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Alcohol intoxication can be a serious issue that requires prompt, effective care and attention. Treating it at home may be an acceptable approach, depending on the severity of the intoxication and the person’s level of dependency. However, in many cases, it comes with significant risks. Heavy drinkers and their loved ones need to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication, which include confusion, slurred speech, and difficulty walking. If these effects are severe or if the individual has a history of alcohol misuse, seeking professional medical and mental health treatment may be necessary to promote long-lasting recovery.

Guardian Recovery offers a wide range of behavioral health services designed to address each individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Our team of professional, licensed treatment professionals ensures that individuals receive the best possible support and care. Contact us today to learn more about our therapeutic methodologies and full continuum of services.

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How Do You Treat Alcohol Intoxication at Home?

Treating alcohol intoxication at home primarily involves providing support, monitoring the person’s condition, and ensuring their safety. Those who are attempting to do so themselves are urged to make sure they are not alone and that a companion is prepared to help them in any way possible if they need it. It’s also important to remember that severe alcohol intoxication (alcohol poisoning) requires immediate medical attention.

Strategies for Treating Alcohol Intoxication at Home Include:

  1. Provide a calm, restful, safe, and secure environment for recovery and remove potential hazards that could cause injury.
  2. If they are conscious, encourage the individual to drink water or non-alcoholic beverages to help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Do not use caffeine or other stimulants—these do not help drinkers “sober up,” and instead, they can cause further dehydration and serve to mask the effects of intoxication.
  3. Allow the person to rest and get sufficient sleep, which may improve their cognitive and motor functions.
  4. Stay with the person and monitor their vital signs, including breathing, heart rate, and body temperature. If their condition worsens, seek medical assistance immediately.
  5. If the person is not conscious or able to maintain an upright position, place them on their side to help prevent them from choking if they vomit.
  6. Throughout the process, offer the individual comfort and reassurance to help reduce their anxiety or make them feel more at ease if they are experiencing confusion or disorientation.

Signs & Symptoms of Intoxication Include:

  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking clearly or coherently.
  • Impaired coordination, including impaired balance, stumbling, or unsteady movements.
  • Impaired judgment, such as poor decision-making, impulsivity, or risky behaviors.
  • A flushed face or red, watery eyes that appear unfocused or droopy.
  • A distinct smell of alcohol on breath or clothing.
  • Delayed responses to stimuli or slower reaction times.
  • Altered mood or behavior, ranging from unstable emotions to inappropriate or aggressive actions.
  • Disorientation or confusion and reduced ability to understand or navigate surroundings.
  • Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Impaired memory and difficulty recalling recent events or conversations.
  • Excessive tiredness or sleepiness.

Important: Alcohol poisoning and severe intoxication require immediate medical intervention. Signs of alcohol poisoning include unconsciousness, slow or irregular breathing, seizures, cardiac complications, and pale or bluish skin. If these symptoms are present, call 911 or immediately visit the nearest emergency room.

The Role of Rest & Sleep in Alcohol Intoxication Recovery

Alcohol exerts depressant effects on a person’s body and brain, and this is never more evident than when they are intoxicated. Through rest and sleep, however, the body is given the opportunity to repair itself, restore balance, and process and clear alcohol from the system.

Benefits of Rest & Sleep During Recovery Include:

  • Restoring cognitive function, memory, and attention span that may have been impaired during intoxication.
  • Allowing the body to replenish fluids, regulate body temperature, restore energy levels, and process and eliminate alcohol and its byproducts.
  • Restoring the normal release of melatonin and hormones vital for sleep regulation and promoting overall recovery. (1)
  • Promoting cellular repair and regeneration caused by alcohol-related damage to tissues and organs.
  • Restoring normal psycho-emotional states by restabilizing emotions, reducing anxiety, and improving overall mental clarity and well-being.

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Staying Hydrated to Support Recovery from Alcohol Poisoning or Intoxication

Alcohol consumption dehydrates the body, and proper hydration can help reduce some of its adverse effects. Hydration supports the body’s natural detox process by helping the liver and kidneys filter and eliminate alcohol and other toxins. Drinking water to replenish fluids can restore hydration levels and combat alcohol’s diuretic impact. (2) Specifically, alcohol affects cell hydration, leading to dry and damaged tissues. Proper hydration helps replenish the body’s cells, promoting tissue repair and recovery.

Because excessive alcohol use can disrupt the electrolyte balance in the body, drinking electrolyte-rich fluids in moderation (e.g., sports drinks, such as Gatorade) or consuming foods rich in electrolytes can help restore equilibrium. (3) Although most medical experts advise drinking water regularly throughout the day to replenish lost fluids, the amount needed can vary depending on many individual factors, including a person’s body weight and physical activity level. (4)

Proper Nutrition for Detoxing & Recovering

Proper nutrition plays an integral role in detox and recovery from alcohol and drug misuse. Alcohol can deplete the body of vital nutrients and adversely affect various organs and bodily functions. Adopting a healthy and balanced diet early on during detox can help support the process. Typically, this means consuming a variety of whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

Healthy fats, in general, are important to support brain function and mitigate inflammation. On the other hand, protein-rich foods help repair tissue and support overall health. Many of the above-mentioned foods contain healthy fats, including nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish. Other included foods are high in protein and consist of both meat- and plant-based sources, such as poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and soy products.

Alcohol misuse can deplete B vitamins in the body and cause oxidative stress. To combat these issues, look for good sources of B vitamins and/or antioxidants, such as berries, dark leafy greens, eggs, lean meats, nuts, seeds, olive oil, dairy products, whole grains, and fatty fish like salmon. When consumed regularly, the combined benefits of these foods include combating inflammation, increasing energy, enhancing brain function, and protecting against infections and cellular damage. Of note, the B-vitamin B2 (riboflavin) also serves as an antioxidant and is abundant in sources such as almonds, wild rice, dairy products, eggs, spinach, fish, beef, and soybeans. (5)

Managing Nausea & Upset Stomach After Alcohol Consumption

Nausea and other digestive dysfunctions are commonly experienced after alcohol use. In addition to avoiding more alcohol, getting enough rest, and staying hydrated, there are other methods that may help with these issues. For example, ginger ale or peppermint teas and candies may be effective at reducing feelings of nausea and stomach upset. Also, over-the-counter medications such as antacids or anti-nausea remedies may provide relief.

Regarding diet, consuming mainly light, bland foods or drinking fluids such as clear broth or soup can be beneficial to help with stomach-related issues. Conversely, avoiding greasy, spicy, or heavy foods that can further irritate the stomach is encouraged. Whatever is consumed, opting for small, more frequent meals versus ingesting large portions can prevent the stomach from becoming overwhelmed.

Self-Care Strategies for Alleviating Headaches from Alcohol Intoxication

Headaches are a common symptom experienced after alcohol intoxication. If you’re dealing with a headache after consuming alcohol, there are several self-care strategies that may help. (6)

(6)https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/headache/hangover-headache

Techniques for Relieving Alcohol-Induced Headaches Include:

  • Avoid drinking more alcohol or using illicit drugs.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine and other stimulants.
  • Drink plenty of water, sipping throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Rest and relax in a quiet, comfortable place, and avoid exposure to loud noises or bright lights.
  • Place a cold or warm compress on the forehead, temples, or back of the neck.
  • Massage the temples, scalp, or neck with gentle pressure to help relax tense muscles.
  • Use non-prescription pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Motrin).
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or stretching.

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All mental health issues, including alcoholism, are typically best addressed using a holistic approach to treatment and overall well-being. At Guardian Recovery, we employ behavioral health strategies developed to provide individuals with the tools, support, and resources they need to heal medically and emotionally. Reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation assessment and health insurance benefits check, and we can explain more about our streamlined admissions process and commitment to providing effective care.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17612945/
  2. https://www.goodrx.com/health-topic/alcohol/why-does-alcohol-make-you-pee
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/21790-electrolytes
  4. https://fortune.com/well/2023/05/06/how-much-much-water-you-should-drink-each-day/
  5. https://dailyburn.com/life/health/benefits-vitamin-b-complex/

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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