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Separating Myth from Fact: Can You Detox from Alcohol Without Professional Help?

Last Updated: May 16, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Many people who struggle with alcohol addiction want to believe they can handle the symptoms of withdrawal without any help. It’s normal to feel this way: addiction can make us feel lonely or ashamed, so we would rather deal with it by ourselves. 

The truth is alcohol withdrawal can be a dangerous and even life-threatening process, so detoxing on your own is not recommended. Our caring addiction experts can help you start your recovery safely. Ask yourself these three questions before trying to wean off alcohol on your own.

Do I know what to expect during alcohol withdrawal?

Knowing what to expect during alcohol withdrawal can help you make the best decision for your needs. The alcohol withdrawal timeline is different for everyone, but in general: 

  • Stage 1, 6–12 hours: Mild symptoms begin to occur. These may include alcohol cravings, nausea, insomnia and mood changes.
  • Stage 2, 12–48 hours: Symptoms start to escalate. The symptoms of Stage 1 will become more intense. Physical changes such as rising blood pressure and heart rate may occur.
  • Stage 3, 48–72 hours: This is the most intense stage of detox with the most dangerous symptoms. Seizures, hallucinations and delirium tremens (DTs) may develop as symptoms peak during this stage. DTs can be life-threatening and fatal without medical attention. 

Symptoms may remain for 7–10 days or more, and often go away more slowly than they started.

Do I risk relapsing if I do it on my own?

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic medical condition, not a willpower problem. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable; many people start drinking again just to avoid them. If you truly want to stop drinking for good, our professionals can make sure you finish detox without relapsing. 

Is medical detox recommended for my alcohol addiction?

Only a medical professional can officially diagnose an alcohol addiction and make recommendations for detox. However, if you have a history of:

  • Heavy drinking
  • Long-term alcohol use
  • Relapses after detox
  • Delirium tremens

Or you experience three or more of these alcoholism signs:

  • You cannot control your drinking
  • Your life has become unmanageable
  • You try to hide your drinking
  • You rely on alcohol to get through the day
  • You drink in the morning or when you’re alone
  • You’re facing legal consequences as a result of drinking
  • You blackout or forget things you did when drinking
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking

Medical detox will most likely be recommended to keep you as safe as possible and ensure a successful recovery. 

How Medical Detox Can Help

The medical detox team at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper keeps you as safe and comfortable as possible as you experience alcohol withdrawal in an alcohol-free environment. You’ll receive 24/7 medical supervision and support, medications to manage symptoms and therapeutic counseling so you can avoid relapse and start your recovery successfully. Detox patients are then transferred to their next level of care immediately after detox for a stronger, more comprehensive recovery. 

Ready to start your medical detox?

We’ll be here to answer any questions, verify your insurance benefits, and book personalized treatment that works for you.


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