Alcohol abuse is common in the United States, affecting nearly 15 million people in 2019. Children as young as 12 are affected as well. People who abuse alcohol and get addicted to it develop a condition known as Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD.
People with AUD need to undergo alcohol rehab to manage their condition well. Recovery is quite possible in the right environment, supervised by professionals.
Alcohol rehab does come with a great price, though. Some people may not have the resources to afford it. So, a common question is, “is it possible to have alcohol rehab at home?” Read on to find the answer.
Can I quit alcohol at home on my own?
Quitting alcohol outright is easy, but staying on that path is hard. One day, you can just stop drinking because you’ve had enough. But that sudden absence of alcohol in your body can give you a “shock”. Your body will struggle to adjust to an abrupt shortage of alcohol, which results in withdrawal symptoms. These may include seizures, hallucinations, heart failure, and in some cases, death.
Some withdrawal symptoms are milder, such as sweating, headaches, shaking, and feeling irritable. But these can become so uncomfortable that you won’t be able to take them. Eventually, you will give in to discomfort and drink again to get relief.
The moment you drink again, you’re back to square one. That’s why most solo attempts to quit drinking don’t work out. It becomes a vicious cycle of quitting, experiencing pain from withdrawal symptoms, and drinking again. People who are stuck in this cycle often choose to enroll in an alcohol rehab program instead.
Even then, there are still ways to control your drinking habits at home. You can even do self-detox.
How can I detox from alcohol safely at home?
If you’re decided on pursuing alcohol rehab from home, one of the key aspects is detox. The goal here is to remove all traces of alcohol from your body. That means avoiding drinking as much as you can.
The first step is to remove any alcoholic beverages from your home. This is crucial so you won’t have any alcohol to run to when you get intense cravings. Better yet, ask a trusted friend or family member to take the drinks to a place only they know.
Self-detoxing at home takes a lot of time. It’s best to clear your schedule for several days, even weeks to make sure. It’s a good idea to take time off work for a while, and delegate your responsibilities to other people. With those things off your mind, you can focus on self-detox.
A common misconception about self-detox is you can do it entirely on your own. You still need someone to watch you and make sure you’re okay during the entire process. Your companion will also be the one to call for medical help if necessary, like when your withdrawal symptoms get too severe. It helps to have someone you trust whom you can talk to as well. This makes the self-detox process a lot more bearable.
When withdrawal kicks in, you may lose your appetite. To keep yourself nourished, you can take juice, soup, broth, or gelatin at this time. Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, and it will also help your body flush out any remaining alcohol. Once you can eat normally again, make sure to eat a balanced diet.
You will also benefit from taking vitamin and mineral supplements. These will help ease your withdrawal symptoms, especially since you won’t be getting any medications from home. Recommended supplements include vitamins B, C, E, and calcium.
What are the risks of doing alcohol rehab at home?
At home, you don’t get the level of care that you would in a professional rehab center. You won’t get constant medical supervision, which you may need especially during the process of detox. Alcohol withdrawal can be unpredictable, so your symptoms may get worse without warning. Aside from that, you will not have access to medications at home. You may need these to manage any severe withdrawal symptoms.
Moreover, no mental health professionals will be with you at home. You won’t get the benefits of behavioral therapies. There won’t be anyone to guide you in building healthy habits and avoiding alcohol triggers. The risk of relapsing is higher without any therapists by your side.
Speaking of relapse, your home may also be full of things that remind you of the pleasure you got out of drinking. Something as innocent as a chair can be an alcohol trigger. If it’s the chair you always sat on while downing a bottle of beer, sitting on it again becomes a temptation to drink. If it’s your favorite glass to drink wine on, that can also be a trigger. Anything in your home environment that reminds you of alcohol is a potential trigger.
Knowing these risks, the best thing to do is to enroll in a formal rehab program. That way, you will be in an environment designed to promote recovery. There will be no temptations to drink, no triggers, and you’ll be in the company of a supportive, caring community. The people around you are also on their own journey of recovery, so you will be empowered to stay on that course yourself.
When is the right time to go through alcohol rehab?
The best time to seek rehab is at the first signs of AUD. But if you haven’t sought professional help yet, you may have come to a point that made you want to quit drinking for good. You may have tried and failed, or you may be tired of the uncomfortable side effects of alcohol, like hangovers, blacking out, and being prone to injury. Your desire to quit can also be motivated by being ashamed of disappointing your friends and family.
In any case, deciding to go to alcohol rehab is a great choice. It is the first step towards the road to recovery.
If you’re not sure yet, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. If you get diagnosed with AUD, enroll in an alcohol rehab program as soon as you can. Your doctor can even make recommendations for you.