How to detox from alcohol There are an estimated 12 million alcoholics
in the United States, many of whom need help quitting. An important step in getting sober
is detoxification, or detox, a period of about a week when your body rids itself of all the
alcohol in your system. This difficult process sometimes requires a medical facility, but
as long as a doctor deems it safe, you can try to detox or alcohol withdrawal at home
using these steps. 1 Assess your lifestyle and drinking habits While many people can consume alcohol occasionally
with no trouble, some develop a dangerous addiction. If you’ve experienced one or more
of the following symptoms, you may be an alcoholic and should consider quitting drinking. Drinking in the morning. Drinking alone. Feelings of guilt after drinking. Making attempts to hide your drinking from
others. You have difficulty stopping yourself once
you have one drink. You’ve experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms
after not drinking for several hours, including sweating, shaking, anxiety, and nausea. 2 Evaluate your goal After you’ve decided that you should cut back
on alcohol or quit altogether, you need to set a concrete goal. 3 Remove alcohol from your home When you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms,
you may not be able to control your cravings. Avoid this temptation by keeping no alcohol
in your home. 4 Visit your doctor Detoxing can be very dangerous if done improperly,
so you should consult your doctor before proceeding. He will be able to tell you if self-detoxification
is a good idea in your particular case. If you are a severe alcoholic, you may need medical
attention in order to detox. Your doctor can also prescribe medications or suggest vitamins
and supplements that will aid in your detoxification. 5 Alcohol withdrawal symptoms Detoxing won’t be a pleasant experience. For
heavy long-term drinkers, it can even be fatal if done improperly. You and the person staying
with you should be prepared for the following symptoms to occur within a few hours of your
last drink and last until day 3 or so. They can even last up to a week.
Severe headache. Night sweats.
Rapid heart rate. Nausea and vomiting.
Mental symptoms like confusion, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
More severe symptoms like hallucinations and seizures.
Delirium tremens (DTs)- These usually occur between 24 and 72 hours after the last drinks
and are characterized by extreme agitation and disorientation, and body tremors. They
most often affect people who have been heavy drinkers for a decade or more. 6 Know when to seek medical help The person staying with you should know when
it’s time to reach out for medical help. If you experience any of the following, your
partner should either call 911 or take you to the emergency room.
A fever of 101 or higher. Seizures or convulsions.
Visual or auditory hallucinations. Severe, constant vomiting or dry heaves.
Extreme agitation or violent outbursts. DTs. 7 Stock your home with food and water You may not feel up to leaving your home,
and your partner shouldn’t leave you alone for the first few days. It’s very important
to have several days’ worth of fresh food in your house along with several gallons of
water for times. Freeze small dishes to make meals easily when you aren’t feeling well.
You’ll want healthy foods to replace the nutrients you’re losing by detoxing. 8 Drink plenty of water Alcohol withdrawal often causes vomiting and
diarrhea, which can easily dehydrate you. Be sure to drink enough water to replace lost
fluids. You could also drink sports drinks to replace lost electrolytes, but you or your
partner should limit these to one or two a day at most. The high sugar content in these
drinks can make symptoms worse in large doses. 9 Eat as much as you can Although you will probably not have much of
an appetite, you still need nutrients to get you through this. Don’t force yourself to
eat large meals- this could make you sick. Continue regular nutrient intake and eat the
small frozen dishes if you are too weak to leave the house. Rather than snacks, focus
on foods that will replace the nutrients you’ve lost while going through withdrawal. 10 Get fresh air Staying locked inside for days will probably
make you feel sicker. Sitting outside for just a few minutes and getting fresh air and
sunlight can help you feel much better. 11 Exercise You won’t be in any shape to run a marathon
or lift weights, but you should move around as much as you can. Staying sedentary is bad
for your mental and physical health. Physical activity releases endorphins that help fight
the depression and anxiety detoxing causes. Take short walks and get up to stretch once
in a while to keep your body moving. 12 Assess your condition Keep talking with your partner and let him
know how you’re feeling. This will not only pass the time, but it will let him know if
he should consider getting medical help for you. 13 Expect some residual effects Although your withdrawal symptoms should be
gone in a week, you could feel some effects for several weeks. These include irritability,
headaches, and insomnia. 14 Seek psychological counseling Recovering alcoholics often suffer from depression,
anxiety, and numerous other psychological issues. It is therefore very important to
address these problems with a therapist or counselor. If you detox physically but fail
to address your mental health, your chance of relapse is very high. 15 Join a support group Although you’ve successfully detoxed, you’ll
need to build a support network to help you get through your continuing battle with alcohol.
In addition to friends and family, a support group is a great resource. Many people in
these groups have been through what you’ve been through, and can offer advice and support.
Call them if you’re feeling a craving or need any help. 16 Find new hobbies and interests Your past activities probably included alcohol,
so living a healthy life means finding new activities to replace your old ones.
Think about activities you used to love but haven’t done in a while. Reviving these old
hobbies can be a great way to put you in a positive state of mind.
Also consider hobbies that give you a sense of purpose like volunteer work. 17 Avoid replacing your addiction Recovering alcoholics frequently replace alcohol
with another substance like caffeine or tobacco. These addictions can be just as harmful. Instead
of replacing your addiction, you need to focus on living your life without the addiction. 18 Manage cravings You will inevitably experience cravings for
alcohol. There are a few things you can do to properly manage this and avoid relapse. Avoid your triggers. If certain people, places,
or situations give you the urge to drink, you should avoid them. If old friends always
pressure you to drink, you may have to cut them out of your life. Practice saying “no.” You won’t always be
able to avoid every situation that involves alcohol, so you should prepare yourself to
turn down a drink if it’s offered. Distract yourself when having a craving. You
can do this by taking a walk, listening to music, going for a drive, or any other activity
that helps you forget about the alcohol craving. Talk to people. Be open about your cravings
and don’t try to hide them. If you have a sober sponsor or mentor, talk to him whenever
you have a craving or are feeling weak. Remind yourself why you quit drinking. When
you get an urge, think about how hard it was to quit drinking and your reasons for doing
so. 19 Expect some setbacks Unfortunately, relapse is common among recovering
alcoholics. But slipping up once doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Use all the skills you’ve learned
in this journey to successfully overcome this setback. Stop drinking right away and get away from
wherever you were drinking. Call your sponsor or a supportive friend and
tell him what’s happened. Remember that this minor setback doesn’t have
to ruin all of your progress.