What can help with alcohol detox? Medications, nutritional support, distractions like reading, pets, walking or light exercise, emotional support, yoga and meditation and a jacuzzi, tub or spa will all help with alcohol detox. However, this kind of detox is not a DIY project. Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous, risky and potentially life-threatening. This doesn’t mean that everyone addicted to alcohol needs inpatient detox, not at all. It’s perfectly acceptable and certainly much more comfortable to stay in your own home during detox. However, this must be supervised by a trained medical professional experienced in the addiction or pain management field.
Someone with a long history of alcohol abuse who drinks pints of strong liquors like gin, whiskey and vodka daily is at high risk of potentially fatal alcohol withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens, called the DTs, as well as grand mal seizures. This kind of person will likely need inpatient detox for their own safety. For less involved cases, home detox may be perfectly safe. However, you cannot make this determination on your own. You need competent medical guidance.
This is the first-line protocol for alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines, commonly diazepam, will be given to you in higher doses to begin with and then slowly decreasing ones thereafter. Benzodiazepines are tranquilizing drugs in the Valium family. They work similarly to alcohol in the brain. Because of this, benzos can calm the brain, allow it time to adjust and greatly diminish the risk of grand mal seizures.
After you have safely completed detox and are ready to enter recovery treatment, you should know that several innovative medications are available to help you cope with the alcohol cravings that put you at high risk of relapse. These are:
Acamprosate helps restore the brain’s chemical balance, which reduces alcohol cravings. Naltrexone helps to block pleasurable feelings from drinking alcohol, causing the person to lose interest in the substance. Gabapentin and topiramate are both anti-seizure medications that work in the brain. Gabapentin is also prescribed to relieve nerve pain. Neither was developed to treat alcohol use disorder or AUD, but both may help with managing cravings and decreasing the chance for relapse. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant used off-label to help people with AUD.
Other Ways to Cope with Alcohol Detox: Nutrition
Nutrition is extremely important during the detox phase. Drinking alcohol depletes the body of crucial B vitamins, especially B-1, B-6 and folic acid. Alcoholics tend to consume poor diets, increasing the vitamin deficiency. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and fiber and also help to satisfy the craving for sweets some detoxing alcoholics experience. The mineral magnesium is commonly deficient in alcoholics.
Be sure to get plenty of magnesium by eating soybeans, avocados, cashews, legumes like chickpeas, seeds, nuts, whole grains and dark chocolate. Your target daily amount of magnesium should be around 300 to 400 milligrams. Take a multivitamin supplement and eat whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products like yogurt and cheese, lean meat and fatty fish like salmon. A fish oil Omega 3 fatty acid supplement with flaxseed and borage oil is another good choice.
Some people find that adding cayenne pepper to foods decreases alcohol cravings. It can’t hurt to try it.
Never try to handle detox alone. If you’re at home, be sure someone is there with you or just a phone call away. This person is preferably a nondrinker or perhaps a social drinker. It’s possible to have a former alcoholic as a support person, but they must have many years of sobriety under their belt before they can be of any help to you. Try picking up an old hobby or starting a new one.
Music may help tremendously by activating pleasure receptors in the brain. You can go outside for a short walk. The sunshine and fresh air will instantly brighten your mood.
Talk to supportive family members and interact with your children or grandchildren.
It’s amazing what a soak in a warm jacuzzi can do. If you don’t have access to one, an ordinary bathtub will do. Add luxurious bubble bath in your favorite scent to the water to treat yourself.
For More Help
We’re available 24 hours a day at 844-639-8371. Our group of professional drug counselors are experienced in guiding people with drug and alcohol problems to the best treatment options for them. We’ll help you find the perfect detox and recovery treatment for you.