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How to Detox from Alcohol Safely and Maximise Success

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Detox is an important part of overcoming alcohol abuse or problem drinking. It is an absolute necessity in cases of confirmed alcoholism. Without allowing the body to naturally cleanse itself from the alcohol within, it is not possible to undergo the healing process that will restore a person to good health. If you want to know more about how to detox safely and effectively, we invite you to contact us through our website or our 24-hour alcohol recovery helpline. We have trained and experienced counsellors ready to assist you.

For the purposes of this guide, we will talk about detoxing at home, alone or under the care of a medical professional, and detoxing through an outpatient or inpatient clinic. Please consider how serious the detox process is. The medical community considers detox a medical emergency for confirmed alcoholics and those in the late stages of alcohol abuse. We strongly urge you not to attempt to detox alone if there is any chance you might already be an alcoholic.

How to Detox from Alcohol at Home

There are three generally accepted levels of excessive drinking recognised by medical science. These are, in order of severity: problem drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism. Problem drinking and early-stage alcohol abuse can be addressed by detoxing at home without direct intervention from a medical professional. It is generally made easier with the help and support of a close friend or family member.

Counsellors who specialise in self-detox at home recommend several things:

  • Diet and Nutrition – People who drink excessively tend not to eat well as a result. Therefore, withdrawing from alcohol can make them physically ill. A good way to combat this is to undertake a diet and nutrition programme alongside detox. Good nutrition involves supplying your body with all of the necessary vitamins and other nutrients it needs to regain health.
  • Removal of Alcohol – Attempting to detox at home will not do much good if there is still alcohol on your premises. Therefore, before you begin a self-detox attempt, make sure your home is entirely alcohol-free. Friends and family should not be allowed to bring alcohol into the home during detox.
  • Personal Assistance – Even the safest home detox can subject a person to medical emergencies under the right conditions. Therefore, it is important to have someone with you at all times during the process. That person can provide you with comfort, encouragement, and an extra set of eyes and ears to identify any possible complications.
  • Occupying Your Time – Lastly, it is hard to stop thinking about alcohol when you are trying to detox. You can make the process easier by filling your time with other things. Try listening to music, engaging in some quality conversation, or pursuing a hobby you enjoy. Keep your mind busy so you are not thinking about drinking.

Again, we cannot stress enough the danger of self-detox for the alcoholic or late stage alcohol abuser. If there is any chance you are suffering from one of the more severe problems, please seek medical help for detox. You might still be eligible to detox at home under the supervision of a registered nurse or alcohol recovery specialist.

This kind of detox involves visits from your nurse every day for the first few days of detox. After that, he or she will only visit on an as-needed basis. The point of the visits is to administer prescription medications and monitor your health for possible complications. Please understand that you will need to have a home environment conducive to detox before you would be approved for such a programme.

How to Detox in a Hospital or Clinic

The best way for most people to detox from alcohol is to arrange for treatment in a hospital or a private rehab clinic. Detoxing at a hospital or clinic guarantees the client is medically supervised throughout the entire process. This significantly reduces the risks of potentially devastating complications and/or injuries.

How do you detox this way? By either making an appointment to see your GP or contacting an organisation such as ours. Your GP is likely to offer you prescription medication in addition to a hospital based detox programme. You would then be expected to follow detox by seeking out counselling, support group participation, and other means of treatment.

Undergoing treatment at a private rehab clinic is slightly different. With private treatment, detox is just one part of a much larger recovery equation. Trained professionals medically supervise it, then follow it with a full compendium of rehabilitative therapies designed to restore you to good physical and mental health. We can connect you with a private rehab clinic in your area when you contact us.

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Why Detox Is so Necessary

Detox for alcohol and drugs can be a very fearful thing if you don't know what to expect. Yet it is still a necessary component of alcohol recovery. You need detox to overcome your alcohol problem due to how alcohol affects your body and mind. For example, let us talk about the brain.

Alcohol in the bloodstream induces the brain to produce certain neurotransmitters responsible for the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. However, other chemicals are also produced at the same time. There comes a certain point when the brain becomes accustomed to a constant level of alcohol in your system, leading to a condition in which the same volume of neurotransmitters no longer produces the pleasurable feelings. You then have to drink more to compensate. This is known as tolerance.

Detox is necessary in order to restore the proper balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Otherwise, the brain will continue to adjust while you drink yourself to death. Along those same lines, there are other chemicals the body produces in response to alcohol consumption.

For example, your heart relies on both electrical signals from the brain and chemicals produced by the body to keep beating. Excessive drinking causes the body to produce more of those chemicals in order to prevent your heart from stopping while alcohol is in your bloodstream. The more you drink, the more your body has to produce excess chemicals. As we discussed with the brain, detox is necessary to restore the proper balance within the body.

A major problem in both instances is one of dependence. Your body gets so used to a certain level of alcohol in your system that it cannot seem to function without it. This is dependence. Once dependence develops, it is impossible to completely recover from alcohol abuse or alcoholism without first undergoing successful detox. You must detox in order to break that dependence.

Detox Is the First Step

Whether you detox at home or in a hospital or clinic setting, the detox process is the first step in achieving alcohol-free wellness. Are you a problem drinker or alcohol abuser? You may need detox to conquer your problem. Are you a confirmed alcoholic? If so, it will not be possible for you to recover without undergoing detox first. It is just that simple.

The best way to undergo detox is with the help and supervision of medical personnel. Contact your GP or call our 24-hour helpline for more advice. We can connect you with a rehab clinic offering the type of detox that would be most beneficial to you.

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