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Alcohol detox at home vs rehabilitation centres

Many people commit to giving up alcohol in January. There are lots of people talking about Dry January, or trying to live healthier lives. But, admitting you need to detox from alcohol for more than just a health kick is a big and positive step towards a life not ruled by alcohol anymore. 

You might be someone who knows they want to stop drinking alcohol. Or, know someone who needs support as they think about detoxification from alcohol.

Livingstone House is equipped to help you on your detox journey. We can help you understand the process better, what to expect in terms of timeline and symptoms and where to go for help. 

What is an alcohol detox?

An alcohol detox is the first stage of treating alcoholism. It’s when alcohol is completely flushed out of your body. 

What happens when you detox from alcohol?

Over the duration of months and years of drinking your body begins to rely on alcohol. Your body and brain gets so used to receiving chemicals from alcohol, that it stops producing chemicals naturally itself. You become dependent on alcohol. 

When you stop drinking, it takes time for your body and brain to adjust to the lack of chemicals and to start producing its own again. In that time your body experiences withdrawal symptoms.

How long does an alcohol detox take? 

The process of stopping drinking is immediate. But, the time your body experiences withdrawal symptoms can last 1-2 weeks after you begin an alcohol detox. It can take longer if your body is used to ingesting large quantities of the alcohol. 

What are the symptoms of an alcohol detox? 

Symptoms are different for everyone, but this is what to expect from the first few hours of stopping drinking alcohol to one week on. 

You can experience withdrawal symptoms as quickly as two hours after your last drink. 

The most difficult and painful symptoms usually stop in week one, while others can last for months. 

6-12 hours
  • headache 
  • anxiety 
  • shaking 
  • nauseous  
  • irritability
Day 1
  • Disorientation
  • hand tremors 
  • seizures
Day 2

Painful symptoms from the first 24 hours can continue into day two. In addition to the list of symptoms on day one, some people experience panic attacks and hallucinations. 

Days 3-7

Days 3 – 7 are the most dangerous. The most serious effect from alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens when people can experience serious confusion and cardiovascular collapse. Fortunately delirium tremens affect less than 5%* of people. However, it is crucial to identify early signs because it can be fatal. 

It is so important not to detox from alcohol at home – you need to be with medical professionals who can identify signs of fatal symptoms and keep you safe. 

After One Week

Most withdrawal symptoms that continue after one week of detoxing are minor and can be easily treated. 

Read in more detail about alcohol detox symptoms and the timeline of detoxing.

What does Livingstone House do to help people detox from alcohol?

Livingstone House is a CQC registered alcohol detox center, alcohol detox nhs, 

  • Our Detoxification programme involves 3 steps:
    • Clinical Assessment and Screening
    • Admission process
    • Discharge planning
  • On completion of detoxification, Service Users focus on core issues to identify areas of their lives that pushed them to misuse alcohol with 1 to 1 counselling and peer and staff support.

Read more about what to expect from our services and programmes.

What is the best way to alcohol detox? 

The best way to alcohol detox is not alone, and not at home. 

Symptoms from withdrawal can change unexpectedly and worsen very quickly. It is important to detox under the care of medical professionals. Treatment professionals at a rehab facility such as Livingstone House will help you manage your symptoms and pain.

An alcohol detox isn’t easy, but with medical assistance and professional support it’s possible to safely change your life and take positive steps towards the person you want to be. 

If you are concerned about someone you know who may be showing signs of alcohol addiction, or may be in need of urgent help, please get in touch. 

*National Library of Medicine. 

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