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

Last Updated: February 1, 2024

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Article at a glance:

– Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and life-threatening, so detoxing without professional help is not recommended.
– Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can last for 7-10 days or more and may go away more slowly than they started.
– Alcohol addiction is a chronic medical condition, not a willpower problem, and professional help is needed to ensure a successful recovery.
– Only a medical professional can diagnose an alcohol addiction and recommend detox.
– The medical detox team at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper provides 24/7 medical supervision, support, medications, and therapeutic counseling for a safe and comfortable detox experience.
– Personalized treatment options are available and insurance benefits can be verified.

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.


Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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