How to detox your body from alcohol

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How to detox your body from alcohol?

You detox alcohol from your body by lowering the amount you drink. Depending on factors such as your weight, age, the severity of alcohol use, and gender, the alcohol detox process will be different for everyone.

Alcohol detox helps the body get rid of the alcohol toxins in your body. When you drink frequently, your body adapts to the alcohol by building a tolerance for it. 

Your central nervous system changes to accommodate the alcohol toxins as well as parts of your body.  

Fortunately, when you decide you've had enough and want to lead an alcohol-free life, your body responds by exhibiting alcohol withdrawal symptoms. 

When a person with alcohol dependence stops drinking, they experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, mood swings, nausea and/or vomiting, tremors or "the shakes," or loss of appetite.

The symptoms show up after your last drink, and they range from mild to severe. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening. If you experience these symptoms after heavy drinking, then you are going through withdrawal symptoms.  

As such, if you are a heavy drinker and want to quit drinking, you need to realize that quitting 'cold-turkey' can be harmful to your health.

If you have used alcohol for a long time, you can develop extremely dangerous symptoms like delirium tremens. 

The alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild symptoms to severe. If you are a chronic drinker, or if you have been binge drinking, the withdrawal symptoms can become unbearable.

If you are detoxing from home, you are likely to relapse if you can't manage the withdrawal symptoms. That's why it is advisable to go for alcohol detox at a treatment facility. 

Seeking professional treatment advice before you begin the detox process is essential. The medical practitioner will conduct a medical assessment to help you determine how best to approach the detox process. 

The detox process is not easy for everyone. As such, not everyone can quit drinking on their own because of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

That's why it is better to seek treatment at a treatment facility so that you can manage the withdrawal process. 

Does alcohol help detox your body? 

Alcohol cannot help your body get rid of alcohol. This process is not that straightforward because alcohol detox aims to help you get rid of alcohol toxins in your body.

So, you can slowly taper off what you are drinking if you have been drinking heavily.  

You do this by determining how much you drink per day. After that, you plan a strategy for gradually reducing how much you take per day. You can plan to lower your alcohol use by working with a medical professional. 

The best fluid to take when detoxing your body is water. Drinking water helps the body flush out the alcohol toxins. The body does this by passing off the alcohol through the digestive system, through sweating, and urine. 

The reason why people want to take alcohol during the detox phase is to reduce alcohol cravings. When you suddenly stop drinking, the brain goes into shock as it attempts to regain its equilibrium before you start drinking.  

This process makes alcohol detoxification uncomfortable. However, when you opt for medical detox, your medical provider will give you medications that help manage the cravings. 

You can search addiction organizations such as the substance abuse mental health services administration for a specific treatment centre listing.

Alternatively, you can find treatment providers listed in the national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism.  

A treatment provider will offer medical advice on how best to taper off the drinking and eventually stop taking alcohol. 

Alcohol intake does not guarantee a safe detox. You can decide to take it in moderation by tapering off how much you take.

For instance, the National Institute of Health recommends that both men and women should not take more than 14 units a week on a regular basis [1].  

They also recommend that you take several drink free days each week if you want to cut down. 

The issue with alcohol addiction is that it creeps up on someone. So, you may feel that you have the alcohol under control, only to discover that you are drinking more than you would like.

Therefore, if you want to detox from alcohol, addiction treatment is safer as you get medications to help you overcome the alcohol cravings. 

Best way to detox from alcohol 

Getting a complete alcohol detox treatment is the best way to detox from alcohol. This is because medical professionals will help you safely detox. You can get detox from home, in a medical facility, or at a rehab centre. 

Rehab facilities offer several treatment options to choose from. You can either opt for outpatient detox or inpatient. B

oth options offer a similar detox process, with the only difference being that you get to stay in the rehab facility with an inpatient. 

Detoxing on your own or at home may seem easier as it feels safe, comfortable and makes the situation feel easier.

However, detox from home may be risky, especially if you do not understand the withdrawal timeline and the withdrawal symptoms. 

Alcohol detox has potentially life-threatening risks involved-especially when you go cold turkey.

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as high blood pressure plus other physical symptoms, may result in death or other health complications.  

Although death from withdrawal is uncommon, you can never be certain how your body will react to the alcohol detox. 

Furthermore, if you were involved in substance abuse plus alcohol, you will likely get dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms may be so uncomfortable to some people that they end up relapsing. 

Many people struggling with alcohol use disorder also exhibits other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. 

People with mental health issues will develop alcohol dependence as a means of escape. Some people don't even realize that they are dealing with a mental health issue. 

Addiction treatment gives you a higher chance at recovery as you get medical supervision, support, and medical care.

When you reach out to a rehab centre, you will work with a certified addiction professional to develop a plan on how you can safely detox.  

The professional treatment advice you get when you engage a treatment provider helps you make an informed decision. 

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How detox from alcohol naturally 

You can help your body detox from alcohol naturally by being careful with your food and beverage choices. If you are eating junk food or have an unhealthy diet, detox means that you avoid such foods. 

Substance abuse, including alcoholism, drains your body of nutrients. Research shows that alcohol displaces the proteins, vitamins, and mineral-containing foods in your diet.

In cases of chronic alcoholism, alcohol interferes with the body's absorption of essential nutrients.  

Alcohol abuse leads to deficiencies in Vitamin B6, thiamine, and folic acid. Left unchecked, the effects of chronic alcoholism result in damage to the liver, the pancreas, and the digestive system. 

A natural alcohol detox requires you to help the body rebuild and repair from the effects of alcohol.

You are also helping the body get the energy it needs to heal from the alcohol toxins. Therefore, during alcohol detox, you need to eat balanced meals. 

A natural alcohol detox requires you to hydrate often. The effects of alcohol withdrawal are dehydration, diarrhoea, nausea, or vomiting. These symptoms can get worse if you do not hydrate properly. 

You should eat lots of fruits and vegetables as both are rich in fibre and vitamins. For instance, cruciferous vegetables are ideal for a recovering alcoholic because they are rich in folate, vitamin C, E, and K.  

When you detox from alcohol, one of the symptoms you get is craving for sugary foods. Addiction experts state that this craving is because sugary foods have a similar effect on the brain.

But you should avoid replacing one addiction with another. Instead, opt for sweet alternatives to sugary foods, e.g., baked pears or apple. 

Alcohol abuse leads to a protein deficiency. Yet, the body needs proteins for muscle building. Therefore, during alcohol detox, you must include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

You should eat foods rich in Vitamin A, D, Potassium, and Iron. Such foods help your body safely carry out the detox. 

Aside from developing a balanced diet, you should also sleep well. Some good sleep will help your body get back to normal. 

Other actions you can take to help your body detox naturally from alcohol are: 

a). Incorporating exercise. Light exercises such as walking, yoga, biking, or swimming are important as they can help lift your moods.

One of the symptoms of withdrawal is mood swings. But with light exercises, you can boost your mood plus your overall health. 

b). Deep breathing and meditation. Most rehab programmes have mind-body awareness programming. Such exercises are important for relaxation. 

c). Take certain herbs. Alcohol addiction damages the liver and help repair the central nervous system. Some effective herbs for withdrawal symptoms are kava, valerian, hops, damiana, or Catnip.

Most of these herbs help ease anxiety. The Passionflower herb and Skullcap help relax the nervous system and help reduce withdrawal symptoms such as tremors. 

How do you clean your stomach after drinking? 

You clean your stomach by drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it leads to the loss of fluids in the body. The body experiences dehydration and electrolyte imbalances which in turn leads to a hangover.  

You can prevent the effects of alcohol by drinking glasses of water between the alcoholic drinks or before you go to bed. 

There are symptoms of alcohol that you are likely to experience after drinking. They include vomiting, nausea, stomach pains, stomach, and intestine inflammation.

These symptoms occur because the gastrointestinal tract is the first part of the body to be affected by alcohol. 

Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to abdominal discomfort, heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach aches. Binge drinking and frequent drinking can trigger stomach gastritis or stomach inflammation. 

 This, in turn, leads to ulceration of the stomach lining. Heavy drinking is extremely dangerous because it harms other integral organs such as the liver and the pancreas.

These effects of alcohol are what lead to withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting and nausea, insomnia, headaches, and sometimes tremors. 

Other ways to clean your stomach include: 

  • Take fruit juice to replace the lost fluids. You can also incorporate salts, vitamins, and minerals. 
  • Alternatively, you can take sports drinks that contain electrolytes or rehydration powders to restore the electrolyte balance. 
  • Eat breakfast. You are likely to experience low blood sugar after your last drink. This is because as the body breaks down the alcohol, it increases the lactic levels. However, a healthy, balanced breakfast helps clean the stomach. You can eat dry toast, which helps soak up the acid and foods rich in proteins, vitamins, and healthy fats. 
  • Take some ginger tea with honey. Addiction experts state that honey helps the body break down alcohol. 
  • Go for foods that your body can handle. They include lean meats, beans, and lentils. You should eat foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, cherries, grapes, dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds. 
  • You should also drink coffee or tea. Coffee, black, and green tea help fight the adverse effects of alcohol. 

Other remedies that can help your stomach clean up include getting some good sleep after heavy drinking. Once you wake up, you can go jogging or go for a walk. 

Avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as they'll trigger the stomach pain. If you have a headache, you can take an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen.

But you still need to be careful with ibuprofen as it can also trigger stomach problems. 

Alcohol and detox tea 

There are endless detox teas in the market. Whereas these teas are marketed as being beneficial to the body, they may contain some harmful chemicals. 

Several studies prove this; for instance, in a study by George Gillett, Natesh Shivakumar, and others, the researchers observed that detox tea cause Acute Severe Hyponatremia [1]. 

Suppose you are considering taking detox tea during your alcohol detoxification. In that case, your GP can provide medical advice on the teas that can help you in your alcohol addiction treatment. 

Still, there are some detox teas that you can tea. These teas include green tea, ginger, and mint tea. These teas come packed with nutrients that help the body rebuild itself. They also help lower the withdrawal symptoms. 

Numerous treatment providers offer trustworthy health information for alcohol detox. Most rehab centres have toll free numbers listed on their site. You can reach out to them to begin detox and your recovery journey. 

Alcohol detoxification is the first phase of the recovery process. Once you complete the detox process, you need knowledge and coping skills to help you stay sober.

You can reach out to a specific treatment centre to discover more about the recovery journey for an online chat. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

Last Updated: February 16, 2022

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. Peter also co-authored the new 6th edition of Drugs In Use by Linda Dodds, writing Chapter 15 on Alcohol Related Liver Disease. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.