there to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms, where medications help reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Medications that are given help to keep a person’s body chemicals in balance. This also helps to reduce alcohol cravings and lowers the risks for serious complications.

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The medical professionals administer the medication for medical complications. However, if the medication begins to cause some unwanted mental health effects, then another remedy can be used.

Other medications that are used for medical supervision at an alcohol rehab facility

1. Benzodiazepines

This medicine is mostly used to treat alcohol withdrawal during the detox phase.

They are also used to calm your central nervous system and are often prescribed for treating insomnia, anxiety, and muscle spasms.

Medical professionals use this medication in two forms, short-acting and long-acting form. However, the long-acting benzos are administered for at least three days or given when needed.

On immediate medical attention, Chhlorodiazepoxide (Librium) and Diazepam (Valium) are the two types of benzos, which are given often in inpatient rehab medical care.

2. Naltrexone

This medicine is mainly to reduce alcohol cravings during the detox phase. Naltrexone suppresses the high feeling that alcohol may cause and manages alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

3. Acamprosate

Medical professionals prescribe this medicine to help your brain function normally, even after you quit drinking.

The medically peer-reviewed studies are researching whether acamprosate can help reduce the symptoms of PAWS. The medical conditions can be very serious, including insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.

This medicine helps to reduce alcohol cravings, but it will not produce an unwanted effect if alcohol is consumed. Even doctor prescribes beta-blockers to reduce high blood pressure. They usually give this medicine after tracking your blood pressure and heart rate.

Benefits Of Detox Under Medical Supervision

Due to risks associated with detoxing at home from alcohol, you should avoid it. It is a lot safe to admit yourself to any inpatient or outpatient treatment program, which is overseen by a team of professionals.

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Benefits of medical detox

  • Medical stabilization
  • Will get peer support
  • A lot more safe and structured environment
  • Relapse prevention
  • Therapeutic intervention
  • Family support
  • Long-term treatment, even aftercare.

You can detox your body anywhere you want.

a) Inpatient Treatment

If you choose to withdraw from any inpatient treatment facility, then it means you will get benefit from around-the-clock care from some team of medical professionals.

This kind of treatment is usually recommended for people who have been drinking for a long time or who have consumed alcohol in excess during their addiction.

One more benefit of this kind of treatment is that if you need medications, the doctor will go through your situation and then can prescribe you medications to deal with the symptoms.

b) Outpatient Treatment

However, if your alcohol addiction is not so severe, then you can go for outpatient treatment. This kind of detox consists of visiting a treatment center regularly during your detox phase.

However, the majority of the outpatient detox will be treated at home. On visiting the treatment center, you will be given some medications for dealing with your symptoms.

Why Do People Drink

Many factors increase the risk of alcohol abuse. People drink alcohol for one reason and gradually develop the habit of drinking.

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1. Stress Reliever

When someone relies on alcohol to reduce daily stress, the impact of the likelihood of developing alcoholism always increases. Alcohol being a depressant produces feelings of pleasure.

2. Makes You Feel Good

Often, consuming alcohol provides a break from reality. It comes with an offer of a sense of relief from underlying issues. However, if you make a habit of drinking alcohol daily to get through the day or week, this can turn into serious drinking problems.

3. Deals With Anxiety

Some people develop anxiety, and this causes them to worry perpetually. However, alcohol lowers individuals’ inhabitations and thus feel more comfortable in social situations.

4. Dealing With Shame

One of the most traumatic feelings is a shame. Alcohol can cover shame with false feelings. However, this feeling leads to reckless or foolish behaviors, which later causes them to feel even greater humiliation.

Alcohol Misuse

Generally, alcohol misuse is known as alcohol abuse. This refers to alcohol use, which can place you at risk of physical symptoms, mental health, and social problems.

Consuming one drink per day for women and two drinks for men is considered alcohol misuse.

When women or men have more than five drinks in a short period, it is called binge drinking.

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Binge drinking can increase the chances of alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction. Alcohol use disorder is often characterized by the inability to control alcohol use. If you are suffering from alcohol use disorder, you will face alcohol cravings and tolerance to the effects of alcohol.

Alcohol abuse people when, reduce drinking significantly, experiences extremely distressing and uncomfortable. Most people return to drinking to relieve their discomfort.

Alcohol Withdrawal At Home

Most people believe that alcohol detoxification is not dangerous as substance abuse treatment. However, this is not true; in both alcohol abuse and drug abuse, detoxification comes with life-threatening risks when undergoing alcohol at-home detox.

Also, while undergoing alcohol at-home detox, if you also have substance abuse, the symptoms can worsen and be more unpredictable. Substance abuse treatment includes heroin, prescription medications, meth, and cocaine.

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After quitting drinking, one experiences withdrawal symptoms, painful, uncomfortable, and challenging to manage. Without any medication or help from the treatment facility that addresses alcohol withdrawal, alcohol at home detox gets more complicated.

Some people cannot tolerate the alcohol health detox and starts drinking again. This creates a loop of trying to stop drinking but not being able to do so. This is why alcohol withdrawal syndrome must be treated in an alcohol rehab center.

However, self-detox is also possible. But make sure to receive medical detox in an emergency when preparing for self-detox. Also, discuss treatment from an addiction counseling expert and other treatment programs with alcohol rehab centers.

How To Manage The Withdrawal Symptoms At Home

People who drink heavily often face high health risks. However, there are some ways by which you can manage the symptoms. Even most of the treatment centers or alcohol rehab centers teach these methods to patients for overcoming the symptoms.

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1. Drink Water

If you are dehydrated, you may encounter irritability, tiredness, and confusion. When detoxing from home, make sure to drink plenty of water. Even if you are undergoing substance use disorder, drinking water can be beneficial.

2. Drink Beverages Which Have Electrolytes

Water is essential, but consuming beverages with electrolytes is also beneficial. Electrolytes contain essential nutrients, which include calcium, sodium, and potassium.

The energy drinks can replenish your body and can give you energy.

3. Take Healthy Diet

A balanced diet that contains a proper balance of vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, and fats helps mental health and other organs work correctly.

4. Take Shower

Taking a shower will not flush out alcohol from your body. However, it will provide relaxation from symptoms of withdrawal.

Do not take a shower with too hot or cold water. This can lead to dangerous shifts in body temperature. Try to take a bath with lukewarm water. Also, this helps with minor withdrawal symptoms.

5. Deep Breathing

Having controlled breathing can help with the stress that comes with alcohol withdrawal.

Also, deep breathing helps the body to receive oxygen. Furthermore, it normalizes the heart rate and blood pressure.

Make sure to eat properly while you are in detoxification. You may feel nausea, so it is essential to eat what you can.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Home Detox

There are both advantages and disadvantages of home detox. Also, stay connected with mental health services administration for emergencies whenever you are undergoing.

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a) Advantages

  • This will provide you with comfort
  • Detoxing your body at home and not in any treatment program centers also relieves you from any financial obligations.
  • Home detox will also give you anonymity and confidentiality.

b) Disadvantages

  • It includes high risks of unwanted mental health effects. So, it is better if you stay connected with any mental health services administration.
  • It can lead to high risks of dangerous physical health effects.
  • Lack of medications. This will lead to limited withdrawal symptom relief.
  • Harm to relationships during the discomfort.


If you are suffering from alcohol addiction or your loved one is suffering, then it is time you take the first towards detoxification. Even if you do not know how to detox from alcohol, then seek help.

According to WHO, 3.3 million people die every year due to heavy alcohol consumption.

Though it is impossible to accurately predict who and when will experience the withdrawal symptoms, it is crucial that you go for detoxing. You may not even experience any severe symptoms, despite your alcohol addiction, health, and whether or not you have any co-occurring physical or mental conditions.

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Content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. Reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 


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