How Does Alcohol Detox Work?
When a person has an alcohol use disorder (alcohol addiction), it’s because drinking alcohol has caused the production of certain chemicals in the brain to be altered, making it so the brain cannot function normally without alcohol in its system. The more you drink, the more changes occur in the brain, causing both physical and psychological alcohol dependence. This causes uncomfortable, painful, and even potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms to happen when you try to cut back or stop drinking. It can also cause you to crave alcohol when you’re not currently under its influence and make you feel compulsions to drink, even if you do not want to.
If you’ve been drinking for a long time, drinking heavily, or binge drinking, you may need a professional alcohol detox to be able to stop in a safe and effective manner. This means you will stop drinking under the watchful eye of trained medical professionals, and your body will be able to flush out the substances that were consumed during the period of drug and alcohol abuse.
Sometimes detoxing from alcohol can be dangerous, so using specific, targeted prescription medications, along with integrated medical care and mental health care can reduce your risk of not only relapsing but also experiencing painful or hazardous effects of detoxing and help you transition back to a more balanced state.
Once you have completed detox, it is recommended to move directly into an alcohol rehab program that can help you explore and heal the underlying causes of your alcohol addiction and provide you with the recovery tools you will need to move forward in life as a sober person.
What are Some Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
The most common mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety and mood swings
- Increased heart rate
- Brain fog
- Insomnia and/or nightmares
- Uncontrollable sweating
- Cravings for alcohol
These symptoms can cause you to feel significant distress but are rarely hazardous to your health. With alcohol detox, there is always a chance that you may suddenly lapse into dangerous detox territory, escalating to severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures and delirium tremens (DTs), a scary and sometimes deadly condition that needs to be treated by doctors in a certified alcohol rehab facility. Symptoms of delirium tremens include:
- Hallucinations (auditory, tactile, and/or visual)
- High fever
- Brain damage
To ensure you remain safe and healthy, a slow taper within a medication-assisted treatment program is always recommended for alcohol detox treatment.
How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol? Timelines and More
Alcohol withdrawal and detox symptoms are usually over within three to seven days, but everybody is unique. Your level of addiction, your history of drug and alcohol use, the length of time and frequency with which you have been drinking, and other variables affect your overall alcohol detoxification length. Your withdrawal symptoms may go away immediately after detoxing, or it may take some time for them to gradually subside. For some people, it may take weeks or even months to feel significantly better.
Detox and withdrawal treatment is only the first step in lifelong recovery from substance abuse and works best when followed by a comprehensive rehabilitation program that incorporates mental health care, therapy, groups, education, holistic treatments, and physical wellness.
Detox Safely from Alcohol at TruPath Recovery
At TruPath addiction center, we offer a nationwide network of addiction treatment centers offering levels of care that will lead you from detox through inpatient rehab and into outpatient treatment options including an intensive outpatient program and day programs. We believe in client empowerment while encouraging personal growth and integrity in all our clients.
We offer drug and alcohol addiction treatment plans, followed by continuing care that includes alcoholics’ anonymous integration and therapy appointments. Some of the programs and specific treatments we provide include:
- Medication management
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Anger management
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Case management
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Holistic therapies like meditation, art therapy, yoga, etc.
- Faith-based recovery
- 12-step and SMART recovery groups
- Life skills programs
- Sober living residences
We offer specialized dual diagnosis treatment for those dealing with a mental health disorder alongside addiction, including PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, and body image disorders. There is also relapse prevention and aftercare planning to ease your transition back to your regular life without dependence on alcohol. Whether it is you or a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction, if you have questions about rehab, or if you need help with the next step, our recovery centers are only a phone call away. Through our medical detox process, inpatient treatments, outpatient care, and aftercare, we can get you on the road to recovery.