Some people cannot stop drinking on their own. The disease is too serious and they may suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to death. Other people, whose drinking is not so severe, may suffer from mild symptoms and can manage through a self-detox process with guidance from a professional. You have to know yourself and your body’s reactions. Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms may occur within 24 hours after the last drink and include insomnia, anxiety, sweating, stomach upset and raised blood pressure. Severe reactions may result in tremors, disorientation, irregular heartbeat, seizures and death.
Start by tapering off, if you don’t want to quit immediately. You can cut down on your drinking before your quit date. If you cannot cut down, medical help is a must.
Stick to beer, which has a lower alcohol content than hard liquor, if you decide to taper off first. Drink no more than one beer per hour.
Gradually reduce your intake over a period, from a day to a week. If you feel no need for a drink by that time, you can quit completely and monitor any symptoms.
Drink lots of water to fight off dehydration as the alcohol leaves your system.
Take plenty of vitamins, particularly vitamins B and C, either through supplements or in foods and fluids.
Eat a diet high in vegetables and fruits. Alcohol displaces nourishing foods and can cause malnutrition, says Dr. Andrew Saul, author of "Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing that Works." A vegetarian diet may be best at this time, but even if you're eating meat, eat as many veggies as possible. Eat foods with lots of fiber. Stay away from fat and sugar.
Continue to monitor yourself closely, long after you have successfully quit drinking. Depression can often arise during the early stages of recovery. Counseling or self-help programs are recommended.
People with mild symptoms are still advised to seek outpatient detoxification through a treatment program, says Dr. Richard D. Blondell of the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky.
Withdrawing from alcohol can be dangerous for people who already have high blood pressure or heart conditions. In these cases medical assistance is highly recommended.
Your doctor can provide you with withdrawal medication. In some states doctors are required to report anyone with alcohol withdrawal symptoms to an inpatient detox center. In other states a person may be allowed to attend an outpatient program or be given a prescription for self-detox.