Do It Yourself Alcohol Detox

Attempting a home detox program for alcohol cessation is a challenging feat. Although there are numerous doctor-sponsored programs available for those hoping to quit drinking, some prefer to tackle the challenge on their own. Understanding the symptoms of withdrawal, the nutritional deficiencies often associated with alcoholism, and the numerous natural herbs and supplements available to help you with the process will ensure you have much better odds for a successful conclusion to your efforts. Aligning yourself with programs such as AA for support and encouragement during the process will also go far toward helping you achieve your goals.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

You may wish to have a friend or family member nearby to help you with some of the unexpected reactions to alcohol cessation. Common symptoms are stomach upset, headaches, jittery sensations or shaking, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, or nightmares. You may run a temperature as your body releases toxins, or experience rapid heart rate or heavy breathing. Some withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe, such as seizures, hallucinations or delirium tremens. Be sure to have the phone number of a doctor nearby and someone who can drive you to the hospital or a treatment facility, if necessary. The withdrawal symptoms generally last from a few days to a week, but can linger for two to four months for the body to complete the detoxification process.

Dietary and Nutritional Deficiencies

While a social drinker may obtain 5 percent to 10 percent of his calories from alcohol, a heavier drinker can consume up to 50 percent of his calories merely from alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, there is very little nutritional benefit received from this large calorie intake and serious nutritional deficiencies are often present in alcoholics.

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Alcohol also has a rapid effect on blood sugar levels. The liver metabolizes alcohol but when in excess is unable to use it for the body’s immediate use. When stored as fat in the liver, it may scar the tissue or cause cirrhosis of the liver.

Alcoholism in all ages is usually associated with malnutrition, and heavy consumption often disables normal digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals. Most common deficiencies are vitamins A, D, E , K and most B vitamins. Essential minerals, folic acid and choline are often missing or deficient in alcoholics; folic acid helps form red blood cells and a deficiency in it often leads to anemia.


Megavitamin therapy and dietary aids can help ease withdrawal symptoms. Foods and fluids that are alkaline to the system such as vegetables, warm soups and broths will help aid in the detoxification process. Light proteins such as lean chicken and fish may be consumed, in addition to soothing teas such as chamomile, peppermint (excellent for stomach upsets) and valerian root, which is a mild, natural form of valium that helps ease anxiety.

Lots of water and diluted fruit juices are also recommended to keep the body well-hydrated during the detoxification process. Alcoholics often have blood sugar problems and, therefore, should avoid refined foods and sugar, cakes and candy. Eating small meals or snacks of protein and complex calories every few hours will help maintain and regulate glucose levels.

Supplement with B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. To help purge toxins, a buffered vitamin C powder (up to 5 grams to 10 grams daily) with added minerals mixed with water or juice may be easier to tolerate than taking tablets or capsules. Try to avoid caffeine and nicotine, if possible. Chromium may help with sugar cravings, and glutamine, naturally found in dairy foods and meats, also helps diminish cravings for sweets.

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