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How to Help Someone Detox from Drugs or Alcohol at Home
Author: Phil Kosanovich
Published: May 29, 2020
alcohol in an open decanter with three glasses

Going through the withdrawal process and trying to DIY detox at home is a dangerous undertaking. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to help yourself or someone you love to detox at home, let us say this: If you or someone you care about has been struggling with alcohol or drugs and are ready to quit, before you try to detox at home, we encourage you to speak to one of our addiction specialists. The detox process without medical supervision can be dangerous. That’s why our team is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on evenings, weekends and holidays, to take calls from people who need help. 

Before a loved one attempts a home detox, it is in your best interest to speak to medical professionals or one of our addiction specialists. This will enable you to ask any questions, share any concerns you have about the detox process and possible withdrawal symptoms, and find out how to help someone detox from alcohol or drugs at home as safely as possible. 

Educating yourself of the alternative treatment options available, such as inpatient treatment programs, may also be beneficial. These treatments ensure that those in need of detox can attend a treatment facility and complete a medical detox under the supervision of licensed medical professionals. 

Addiction is a disease but it can be treated. Detox programs are available to assist in securing a long-term recovery and medical detox is a great way to achieve this. 


Alcohol Detox at Home

Detoxification is the process your body goes through when you stop using a substance — whether legal or illegal, prescribed or self-dosed. If you’ve ever tried to do something as “simple” as change your diet, like giving up sugar, for example, you might have experienced withdrawal symptoms like headaches, cravings and shakiness. 

For someone who has been abusing alcohol, the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. The longer you have used alcohol and the more you use, the more dangerous your withdrawal symptoms can be. 

That is why when people ask us how to detox from alcohol at home, we recommend speaking to an addiction and recovery specialist. Many of our staff have been through the addiction, detox and recovery process themselves or with loved ones. Our medical staff is licensed and trained to oversee patients who need help getting through the detox process safely. 

You can help someone go through the detox process by encouraging them to seek professional help, providing support, and encouraging them to stay positive, which may be the hardest thing to do when they are suffering. 

What Is the Detox Process?

Essentially, detox is the first stage in drug and alcohol addiction recovery. The process involves eliminating substances and harmful toxins from the body, enabling an individual to withdraw gradually. 

When someone has become dependent on drugs or alcohol, withdrawing from substances may produce mild to severe withdrawal symptoms and the withdrawal period can be tough. The intensity of these depends on:

  • The number of drugs or alcohol consumed
  • The length of the drug or alcohol addiction      
  • Family history 
  • Underlying physical or mental health issues

Though many people think that detox is only necessary for those dependent on illegal substances, this is not true. Detox is also required when an individual becomes addicted to prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and those struggling with alcohol abuse. 

Prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, are very addictive and a medically supervised detox is advised as medical professionals will be there for guidance. 

Natural detox is where medication is not taken to help with physical symptoms of withdrawal which can be very uncomfortable, whereas a medically supervised detox is where you will be monitored by professionals and be given detox medications in order to manage withdrawal symptoms. A medical detox, as opposed to natural detox, can make the withdrawal period much more manageable.

How To Help Someone Attempting a Home Detox From Alcohol

If your loved one suffering from substance use disorder insists on completing detox at home, the best way to help them is to be there for them without judgment, provide emotional support, and encourage them to ask a medical professional for help.

Although alcohol is legal in the United States, it is one of the most difficult drugs to detox from as it comes hand-in-hand with dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This is why your loved one must seek guidance before attempting alcohol detox at home. 

For those who have been drinking alcohol for a prolonged period, they may need to go through alcohol detoxification at a treatment center. Inpatient detox will provide them with immersive twenty-four-hour care and ensure the safest possible recovery, and the medical supervision will help with detox medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms. 


ETOH Withdrawal Symptoms

Before you attempt at-home alcohol detox or home remedies for alcohol detox, you should understand the withdrawal symptoms from giving up alcohol cold turkey, from mild to moderate to severe:

Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms

  • Anxiety, anger, sadness and depression
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances, insomnia
  • Upset stomach, gastric disturbances

Moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms

  • Sweating, cold sweats
  • Feverish
  • Increased heart rate, high blood pressure

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms

  • Delirium tremens, also known as DTs
  • Seizures, including fatal seizures
  • Hallucinations, confusion
  • Suicidal thoughts

Learn more about alcohol addiction, our free alcohol abuse assessments and how alcohol addiction is treated at Cornerstone of Southern California.

How to Detox from Drugs at Home

If you are the person going through the drug detox process, seek support from people who have always offered emotional support. Don’t expect them to give in to your demands or tolerate verbal abuse from you. Don’t try to stop them if they try to seek professional help; you cannot expect your friends and family to carry the burden of ushering you through drug withdrawal. Leave that to professionals.

Get help: Alcohol Rehab Orange County

If someone you care about is going through withdrawal symptoms and trying to detox from opiates or detox from benzos at home, the self-prescribed detox process can be very dangerous. We do not advise doing this on your own. Our experts do not recommend that you try any home remedies for detoxing from drugs on your own. We do recommend, however, that you offer support in these ways:

  • Don’t criticize or tell them everything they’ve done wrong. 
  • Don’t take anything they say or do personally; they are going through a difficult time.
  • Don’t try to medicate them or give them money to buy drugs.  
  • Do set boundaries — let your loved one know what you will and will not tolerate as they go through this difficult process.
  • Do seek help. Professionals are standing by to help you or your loved one go through the drug detoxification process. 
  • Do provide encouragement. 

Learn more about the drug detox process:

What Is the Withdrawal Process?

Usually beginning within twenty-four hours of the last time drugs or alcohol were consumed, the withdrawal process is different for everyone. Typically, it lasts between one to two weeks but can last longer for certain drugs, such as benzodiazepines.

Although the withdrawal process is manageable, if your loved one experiences severe symptoms, medication is available to assist them to alleviate the intensity of:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia 
  • Mood swings

The withdrawal and detoxification process can differ depending on the substance abused, so it may not be easy to ascertain how your loved one will feel and act should they detox at home. 

Yet, if they attend rehab, a medical assessment will be carried out to evaluate their past and current health status. This guarantees that your loved one has a personalized detox treatment program, making the process as safe as possible. 

As they start addiction treatment, they will be monitored at all times by health professionals to make sure they have a medical detox that is as comfortable as possible. They will have the support they need to embark on their journey to a substance-free life.

Help with Home Detox in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA

Although the thought of referring a loved one for treatment may leave you feeling uneasy, the good news is that there is a wide range of detox programs available for effective substance abuse treatment. Here at Cornerstone, we provide many treatments and have assisted those with substance use disorders since the 1980s. We aim to help those affected adjust to life without substances safely and sustainably, minimizing the risk of relapse to ensure long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol addiction.

Should you seek our advice on how to help someone detox from drugs and alcohol at home, we will direct you to an addiction specialist. Our staff understands the recovery process due to experiencing addiction, drug abuse, detox, and recovery themselves, so they will be able to answer any questions you have. They are additionally experienced and trained to guide clients who require treatment and can help with ongoing treatment after the withdrawal period has ended and the drug detoxification has been achieved.

At Cornerstone, our treatment process begins with a free addiction assessment, which is completely confidential. This assessment enables us to gather as much information as needed about the individual who requires detox treatment to provide the best advice and assistance possible for a comfortable medically supervised detox. 

When your loved one commences treatment at our medical detox center, drug and alcohol detox is accompanied by medication, counseling, and medical supervision. Your loved one may also be referred to mental health services to enhance addiction treatment. 

Remember, they will be going through an extremely challenging time. Although it will be equally as difficult for you, the important thing is to support them and not be afraid to consult an expert if you are worried.

Contact us today to learn more about alcohol and drug addiction and our detox treatments or seek our advice.