Alcohol detox is one of the first steps to recovery. It makes it easier to manage a drug addiction, and also curbs cravings, so the recovery process becomes smoother. The detox process can control mood swings and also lessen the intensity of alcohol withdrawals. It ensures that serious side effects don’t become deadly. For example, it fends of delirium tremens. When paired with other therapies, detox is an excellent treatment option.
If you’re addicted to alcohol, it’s time to reach out and get help. Don’t hide in the shadows and struggle with your addiction alone. Trust us– you’re not alone. In fact, you’re part of a larger statistic.
After all, 23 million Americans have an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable with seeking help from a detox center. Of those 23 million people, only 10% will ever get help.
If you’re serious about your recovery, reach out. Learn more about the alcohol detox process to get a better understanding of what you can expect. This detox guide will provide you with some of the information you need to make an informed decision. We’ll cover some of the more frequently asked questions. If you have any further questions, contact us through our website or by phone.
Alcohol Detox Process
The alcohol detox program is much simpler than what most drug users believe. Depending on the alcohol rehab center, it usually breaks down into three simple steps. Patients can expect to:
- Receive a thorough assessment and overall exam. The exams involve getting your blood work done, talking about your drinking history and more. Essentially, the medical professional wants to get a better idea of both your physical and mental health. If you’re struggling with a mental illness, the alcohol detox process will address it.
- Get an in-depth detox support analysis. The medical professional will come up with the type of dose of medications best suited to treat withdrawal symptoms. The medicines may also manage other issues that may come up. This is especially true for those struggling with a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis.
- Be administered the medications as prescribed. Patients are also encouraged to partake in other parts of the treatment. Many experts highly regard behavioral therapy and counseling. They are essential for a successful recovery. Some patients may choose to attend 12 step program meetings.
Results for the exams and assessments provide a more in-depth look at the severity of the addiction. They help the rehab centers make a more informed decision on what will work for you.
Different Types of Programs for Detoxing from Alcohol
There are many types of detox treatment programs that can help you stop drinking alcohol. Knowing about the kind of programs that are available may help you make an informed decision. The main types of detox programs for alcohol abuse and addiction include outpatient alcohol detox, long-term medicated detox, short-term medicated detox and holistic detox.
Outpatient alcohol detox programs allow patients to go about their daily errands while they quit drinking. In general, this type of treatment is reserved for patients who have a mild addiction to alcohol. They can handle a less intense level of care when quitting alcohol.
The medication dose may change with time to reflect the patient’s progress. Those who have less intense withdrawal symptoms will need a smaller prescription. It may also depend on one’s biological makeup. Doctors at the rehab centers will monitor the patient’s medical condition 24 hours of the day.
Types of Medications Used to Treat Alcohol Addiction
Before a healthcare provider uses a prescription drug to treat an alcohol addiction, he or she will need to first assess the patient’s condition. In most cases, they use the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar). This test is popular because it only takes several minutes. It can give the rehab center a good idea of the type of medications you need.
Doctors only recommend medical detox when patients have a score under 8. The most common types of medications used in alcohol detox include:
- Acamprosate, which targets the receptors affected by alcohol abuse
- Benzodiazepines, which prevent severe symptoms, such as delirium tremens and seizures
- Disulfiram, which treats chronic alcoholism symptoms
- Naltrexone, which attaches to receptors to block cravings
Generally speaking, patients can expect to be prescribed one medication at a time. If the prescription drug is not working effectively or efficiently, the rehab center may switch them to another one. They can also up the dose.
Some medications used in alcohol detox do come with some side effects. It’s important to be aware of the type of side effects that come with each drug. This helps patients determine whether the medication is right for them.
To ensure that the medications are working properly, the recovery center will recommend that the patient is under close supervision. Staff will monitor each patient’s medical condition regularly. They will also do checkups to determine each patient’s mental and behavioral health. Detoxing from alcohol can be quite tricky.
How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?
Many patients are interested in the detox timeline for alcohol. The truth of the matter is that it varies quite significantly. It depends on many different factors, like:
- The patient’s age, weight, and height
- The patient’s ethnicity
- The length of alcohol use
- The frequency of alcohol consumption
- The patient’s medical condition and health
All these factors must be taken into consideration before a final decision can be made. In most cases, alcohol detox does take a considerable amount of time. Those who detox from alcohol can expect to need treatment for weeks or months. Those who relapse may require an even more lengthy treatment program.
Generally speaking, alcohol withdrawal symptoms tend to peak within 3 days. After that, they will start to subside. Chronic and heavy drinkers may experience acute withdrawal syndrome. These withdrawal symptoms of alcohol abuse take even longer to recover from, as they can persist for some time.
It’s difficult to gauge the alcohol detox process and timeline without an assessment. Patients should consider getting a free assessment first to determine what they can expect from the treatment program. Each recovery center can offer different options.