Did the title grab your attention? Sorry for the fear-mongering, but I thought it was critical to really grab your attention if you’re thinking of detoxing from alcohol at home. You need to know why it’s a terrible idea that can cause you permanent harm or even death.
Can Alcohol Detox Really Kill You?
In short, yes, it most definitely can. People die everyday from alcohol withdrawal. In fact, Amy Winehouse’s family says that her death was caused by trying to detox at home (Source: MSNBC – Winehouse’s death points to dangers of detoxing alone).
Granted, people do detox on their own and survive – but that doesn’t change the fact that alcohol detox can have some of the most dangerous withdrawal effects of any drug – even heroin. If you’re a chronic alcoholic, you can literally die from not having a drink.
Even if you don’t die, you could very well get a seizure. Check out the video below if you want to see what that looks like.
Here’s video of the same gentleman shortly afterwards in a coma that lasted for 5 days. He was one of the lucky ones.
If you still need more proof that alcohol detox at home is a bad idea, here are some brief numbers and facts:
- 5% of untreated patients who go through acute alcohol withdrawal will have a seizure (delirium tremens)
- Around 15% of people who get seizures (delirium tremens) will die
- Alcohol withdrawal seizures (delirium tremens) can cause death by head trauma, heart attack, stroke, lethal dehydration, or asphyxiation (from choking to death on your own vomit).
- According to a 2004 review in the American Family Physician, up to 2 million Americans may experience some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal every year.
- Delirium tremens is most common in people who have already experienced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in the past, who have been drinking excessively every day for multiple months, and for anyone who has been an alcoholic for over 10 years.
- Some other common side effects of alcohol detox include insomnia, heart palpitations, nausea, tremors, profuse sweating, and trembling of the hands.
Here’s more information on the dangers of alcohol withdrawal and the potential effects.
Alternatives To Detoxing At Home
Your best alternative to detoxing at home is to check yourself into rehab. If you have the means, do everything you can to get yourself into rehab – it could save your life. The medical staff have the necessary training to give you the best chance of making it through detox safely.
Notice I said “best chance”. That’s because even in a fully equipped detox center with highly trained medical personnel and the right medication on hand, you could still experience seizures, although the risks are lowered. However, that goes to show just how dangerous alcohol detox can be.
Even if you ultimately want to quit drinking on your own, I would urge you to seek medical help if you’re looking to detox – it could very well save your life.