Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances that makes detoxification difficult. Withdrawals after developing a dependency become life-threatening if not handled in a medically supervised alcohol detox program. A safe environment is important because symptoms are known to rapidly worsen even if they start out mild.
What is Alcohol Dependency?
Many people have an occasional drink of an alcoholic beverage. They may drink wine with a meal, toast champagne during a wedding reception, or share happy hour with coworkers. It becomes a dependency when they cannot relax or enjoy life without drinking alcohol.
The person dependent on alcohol constantly worries about their next drink. They have a compulsive need to drink and cannot stop once they get started. This level of drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in the person’s brain.
This interference causes feelings of depression and anxiety. They build a tolerance and need increasing amounts of their drink of choice. Any attempt to stop leads to sweating or shaking. These withdrawal symptoms go away with the next drink that puts alcohol back into their bloodstream.
Withdrawal During an Alcohol Detox Program
Alcohol withdrawal can begin two hours after a person’s last drink and can last for weeks. A person should not attempt to detox separate from an alcohol addiction treatment center. Symptoms from alcohol withdrawal include:
- Shaky hands
A person may also experience severe complications like seizures. Some people are known to also get delirium tremens, which causes fever, a rapid heartbeat, and confusion. The fact that death can happen during alcohol withdrawal increases the need to be supervised.
Process of an Alcohol Detox Program
Alcohol detoxification serves a two-pronged purpose. It interrupts a person’s compulsivity to drinking while reducing the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. A good detox program prepares the person for prolonged treatment and staying committed to sobriety.
Alcohol detox can be safely performed in an outpatient or inpatient setting. Heavy drinkers will fair better in a round-the-clock setting. The level of a person’s addiction determines which setting works best. However, the process is the same: intake, medication, and stabilization.
This first step of an alcohol detox program involves a comprehensive review of the person’s history. A medical team will look at their medical and psychiatric history, along with their alcohol use. Gathering these details helps the team fully understand the person’s situation.
One way to lessen the effects of alcohol is to give a person medications that mimic alcohol. Substituting these drugs in a controlled environment may help the person get through inevitable withdrawal symptoms. Some medications can also target co-occurring disorders.
Dependence and addiction to alcohol does not end with detoxing. In fact, more work is necessary through medical and psychological therapies. The goal is to help a person find balance for their mind and body after an addiction.
Length of Time for an Alcohol Detox Program
The length of time that a person may need to remain in a detox program depends on several different factors. Addiction specialists considers how much the person regularly drinks and how long they were drinking. Lifestyle factors also determine how long it will take for a person to fully detox.
Most detox programs last for approximately 10 days to a few months.
There is Life After Alcohol Detox
Beacon House offers addiction therapy services that treat more than the symptoms of alcoholism and dependency. We focus on the total person so you leave our facility focused on a lifetime of sobriety.
For example, our treatment methods include:
Rid your body of alcohol today by enrolling in our alcohol detox program. Call 831.372.4366 to begin the journey of clearing your mind and healing your body.