When most people consider inpatient vs. outpatient rehabilitation programs, they usually think about the process of building a sober life. However, treating alcoholism has two important steps before you can begin to rebuild new habits and understand your cravings for alcohol. First, you must choose to get sober, and then you must go through a physical detox process. If you drink regularly, you may experience symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) when you stop drinking. These symptoms may vary in degree and usually start between 6 hours to three days after your last drink. Although the majority of the symptoms may subside within a week, you may still experience physical symptoms of withdrawal for several weeks after you stop drinking. 

Sometimes, the symptoms of AWS can be anticipated and you can complete the detox process at home, under minimal medical supervision. However, before you stop drinking, it is important that you prepare for your detox process by following these five tips. 

Meet With a Detox Professional 

AWS can quickly become a serious medical condition. For that reason, it is important to coordinate your home detox with an outpatient treatment facility. Before you begin your detox, a medical professional should take a blood sample to determine your alcohol levels and ask you questions to better understand your drinking habits. They may prescribe medication that will help control the physical symptoms of AWS during your detox period, and they will give you a better idea of what you can expect during your specific detox.  

Be Honest About Your Drinking Habits 

While you are talking to your detox professional, make sure you are honest about when and how much you drink on a daily basis. Although this may be difficult, it will allow them to assess your situation more thoroughly and alert them to the potential for any complications that might require an in-patient detox program. 

Get a Trusted Friend or Family Member to Assist You 

Throughout your first week or more of detox, you should have a trusted friend or family member with you constantly. They will not only be able to offer emotional support during your detox, but they will also be able to monitor your symptoms of withdrawal and get you medical assistance if it is necessary. You may want this friend or family member to go with you to your initial consultation at the detox center so they can get more information and specifics about your schedule for check-ins at the center. 

Know the Symptoms of Severe AWS 

Although mild to moderate AWS can be treated at home, you should be prepared to seek medical assistance if you exhibit signs of extreme AWS. This includes extreme confusion or agitation, a fever, seizures, or hallucinations. If your friend or family member that is assisting you notices these more extreme symptoms, they should contact your detox professional and get you immediate medical attention. 

Be Prepared With Healthy, Easy to Consume Foods 

During the detox period, you may feel weak, nauseated, or simply not hungry. It is important that you keep up your strength by eating a plain but nutritious diet. A general recovery diet, such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast may be helpful. As you feel capable, you will want to add in more substantial foods such as a source of protein and more vegetables and fruits. 

Although the initial detox can be difficult at home, it is possible to complete it safely if you are under the supervision of an experienced medical professional. After your initial detox, it is important that you continue going to counseling sessions with your detox professional in order to establish healthy habits that will help with your sobriety.