Many people don’t take alcohol detox seriously enough for several reasons. It’s a legal substance that is commonly used and the withdrawal dangers aren’t widely known. Detoxing from alcohol is a two-phase process. The first phase begins within 6-24 hours of the last drink of alcohol and can last up to 5-7 days. It’s during this period that the person could experience some dangerous withdrawal symptoms that may require medical attention and should be monitored very closely should you decide to do this at home. The second, and longer, phase of alcohol detox occurs over many months as the brain slowly begins to resume normal functioning. This is when sleep patterns are re-established and emotions are regulated.
Preparation for Alcohol Detox at Home
One of the reasons that you are likely choosing to do this at home instead of in an institution is “comfort”. If so, be sure to have everything on hand to make your stay as comfortable, and safe, as possible. The alcohol withdrawal and detox doesn’t last long but don’t expect to be going out on the town during the process. You will be home for the duration so have something to keep yourself busy, whether it be books, movies, games, etc. Also, get rid of all the alcohol in your home. No joke. There is no “saving some for a special occasion” or “just in case”. Just get rid of it – toss it or give it away immediately. Trust me – you will not be able to resist the temptation once the withdrawal symptoms set in.
Did you line up a family member or friend to come and stay with you? If not, do so now. This needs to happen from Day 1, particularly when it comes to alcohol detox. Probably after Day 3, you will be in the clear and they can just check on you, but this will vary on a case by case basis.
Home remedies for alcohol detox
1. Dietary Changes
While there may be periods of time where you have no appetite or are unable to keep anything down, diet is critical and having the right foods and beverages on hand is very important. You’ll want to pick up lots of fruits and vegetables, whether they are your favorites or not. This is about replacing the toxins that are leaving your body with good things that are going to make you feel better, and Cheetos or Moon Pies aren’t going to cut it. Berries are an excellent snack that contains natural sugar, which is something that ex-drinkers tend to crave. Oats are also good for controlling blood sugar and serve as a relaxant. Bananas are great for lifting mood and a great source of energy, fiber and potassium. Also pick up some food that is high in protein, like chicken, fish or even peanut butter. When you do eat, it’s ok to only eat in small portions. Don’t force yourself to eat large meals as this isn’t necessary.
Avoid junk foods and include nutrient rich foods in your diet if you want to get the maximum benefit out of the detox. Junk foods with main ingredient as refined sugar or carbohydrate should be avoided to get effective results. The main motive of detox is to flush out the toxins from the body, so, you may also want to stay away from caffeine as it promotes chemical build-up. Eat fresh and natural food during the detox regimen. The fresh food will provide essential nutrients to your body and help in the internal healing process.
2. Drink enough water
It’s crucial that you drink moderate to large amounts of water. Do not consume more than 2 quarts in an hour, however. It is fine to mix in a few sports drinks for flavor but try to stick primarily to water for fluid intake. Drinking enough water will ease the withdrawal symptoms and allow the body to flush the toxins out of your body more easily. Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee as much as possible. Your sleep patterns will already be very disturbed. These drinks only exacerbate that and will not help calm yourself.
It is very important for you to drink around 100 ounces of water every day to wash off the chemicals, toxins and alcohol from your body. Drinking water at regular intervals will also help you to combat dehydration caused by alcohol consumption.
3. Have enough vitamin B
Alcohol consumption on daily basis causes the deficiency of vitamin B. In order to heal the body from within, it becomes very important to replenish and restore this vitamin in the body. In addition, the restoration of magnesium and vitamin C is also imperative to ensure smooth body functions.
4. Use Milk Thistle & Kudzu
Milk thistle extract acts as a natural cure to remove the toxins from the body. It not only blocks the absorption of alcohol in the liver but also reduces the severity of side effects of alcohol consumption. These milk thistle capsules not only promote liver health, but boosted immune response in clinical trials.
Kudzu has been used since times immemorial to cure several ailments and treat alcohol addiction. The powerful medicinal virtues and antioxidant properties of this herb reduces the damage and regenerates the damaged liver tissues. To curb the craving for alcohol, take ten grams of kudzu powder every day.
5. Use Angelica Extract
Angelica reduces the craving and withdrawal symptoms of alcohol. It is an anti-inflammatory herb that curbs the desire of having alcohol. This herb can cause sickness and nausea if you go back to drinking at all. The recommended dosage is three to five drops per day. You just have to add the extract to a glass of water and have it. This herb will also relieve headaches and bloating symptoms caused due to abstinence from alcohol.
6. Add Cayenne Pepper to Food
Cayenne pepper reduces the craving and increases your appetite. Adding pepper to food can ease the most common withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and decreased appetite you must be facing after quitting alcohol.
7. Drink Passion Flower Tea
Since many people suffer from insomnia and delirium after giving up alcohol, drinking passion flower tea can help them to alleviate these symptoms to a great extent.
Basil’s potent medicinal value induces spiritual healing. Basil is one of the most effective herbs to curb alcohol craving. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This helps to free the body from harmful free radicals and detoxifies the body properly. You need to pluck some soft basil twigs and soak these overnight with twenty peppercorns in a glass of water. Regular intake of this water can easily curb your desire for alcohol.
9. Bitter Gourd Leaves
The leaves of bitter gourd help to restore the damaged liver. These leaves are full of valuable compounds that can cure alcoholism to great extent by flushing out the toxins from the system. You need to grind soft bitter gourd leaves and extract its juice. The juice should be consumed fresh with a glass of buttermilk.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb and has powerful medicinal value. This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is an excellent way to improve the brain function and detox your whole body. This herb alleviates alcoholism related tension and stress and induces a sense of well-being. One teaspoon of ashwagandha with a glass of milk should be taken twice a day. Alternatively, ashwagandha supplement capsules could be used as well.
11. Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is a supplement which improves the function of nervous system and brain. While acting as a blood purifier, it also helps to decrease the stress and anxiety related to alcoholism. The recommended intake is about 50 grams that is to be taken three times daily.
Other things you’ll want to do during detox to ease symptoms include taking frequent baths, or sitting in a pool if you have one available. The water temperature should really be to your comfort – whatever is going to make you feel better and more comfortable at that moment. It could be the complete opposite just a little while later. Mild exercise, such as stretching and going for a short walk, may also help with blood circulation and anxiety through the release of endorphins. Rest when you are able to and keep your mind busy when you aren’t. Don’t worry about what time it is or isn’t. Your body clock isn’t going to be right for quite some time so sleep when you can. When you can’t sleep, keep your mind occupied with those books or movies that you have on hand and planning that wonderful new life free from alcohol.
Dealing With Cravings
Cravings are a normal part of any addiction and are common-place during withdrawal. They can also pop up months or even years after you stop using drugs or drinking. . Here are some important things to remember about alcohol cravings and some ways to deal with them.
What You Should Know About Cravings:
- They are not caused by a lack of willpower or motivation. However, that doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or failing to do something right.
- Cravings don’t mean that your detox and withdrawal aren’t working.
- Cravings are never constant and their severity lasts for a very short period.
- Psychological or physical discomfort can trigger the cravings. Managing this discomfort can reduce the cravings to a significant extent.
Things You Can Do to Manage Cravings:
- Identify cues or “triggers” that may have brought on the cravings. They could be people, places or things that remind you of alcohol. Re-direct your mental energy towards ways in which you can avoid these same triggers in the future.
- Remind yourself of why you stopped consuming alcohol in the first place. This would be the time to re-list the negative effects that the alcohol use had on your life and also list the positive things that you stand to gain by staying clean.
- Call on others for help. This is where a Support Network comes in, family members and friends that support your recovery.
- For those that are spiritual, meditation and prayers can play a significant role in keeping the mind calm and helping you focus on things that are important.
After Alcohol Detox
After about 36 hours, you will be generally uncomfortable and mostly irritable for the rest of the week. Continue with your detox routine, healthy diet, vitamins, supplements, moderate exercise and intermittent sleep. In less than a week, you should be ready to resume some “normal” activities provided they are not too stressful. What’s most important to note here is that you’ve simply detoxed from alcohol, nothing else. You have successfully gotten the toxins out of your system but, unless you make some other changes in your life, you will more than likely end up right back where you were a week ago – or worse. To prevent this from happening requires several things:
- Coming to the understanding that Alcoholism is a disease
- Considering getting additional help or treatment
- Finding a good support network
With alcohol detox, generally your appetite will increase. This is great because chances are you’ve been starving yourself and are massively undernourished right now. However, make the right choice and put some good things in your body for once. On the flip side, if you’re not feeling well, it’s fine to eat in small amounts but when you do eat something, eat the right things.
If this is your first go around with a detox experience, be glad that it’s over. Don’t stop keeping yourself updated as things change quite quickly. If you’ve been through this before, the alcohol detox will likely not come as much of a surprise to you, yet the new developments in this field may do you some good and, hopefully, keep you moving in the right direction.