Detoxing from Alcohol at Home - Any Advice for my Friend?

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Skeletal_Wings

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Hello all,

One of my best friends of many years has developed a serious alcohol dependency. He's been a heavy drinker for basically the entire time I've known him, but it's gotten really bad. If he doesn't quit, I feel like he will be dead in a couple years.

I keep urging him to go to an inpatient facility, but his insurance (he is a disabled vet) is supposedly making it hard and making him wait. I don't know how much of that is true, and how much of it is excuses for him being too scared to go away to inpatient (he did it in the past, and eventually relapsed). He does want to get sober so bad, and keeps detoxing at home... he'll have terrible muscle spasms and seizures and eventually drink after a day or two. He's been to the ER a lot but they maybe give him a valium or two and send him on his way.

Does anyone have any advice? I guess there's two different things I'm hoping for advice on...
1) Resources for veterans with alcohol dependency, and the best way to go about getting help when you have insurance through the VA.
2) Since he keeps insisting on doing these home detoxes... What's the safest way for him to do this? (Medications, doses, etc). I know benzos are essential for detoxing off alcohol safely, but don't know much else. I've never had this problem or known anyone well who has. Any other meds that can help? Anything that can help keep the cravings at bay once he's gone through the worst of the physical detox?

Any advice would be appreciated!
 
I'll answer your #2 question: He WILL seizure and/or in a coma if he tries to do it by himself. If he's not willing to admit he's got a problem with xyz then your first question is null.

BUUUUT, if I had to SUGGEST... take him to the VA and let them know that he needs a detox from alcohol and drugs urgently and later, possibly a rehab or a sober living until he gets "better".

Good luck and I will pray for him.
 
A family member just detoxed in the ICU. It was brutal. Keep in mind that alcohol withdrawal is one of the withdrawals that can kill you. I would hope the VA would help.
 
If you aren't a medic. He could die.. so try and get him sorted properly as Isntiton advised.

If he's going to listen to no advice...
high dose valium. very high. Read up on complications, time-frames, resources about alcohol detox. How dependent is he e.t.c
Might give a time-frame for things.
But as said it's a bad idea.. you need observations done i think like blood pressure and regular observation for seizures e.t.c and other things that could kill. Neuroleptic Malignant syndrome could maybe be a potential side effect, I don't know. - it's not something to do alone without professionals.
 
@redgoat youre right...they say "detoxing from opiods will make you wish you were dead....detoxing from booze can actually kill you", and indeed, a wife of a friend did just that (with the best intentions to kick alcohol at home) . Wife and mother, died in her sleep.
 
@Slantedfloor Shit. I'm sorry to hear that. My Condolences.

Some drugs are not safe/deadly to come off of too fast. Alcohol, Fast-acting Benzos (or very high dose long ones), Barbiturates - mainly CNS depressants that effect GABA from what I've seen.
Apparently heroin can kill from dehydration and losing all your electrolytes from being sick and diarrhea.

again, sorry to hear that.. that's awful.
 
Hello all,

One of my best friends of many years has developed a serious alcohol dependency. He's been a heavy drinker for basically the entire time I've known him, but it's gotten really bad. If he doesn't quit, I feel like he will be dead in a couple years.

I keep urging him to go to an inpatient facility, but his insurance (he is a disabled vet) is supposedly making it hard and making him wait. I don't know how much of that is true, and how much of it is excuses for him being too scared to go away to inpatient (he did it in the past, and eventually relapsed). He does want to get sober so bad, and keeps detoxing at home... he'll have terrible muscle spasms and seizures and eventually drink after a day or two. He's been to the ER a lot but they maybe give him a valium or two and send him on his way.

Does anyone have any advice? I guess there's two different things I'm hoping for advice on...
1) Resources for veterans with alcohol dependency, and the best way to go about getting help when you have insurance through the VA.
2) Since he keeps insisting on doing these home detoxes... What's the safest way for him to do this? (Medications, doses, etc). I know benzos are essential for detoxing off alcohol safely, but don't know much else. I've never had this problem or known anyone well who has. Any other meds that can help? Anything that can help keep the cravings at bay once he's gone through the worst of the physical detox?

Any advice would be appreciated!
@Skeletal_Wings I am sorry for you having to go through this and for your friend. My father and brother were both dependant on alcohol and unable to stop. I watched my brother who smoked and drank wither before and felt helpless. It was frustrating and traumatic. So I feel for you with this worry, as that is how I felt about my brother and dreaded it, the wait and feeling helpless.
I have read the comments and think there is good advice given which I hope helps. The fact that he wants to get sober so bad is really encouraging as my brother never had that. Detoxing at home is dangerous as he needs to be somewhere where he can be in same hands and care taken if he feels or has a relapse. ER is not the place for him as they will be useless and cannot give him the help he needs. I cannot answer your questions, wish I could, but think the place to start would be doctor who is understanding and can refer him to a professional place which understands and can provide care and also counselling. The AA has had good results because they provide mentors and friendships with people in the same boat who understand and the mentor is there for help when he is struggling. But from your message I think he needs more than this. The doctor should provide something to help him cope with the withdrawal, as they do this for high level addicts I have heard.
 
Thank you everyone for the support, advice, and encouragement!

He tells me all the time how badly he wants to get sober. But, I think he's not quite at the point where he is willing to do absolutely ANYTHING to get sober. It occured to me briefly to ask here "how can I get him from being 99% ready and willing to change [the point I think hes at now] to being 100% ready" -- and if anyone does have any answers to that, that would be awesome -- but when I think back to my own experience, I think it's very hard if not impossible for anybody but yourself to get you to that point. I've battled with drug addiction in the past, and nothing changed for me until I was ready. The people closest to me did have a strong influence, but you can't do it for other people, it's too hard, you got to do it for yourself.

I just hope he can turn his life around before the alcoholism kills him. At the rate he's going, I don't think he has more than another 5 years or so to live unless he changes his ways.
 
My sister is in her late 40s and has been drinking heavily for some time. There was never any talking to her as she would deny and get very defensive. She lost her beloved dog unexpectedly to Cancer recently and that just made her worse. That dog was her child. I've always felt things were going to come to a head for her very soon and that her health just would not hold up but never expected what would happen only recently. She has developed very bad neuropathy and her upper legs are completely numb and paralysed. She still has the use of her lower legs but can't easily go from sitting to standing and loses balance easily. She went for a medical assessment yesterday and had no nerve impulse responses in her left leg at all. She is terrified now and has been told she may not walk again, that it could get worse. She has stopped drinking now as far as I know but I just hope it's not too late for her. It's heartbreaking to see...
 
My sister is in her late 40s and has been drinking heavily for some time. There was never any talking to her as she would deny and get very defensive. She lost her beloved dog unexpectedly to Cancer recently and that just made her worse. That dog was her child. I've always felt things were going to come to a head for her very soon and that her health just would not hold up but never expected what would happen only recently. She has developed very bad neuropathy and her upper legs are completely numb and paralysed. She still has the use of her lower legs but can't easily go from sitting to standing and loses balance easily. She went for a medical assessment yesterday and had no nerve impulse responses in her left leg at all. She is terrified now and has been told she may not walk again, that it could get worse. She has stopped drinking now as far as I know but I just hope it's not too late for her. It's heartbreaking to see...
Wow! I'm so sorry to read this! I have never heard of this sort of symptom being a result of alcohol but I definitely am no expert. One of my dearest friends died a few years ago from cirrhosis due to his alcoholism and while he tried briefly to give it up - there just wasn't enough in his life to generate the motivation to climb that hill.

I hope so much that your sister can turn it all around. That she has started to abstain from drinking certainly shows some strong motivation. My best wishes to you and her! 🙏
 
@jaders from what I've read this kind of neuropathy can occur with cirrhosis too but you can also get alcoholic neuropathy which as far as I know can be irreversible. I really hope not for her sake. She is a good person and doesn't deserve this. She's waiting to see a neurologist so fingers crossed. Thanks so much for your well wishes đź’•
 
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