Author: Charles Frank

Alcohol Detox What to Know When You Detox from Alcohol

alcohol detox program

Some people with AUD become dependent on alcohol and have withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop drinking. The effects of withdrawal on your body and mind can be uncomfortable and dangerous. Everyone has different needs when it comes to treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), a condition that can be diagnosed when your pattern of alcohol use is problematic and causes significant distress. It can range from mild to severe, depending on how many symptoms you have. The care you’ll need depends in part on where you fall in that range.

It can start within two to five days after your last drink and can be life-threatening. However, less than five percent of people will develop delirium tremens when quitting drinking. Partial hospitalization or day treatment is where you live at home but you go for treatment at a hospital or clinic at least 5 days a week. Recently, with COVID-19 precautions, many programs offer programs via telehealth.

  1. Everyone has different needs when it comes to treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), a condition that can be diagnosed when your pattern of alcohol use is problematic and causes significant distress.
  2. However, one-third to one-half of patients who enter detoxification treatment, whether as inpatients or outpatients, return to alcohol abuse within 6 months (Hayashida et al. 1989).
  3. However, it is best to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional about the risks involved with your individual situation.
  4. Alcohol hallucinosis causes hallucinations that usually occur within 12 to 24 hours after a person’s last drink and may last as long as two days.

While some symptoms may persist for a few weeks, most of them are minor and can be treated with medication. Once you get back into the swing of your normal life, it might be easy to relapse and start drinking again. You have lots of options, including 12-step programs, private therapy, and group counseling.

What Medications Are Used in Inpatient Detox?

In-patient settings offer the advantages of constant medical care and supervision provided by a professional staff and the easy availability of treatment for serious complications. In addition, such settings prevent patient access to alcohol and offer separation from the substance-using environment. Anticonvulsant medications are necessary in addition to benzodiazepines for patients with a history of seizures unrelated to alcohol withdrawal (Sellers and Naranjo 1986). The immediate objectives of alcohol detoxification are to help the patient achieve a substance-free state, relieve the immediate symptoms of withdrawal, and treat any comorbid medical or psychiatric conditions.

Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality. Long-term sobriety is completely possible, and many people have remained sober for decades! Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a fantastic support system for individuals to help them maintain their sobriety. In some cases, medication will be prescribed to aid the recovering alcoholic. These medications prevent relapse by eliminating the effects of alcohol and/or reducing cravings.

During this early stage, your central nervous system is beginning to feel the impact of no longer getting the sedative effects of alcohol that it had become used to. We receive advertising fees from purchases through BetterHelp links. We receive advertising fees from purchases through the BetterHelp links below. The Päihdelinkki online service maintained by the A-Clinic Foundation contains information on intoxicant abuse and addictions.

That’s why when you quit drinking, it takes time for your body to adjust. This is what causes withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, irregular heartbeat and hallucinations. Individuals who seek treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder are 50-75% more likely to succeed in their overall recovery journey. While alcohol detox has some general similarities, each person’s experience can differ slightly.

Alcohol withdrawal can have significant physical effects on the body. It can produce very uncomfortable side effects and risky complications. To get through the pain and ensure a much higher success rate, doctors prescribe certain medications to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the risk of complications. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal typically improve within five days, though some patients may have prolonged symptoms lasting weeks, however the severe symptoms listed above do not last for weeks. The most uncomfortable detox withdrawal symptoms usually peak around hours after the last drink and start to lessen by hours. Although delirium tremens is unlikely, roughly 30% of those who get it will also develop Aspiration Pneumonia.

A medically-assisted withdrawal helps prevent serious complications, keeps track of a patient’s health condition, and relieves any painful effects. The initial symptoms of alcohol detox are mild, but can quickly begin to worsen as time goes on. Some of the early withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, shaking, nausea and irritability. Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking due to withdrawal symptoms, but alcohol detox is the first step in treating alcoholism.

The negative effects are meant to deter you from continuing your drinking pattern. Disulfiram is not meant to reduce your alcohol cravings or restore brain functions like some other medications. Years of heavy drinking can significantly alter how the brain looks and works. Acamprosate, sold under the name Campral, is prescribed to help your brain begin to function normally again after you quit drinking.

What Is Inpatient Alcohol Detox?

If you choose to do a home detox, it is ideal to check with a medical professional to ensure that it is safe for you to do without medical supervision. During the detox process, if you begin to experience more severe symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. By seeking medical detox for the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, patients gain access to medical care during the entire withdrawal process.

alcohol detox program

Medically supervised detox can be provided on either an inpatient or an outpatient level, depending on the severity of previous alcohol use. Various treatment programs are available to assist you through detox and provide peace of mind. You can expect the alcohol detox process to follow a general timeline lasting approximately 7-10 days. A person who is a heavy drinker is more at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms, whereas a less serious drinker may only experience mild symptoms.

How can I prevent relapse after alcohol detox?

Your symptoms may last a week or more, typically hitting their worst within hours. You’re more likely to stick with a detox program when you have lots of help. Detox alone isn’t treatment, but it’s the first step to getting better for people who are dependent on alcohol. Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober.

As you approach the end of the first 24 hours of detox, symptoms may become increasingly severe. Alongside the effects felt from the first 12 hours, additional symptoms may involve disorientation, hand tremors and seizures. Outpatient, where you get some treatment during the day but live at home. This might be as simple as visiting your health care professional regularly to get meds. Support groups and individual counseling via psychiatry can provide separate but similar benefits to help you or your loved one continue their overall healing. Severe side effects will likely wane as the central nervous system returns to normal functioning.

If unsure whether a person’s drinking constitutes a need for a inpatient detox, it may be worth discussing treatment options with a doctor or other medical professional to best gauge the appropriate level of care. The primary disadvantage of inpatient detoxification is its relatively higher cost compared with outpatient alternatives. In addition, inpatient care may relieve patients of personal responsibilities and encourage unnecessary dependence on hospital staff.