When giving up drinking, your body goes through a withdrawal or “detox” period of around 72 hours, as it rids the harmful effects of alcohol from its system.

This is one of the key functions of rehab, to help support people as they go through this painful detox period, and prevent them from relapsing and resorting to drinking to counteract the withdrawal symptoms. You can also detox from alcohol at home
, which many people prefer because they have the comfort and familiarity of being in their own space.

If you do opt for a home detox, it is important to take a specific approach in order to be prepared for the discomfort, unpleasantness and even dangers associated with detoxing from alcohol. Here are 7 tips for safely detoxing from alcohol at home.

1. Choose Your Approach

There are basically two main ways you can choose to detox from alcohol: the “cold turkey” approach and the “tapering off” approach. Cold turkey involves stopping drinking entirely in one go: this can be an easier method of quitting for some people, but also involves severe withdrawal symptoms. The tapering off method, on the other hand, involves gradually stepping down alcohol intake in a controlled way, using a drink with a lower content of alcohol, such as beer. In this method, you are allowed to drink specific amounts of alcohol at appointed intervals, which gradually steps down until you stop drinking entirely. The major advantage of the approach is that withdrawal symptoms are much less severe because the detox happens more gradually.

2. Check a Home Detox is Suitable for You

Although a home detox can be a greatly preferred method of detox compared to medically-supervised detox, for example at a rehab clinic, it is not suitable for everyone. In cases of chronic alcoholism, that is, involving severe levels of addiction, heavy alcohol consumption, and/or a drinking habit that is well-established over many years, medically-supervised detox is usually necessary. This is because the risk of relapse is so high, and also because withdrawal symptoms are likely to be severe and could even be life threatening. Having medical supervision in this case means that withdrawal can be immediately treated and resolved. Before starting a home detox, consult with your doctor to make sure this is a safe option for you.

3. Prepare for Detox

Before you start your detox there are some things you should do to prepare and give your detox the greatest chance of success. The most acute part of detox lasts around 72 hours (for the cold turkey method), but the entire process to complete a successful detox could take up to two weeks, so make sure you put this time aside. During this time, have friends or family members check in on you and help you if you need anything. Before you start make sure all alcoholic beverages have been taken out of the house, and buy lots of vitamins and minerals (Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and Niacin) as it is important to take these during detox to replenish your body’s nutrients.

4. Appoint an Overseer

It is critical when detoxing at home that you have someone around to supervise you and keep an eye on you. This person is known as an “overseer” and will make sure you are following your detox correctly (especially if you choose the tapering off method). They will also monitor your withdrawal symptoms and be ready to seek medical help if necessary. In general, they will provide practical and emotional support which will help you get through this challenging process.

5. Expect Withdrawal Symptoms

It is important to be prepared for withdrawal symptoms. These can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant, especially if you choose the cold turkey method of quitting drinking. Symptoms can include nausea, excessive sweating, headaches, insomnia, racing heart rate, elevated blood pressure, fever, and in extreme cases hallucinations and seizures. If you experience the latter (or any of the symptoms to an extreme degree) you should seek medical attention immediately.

6. Stay Healthy

Keeping healthy during your detox will go a long way to helping you be successful. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water and also drinks containing electrolytes. Maintain a healthy diet to make sure your body has all the nutrients it needs to deal with the extreme stress of processing detox and recovery, and supplement this by taking vitamins and nutrients. Look after your mental and emotional well-being too, by practicing breathing exercises and meditation. This will help you to stay calm and focused.

7. Fight the Urge to Drink Again

As withdrawal starts to set in, it can be tempting to have a drink, if only to stop the symptoms. However, although this may seem like a short-term solution, in the long-term this is really no solution at all. As soon as you relapse that means that you will need to start the process all over again. Stay strong, resist the urge and draw on your support network to avoid a relapse, and you will come out the other side from your detox.

Author's Bio: 

My strengths lie in my ability to think outside the box and find solutions, my experience on link builder and as a data entry as well, my ability to adhere to strict deadlines and juggle multiple projects and priorities, and my attention to detail and accuracy when gathering data, conducting analysis and preparing reports. I work well with others and enjoy a collaborative team environment.