When someone who has developed a physical dependence on alcohol stops drinking suddenly, the body and brain are under extreme stress due to chemical imbalances which result in a wide range of physical symptoms. Even if these do not result in death, they can easily lead to situations where someone is unable to get help or is so confused and disoriented that they make a fatal mistake or injure others.
Some of the greatest and most common dangers of detoxing from alcohol at home include:
The greatest risk of self-detox, other than death of course, is the issue of relapse. While studies vary in the exact numbers, it is certain that the relapse rates are much higher for those who detox from alcohol at home. Having access to support from medical, psychology, and psychiatry professionals will substantially increase the chances of successful recovery. A detox program is often the first introduction to recovery and can help them safely and comfortably endure withdrawal, and continue long term treatment.
There are also unique long term risks associated with detoxing from alcohol at home. These are mostly caused by the actual withdrawal process itself and are made much more severe by going “cold turkey” without medications to manage the symptoms.
Self-detoxing from alcohol increases the level of risks associated with each of the following:
An effective simile for the effects self-detox from alcohol has on the brain is to think of the brain as a car with a manual transmission. Not everyone knows how to drive a manual, but most people know the horrible sound they make when it’s not done right. Normally, neurotransmitters act like the clutch and allow thoughts, feelings, and vital processes to shift smoothly. When experiencing withdrawal, the clutch doesn’t always get pushed in and the gears grind. The more this happens, the worse the gears get, and the easier it is for them to grind in the first place.
This also has negative effects on memory, cognition, and perception as well. Reduced mental capacity and an increase in dementia-like symptoms are very common among chronic alcoholics. These risks are elevated when undergoing alcohol withdrawal at home.
Having access to support from medically trained recovery professionals will substantially increase the chances of successful alcoholism treatment. Entering an alcohol detox center can provide access to resources that may not be available otherwise. This can help someone safely and comfortably endure withdrawal, and continue long term treatment.
If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the sponsored hotline is a confidential and convenient solution.
Calls to any sponsored hotline (non-facility) will be answered by:
If you wish to contact a specific medical detox center then find a specific detox center using our detox locator tool.
Alternatives to finding addiction treatment or learning about substance abuse:
To learn more about how Detox Local operates, please contact us.