The Challenges of Do-It-Yourself Alcohol Detoxification

Face it, if you are dependent on alcohol, quitting is not going to be easy. Of course, what do they say; “if you have to go through hell, don’t stop, keep going.” Yes, it’s a New Year, so perhaps one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to stop drinking, or maybe you just want to cut back substantially. If you are already an alcoholic, you know you are going to have to quit completely. You are probably wondering if that is even possible? 

Well, it is possible, but you probably won’t be able to pull-it-off by yourself. You are going to need some support from friends and family, and perhaps some professional assistance, especially if you want it to stick. In fact, 90% of do-it-yourself alcohol detox successes relapse in less than four years. Most of those in the first 3-6 months. Okay so, 100% minus 90% = a 10% success rate for do-it-yourself alcohol detox. 

Another interesting fact is that after so many tries and so many failures, dependent alcohol users stop believing they can quit or that it is even possible. That’s another depressing and harsh fact.

Do-It-Yourself Alcohol Detox Can Jeopardize Your Health

Most people that try a Do-It-Yourself detox attempt don’t go about it in a healthy way. If you’ve been drinking for a while and consume a large amount of alcohol, chances are your body has become dependent on the effects of the alcohol. Your body has become accustomed to it, and it has rewired your brain and your system. 

If you abruptly take it away, your body can no longer function normally without it. That’s when things can get rough. This phenomenon is more than just overwhelming withdrawal symptoms. If you are a serious long term dependent, then it could lead to kidney failure, heart attack, lung problems, delirium tremens, ketoacidosis, brain damage, even death (cite: 1). Just because alcohol is generally socially acceptable, do not make the mistake of underestimating its effect on your body during the detox process.

The Romanticism of the “Tough Guy Bravado”

So, why do so many people try and fail at their do-it-yourself detox New Year’s Resolutions? Well, if you’ve tried and failed in the past you certainly are not alone. You shouldn’t beat yourself up about it, or dwell on your failure. It’s not that you lack the will or character to see it through. The real problem is your body can’t handle it. Look, no matter how tough you think you are, or how much pain you can force yourself through – there is still a reality behind alcohol use disorder that is unavoidable. 

We all wish we could muster the strength to just put down the alcohol and never take another drink. It’s just not that easy. Your body at this point needs alcohol to function, and your mind inherently knows that the only way to feel normal is to take a drink, then everything will be alright. Your brain is telling you that if you don’t feed your body alcohol, it’s not going to run right. Unfortunately, once alcohol dependency has set in, this is actually true. See the problem? 

 

 
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If Do-It-Yourself Alcohol Detox Won’t Work and Isn’t Safe – What Can I Do?

If you want to quit and do it without further damaging your health, you’ll need some professional medical help. Yes, you’ll still need family support, and yes, you’ll still need to change your lifestyle and various hobbies, perhaps some friends too. Yes, even after you are over the withdrawal symptoms and done with rehab, you’ll still need to join a local support group and stick with it (cite 2). 

Why do you need professional medical help? First, because everyone’s situation is a little different. Your consumption levels may be more or less than someone else. You may have been drinking longer, perhaps all your life. Your alcohol consumption may involve all aspects of your life, your work, relationships, and social affairs. Your age also matters, so too does your current health status. Thus, you need a doctor who can customize your alcohol detox program.

Second, an addiction specialist with a medical background can best prescribe you substitute drugs that take the place of alcohol. This allows your body to get what it needs to function in place of the dependency on alcohol. This in no way means it will be a walk in the park, but it could prevent seizures and reduce other withdrawal extremes.

Why Are Residential Alcohol Treatment Centers Best?

Residential alcohol treatment centers have a better success rate than alcohol treatment centers which only see a patient for a few hours at a time. This is because when you visit a clinic, you then go back home, to the same place and environment that is enabling your drinking, perhaps causing you the stress causing you to want to have a drink. 

Also, at a residential alcohol treatment center, it’s a more relaxed atmosphere, where addiction specialists can observe your progress, offer assistance and be there for you during the most intense periods of alcohol withdrawal and all the raw emotions that go along with the process (cite: 3). 

Are you beginning to understand why do-it-yourself detox rarely works? Maybe you can see why a little time investment into yourself now will give you your life back and pay dividends for the rest of its duration. At LifeSync Malibu we are here for you – when you are ready to quit for the last time. We’ll help you march through hell, and we’ll all look back when you are completed, knowing; This Time You Did It.  

 

 
Click Here to Speak With a Detox Specialist 
 

 

References:

  1. “Alcohol and the brain: Pharmacological insights for psychiatrists,” by David Nutt, Published in The British Journal of Psychiatry Volume 175Issue 2, August 1999 , pp. 114-119. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.175.2.114
  2. “Alcoholics Anonymous Outcomes and Benefits,” by J. Scott Tonigan. Published in Recent Developments in Alcoholism pp 357-371, on June 30, 2008.
  3. “Determinants of suggestions for alcohol treatment,” by Robin Room, Susan Bondy, and Jacqueline Ferris. First published: May 1996. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1360-0443.1996.9156432.x
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Lifesync Malibu

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