Most people going through detox from alcohol do not need hospitalization or inpatient treatment. But they do need to take precautions. If they decide to detox at home, they should consult a physician beforehand. They will also need someone to stay close by during the detoxification process to help guide them and be there for safety purposes. When alcoholics stop drinking they almost always experience withdrawal symptoms. If you are helping someone detox from alcohol at home, you need to be readily available and ready to get medical assistance if necessary.
Talk to a counselor yourself for some advice on options for your friend or family member. Make arrangements with a treatment center or clinic to take the person there in case of emergency. Outpatient treatment is also an option.
Help the person outline a plan to stop drinking from the start date, advises Alcoholism Solutions. The person should talk to a physician, who might prescribe medication on a reduced dosage to be taken for several days.
Work together to rid the home of all alcoholic products. Do not let the person see other people who may be a bad influence. Keep healthy foods in the home. Have some herbs or nutritional supplements available to help your friend or relative with withdrawals. Vitamins A, B3, B6, C, D and E are especially helpful along with milk thistle, beta-carotene, magnesium, glutamine and primrose oil.
Stay with the person for at least 48 hours through the detox process. Stay longer if you feel there is an emotional need.
Be prepared to help the person through emotional withdrawals that may include anxiety, nervousness, depression, fatigue, irritability, nightmares, rapid emotional changes and difficulty in thinking clearly.
Watch for physical symptoms that may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, sweating, sleeping difficulties, tremors, enlarged or dilated pupils, or involuntary movements of the eyelids, according to Alcoholics Info. Seek medical help if you have any questions or doubts about the person getting through the detox process.
Know that you are the main support for this person, because you have chosen to be there through the detoxification process. Your presence helps give the person strength and security. Remind the person why he or she is going through the detoxification process if you notice any doubts or second thoughts that arise.
Encourage and reinforce the person’s initial decision to stop drinking and explain how much better it will be as it gets close to the time of being completely free from alcohol.