Home Based Drug and Alcohol Detox and Addiction Counselling

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A home detox programme refers to going through alcohol treatment in the comfort of your home, as compared to doing it at a residential rehab clinic. 

This is normally done when you wish to remain at home during your drug addiction treatment. 

To have an effective addiction treatment at home, you will need the support of alcohol rehab clinics that specialize in this, because there are some medications and sedatives you would need to use in order to deal with and alleviate any withdrawal symptoms and mental health issues associated with the treatment programme. 

Do you need home detox? 

Probably. If you are currently struggling with alcohol addiction, an alcohol detox programme is needed to help you start the journey towards alcohol addiction treatment.

It is the first step, but you should be ready for withdrawal symptoms during the detox process which can be severe sometimes.  

They include: 

  • Cold and hot sweats. 
  • Shaky arms, hands, and feet. 
  • Irritability, agitation, and restlessness. 
  • Insomnia 
  • Anxiety, panic, or irrational fear. 
  • Nausea and vomiting. 

If your alcohol consumption has reached dependence levels, then you may need to find a detox programme in the UK that will work for you, as you work towards an addiction free life. 

Why should you consider a home detox? 

Sometimes, modern life has too many commitments, which means that you may not have the time or even be willing to go into a residential rehab clinic.

Additionally, children, work and other family commitments may make it impossible to concentrate away from home. 

For this reason, a home detox programme is most ideal. There are plenty of professionals across the UK, offering treatment programmes for home detox. They will provide everything you need to do this safely. 

Benefits of a home alcohol detox 

Here are some of the benefits of detoxing from alcohol at home: 

It is fast 

The process starts almost immediately you make the decision. This means that there is no waiting list for you to start your detox and alcohol addiction treatment. 

It is safe 

When you find the right alcohol home detox program in the UK, a doctor will come over to your own home to assess your needs.

They will also come with a trained therapist, who will handle your therapy, family, mental health and provide more information on the whole process. 

This is designed to help prevent some extreme effects such as fits and seizures that are sometimes a side-effect of detoxing from alcohol.  

As the alcohol addiction treatment proceeds, your body will start to gradually re-balance, and you will start feeling much better after some time. 

It is convenient 

Compared to signing up to a residential rehabilitation centre, a home detox is more convenient and allows you to continue with your normal life.

You can carry on with your regular activities, although the use of heavy equipment and driving are not allowed. 

It is affordable 

You cannot compare the cost of residential treatment to home based treatment. Even if you require family support, participation in support groups, and following the nice guidelines laid out by the expert team of rehab professionals. 

It is confidential 

If you are addicted to alcohol, or drugs such as heroin, you really do not want people to know that you are getting the treatment from such addictive behaviours. As such, a home detox programme is most ideal due to its confidentiality. 

Most clinics in the UK offer a free confidential assessment of your dependence on the addictive substance before they come up with treatment options. 

It offers excellent support 

Detoxing from alcohol at home requires a strong support system especially since alcohol use disorder can be hard to overcome.

Most people with a drinking problem normally incorporate it as part of their social life and will need as much support as possible to apply the addiction treatments in a bid to quit drinking.  

Ensures on-going alcohol treatment 

When you are at home, the UK home detox programme you have chosen will continue providing you with ongoing treatment that features recovery coaching, counselling, therapy, and symptoms management even after the detox is over. 

However, remember that detox only serves as the first step towards healing alcohol use disorder and therefore, you will need to all the treatments available, especially medication to beat the addictions. 

How quickly can you start the detox? 

Usually, alcohol dependence treatment can start as soon as you’re ready, and once you have contacted an alcohol home detox specialist clinic in the UK, they will get you ready in about a day or two.

In fact, one charity - The Forward Trust and Action recommends starting the detox programme as soon as you are ready. [1]  

What is involved during a home detox and how does it work? 

To start the treatment programme, the alcohol rehab clinic will contact their head office to arrange for an alcohol addiction treatment that will start with a home detox as per their client’s needs. 

Their specialist doctor or a nurse within the drug and alcohol service will then visit you and conduct a full medical examination that includes the following services: 

  • Blood pressure check 
  • Documenting the type of addictions, you have. 
  • Blood analysis  
  • Respiratory and pulse examinations. 
  • A prescription of the medication. 
  • Dietary and direction advice. 
  • Family history 
  • Your alcohol consumption levels. 
  • Your level of addiction 
  • Your level of drugs intake 
  • Amount of therapy you will need. 
  • Any other medication you may require. 
  • Any other information you may require about the treatment.  

How long will an alcohol home detox take? 

The first thing you should know is that; when looking for the right treatment for your addiction, it will be a long journey, and detoxing from alcohol and drug use when you are suffering from alcoholism will not be easy. 

The detox alone could take around seven days. In this time, your body will get rid of all the drugs and alcohol in your system since your last drink. 

Normally, at the start of the programme, one of the treatments you shall receive is a high dose of sedatives that will help reduce the likely symptoms of alcohol addiction.

In this time, you may need to take vitamins to replace any lost nutrients in your body. 

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How much will it cost? 

Home detox is cost-effective and provides one of the best care options available for addictions.

Most rehab clinics will only charge a fraction of the cost they would charge their clients if they attended a residential rehab programme. 

Additionally, the type of detox you will require will depend on the amount of treatment, therapy, and recovery time you will need.  

What should you eat and drink during a home detox? 

During the addiction treatment and alcohol home detox, you should be careful what you eat, as it is an important part of the recovery journey.  

This is because, alcohol affects your body's metabolism. So, during a home alcohol detox, you should focus on the following:  

Hydration 

Alcohol rehab and detox causes symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, depression, and loss of appetite.  

These however subside a few days after you've started the alcohol addiction treatment. But, making sure that you drink lots of liquids in this time can help you rehydrate and get rid of toxins.  

Drinks such as juice, water, ice pops, broth and gelatine are good for hydration during the early stages of alcohol use disorder treatment. 

A balanced diet 

A home alcohol detox will require you to ensure that you make use of being home and always eat a balance diet. Target foods that are rich in all nutrients and that meet your caloric needs.

Alcohol addiction can take a toll on your body because most addictions lead to a loss of appetite.  

Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits are a good place to start, and in case you need more information about this, you can consult your addictions specialist. 

Vitamins and minerals 

When doing an addiction treatment at home, the addiction specialist is not likely to prescribe the strong medication that will ease with the symptoms.

Which means that you will have to rely on minerals and vitamins to take care of the gap and remove toxins from your body. 

Some of them include multivitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, B vitamins and Calcium. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms 

During the alcohol addiction detox treatment, the addict has a lot to deal with. Other than the physical dependence on alcohol, they will start to notice some withdrawal symptoms within twelve hours of their last drink.

When these are combined, they are known as Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, and it is one of the services offered by the drugs and alcohol rehab clinics. 

These symptoms are like a bad hangover although they are quite manageable.

The only problem would be when the person does not understand how severe their alcohol addiction really is, or how complicated the symptoms can get.  

Complications of alcohol addiction 

During alcohol rehab and recovery, there are many services offered by the addiction clinics in the UK.

One of these services is treatment for alcohol addiction complications. These symptoms can be pretty severe as a result of drinking alcohol for too long.  

For example, the addicted individual may start hallucinating, where they see, feel, or hear something that is not real, or event here.  

They may also experience something called delirium tremens or DTs, which is even more serious. Therapy normally helps in most cases, but if no treatment is given, these symptoms can be fatal. 

DTs is a sudden and serious change in the individual's nervous and mental status which is usually a result of the addiction treatment.

It can start anywhere between two or four days after they stop drinking although there are cases where it starts one week after they start rehab. 

DTs is however mostly experienced by people with a history of head injuries, infection, heavy addictions to drugs and alcohol and any other illness associated with addiction. 

DTs can be signified with the following symptoms: 

  • Sudden and severe confusion - This is where the individual cannot understand who they are, or where they are, because of the addiction treatment or detoxing. 
  • Agitation and irritability. 
  • Extreme hallucinations. 
  • Insomnia. 
  • Mood swings. 
  • Body tremors. 
  • Exhaustion. 

Sometimes, seizures may occur with DTs and can even occur without any other symptoms of addiction.

The individual in rehab that has had past issues with alcohol withdrawal is most likely to experience this. 

DTs is considered to be a medical emergency, and the rehab clinic will treat this as soon as possible. However, if you are doing a home detox, you should immediately go to the emergency room. 

Nelsan Ellis, who was a beloved actor that played Lafayette in the drama series "True Blood," died of DTs, as a result of heart failure while attempting to detox at home.

He was only 39 years old. He had a blood infection in his liver and kidney and finally his heart just stopped beating.[1]  

This just goes to show that you MUST go to the Emergency Room immediately you start experiencing this condition.  

What are the risks of detoxing from home?

There are many risks associated with a home detox. Most of them however are related to the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal you are likely to experience, and although each person is unique in this life, there is really no way of telling whether you will experience these symptoms or not, even with the right therapy. 

Detoxing normally makes use of some prescription medications that help decrease how severe the symptoms can get, and when one experiences them without the help of a doctor, they are bound to become fatal. 

Doctors in the UK usually use prescription medications such as lorazepam, (Ativan) alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium) to decrease the severity and damage caused by the alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  

When one experiences these symptoms without medical assistance, they are at risk of hallucinations, heart failure and seizures.  

Home detox however can sometimes restrict access to the emergency medication needed for the severe withdrawal symptoms, and this increases risks for complications. 

If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, mental illness, PTSD, or other symptoms of addiction, then, there are high chances that your addiction treatment will cause a lot of these symptoms once the alcohol is removed.  

In other words, we are saying that, although a home-detox program is recommended for anyone who cannot make it to a rehab clinic, it can be quite dangerous, because addiction treatment is unpredictable.  

You really do not know in advance, how it will affect you. Therefore, only do this under the supervision of a licensed UK drug treatment centre.  

What next, after detox? 

As we have mentioned above, detox is only the first step towards your journey to abstinence.

Once you complete it, you should then embark on a post-detox strategy for sobriety and attending a rehab clinic in the UK could help you get sober.  

Ensure to find a programme that works for you, and that features all the treatment options that will help you stop drinking alcohol.  

Conclusion 

Detox, as the first stage towards a life of abstinence is the most important, and clients usually gain a lot of ground by simply completing this stage.  

Therapy will also help you cope with your reasons for drinking excessively and it will provide you with some strategies and tools to help cope with any cravings. 

We urge you to take care of yourselves and undertake an aftercare therapy programme that will help in overcoming your alcoholism. 

Different people respond differently to therapies, and you must never compare yourself to anyone. Just take your journey individually.  

Be sure to attend an abstinence-based support programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and other similar programmes that alcoholics in the UK participate in, on their journey to treatments and recovery. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

Last Updated: November 1, 2021

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.