Alcohol Detox

If you are concerned about alcohols effects on either your own or a loved one’s life, you have come to the right place. At Rehab Recovery we deliver patient-specific alcohol detox programmes to allow you to progress into a sober and happier life.

Alcohol detox is the first step to recovery and it is a process that enables those struggling with addiction to eliminate the harmful substance from their bodies. We always recommend that alcohol detoxification under the watchful eye of our medical experts and with the help of prescribed medications.

The process is the most effective when done on an inpatient basis, and it takes anywhere from a week to 10 days.

As a part of the alcohol detox process, the patient might suffer from withdrawal symptoms that can range in severity. These symptoms can be managed, and the patient should always be under the guidance of a professional.

While undergoing alcohol detox, you will have access to group therapies, individual therapies, workshops, holistic treatments and inpatient facilities to make matters more comfortable.

You will also able to engage with other patients and create meaningful relationships, in an environment that is full of empathy and understanding.

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What to Expect from Rehab Recovery

Rehab Recovery provides a fully customised and individual treatment and medication plan for your detox. We provide round the clock support and monitoring from our caring staff to make sure your detox adapts to you, not the other way around.

Here are a number of things you can expect from our alcohol detox services:

  • Ongoing supervision of progress from expert alcohol detox professionals
  • A comfortable and relaxing environment to make your detox as easy as possible
  • 24-hour medical assistance. You’ll be under a watchful eye of our expert medical staff
  • Wide range of holistic therapies to support you during your detox
  • Complementary therapies to minimise discomfort during alcohol withdrawal
  • Highly personalised programmes ensure you get what is best for you, not just any standard package
  • Healthy meals full of nutritious elements
  • Support and help to fight your fears during the detox
  • Help with the psychological aspects of detox. You’ll get all the support you need for mental issues that occur during detox, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and latent psychological trauma

Within a mere 7-10 days, you could be alcohol-free and ready to start your new life healthier, happier and more confident than ever before.

What Happens During Alcohol Detox?

When you enter our facility, we will conduct a medical exam to determine the course of action that is to be taken. After an interview with you, our medical team, and one of our in-house psychologists, a special detox plan will be created for you.

This plan determines how the medications are to be administered, and how long your treatment programme will last.

As a part of the preparation, you will then be able to prepare for detox and make the necessary arrangements. We will provide you with a list of items to bring, and advice on how to deal with your obligations and commitments that you are leaving at home.

When the detox begins, we will administer the specified amount of medications and vitamins that were determined during the preparation phase. After that, you will start feeling the withdrawal symptoms which usually start one or two days after the first dose of medication.

That’s where we’ll provide constant care for you and keep a watchful eye on you. After three or four days, the symptoms will worsen and will be at their peak. It is crucial to stay focused and determined, and we will try to keep you as comfortable as possible during these potentially tough times.

Provided there are no further complications, the symptoms will start to diminish and they tend to fade after 7-10 days of alcohol detox. This is when you will enter the second phase of your rehabilitation programme: maintenance.

But the process is not finished after detox. You might still experience cravings for alcohol after this initial phase, which is why additional medication is prescribed to keep the cravings at bay.

Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is a process that happens during alcohol detox. The body of someone who is struggling with alcoholism gets used to alcohol, and it then becomes reliant on this alcohol in order to function normally on a daily basis.

As soon as the alcohol intake is cut off, the body starts showing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are physical and physiological and can be a tough experience for anyone to go through.

Excess alcohol intake rewires how the brain of someone with an alcohol problem functions. The brain needs dopamine for stimulation; it is a hormone that enables us to experience feelings of joy, happiness, and motivation.

But the bursts of dopamine are very short, and the more we drink, the more alcohol it takes to get dopamine into action. And once the alcohol consumption stops completely, the person who is struggling with an alcohol addiction will start to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Below we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions regarding alcohol withdrawal:

1. What causes alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is caused by a chemical imbalance in an alcoholic’s brains that’s a result of a sudden halt of alcohol intake. The more an alcoholic drinks, the better the body gets used to the alcohol. It gives them feelings of joy and increased sociability. More and more alcohol consumption is needed to satisfy the cravings.

When the alcohol consumption stops altogether, the brain searches for answers to combat the chemical imbalance that’s created. The result is the withdrawal symptoms. These can be quite severe, especially if the alcohol intake was severe and long-term.

For some, just the thought about these withdrawal symptoms keeps them drinking. It’s a scary proposition, but that’s what we’re here for – to help you get through this with our expert care.

2. Mild signs & symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be mild or severe. Below we have listed some of the most common withdrawal symptoms that you should anticipate during an alcohol detox:

  • Anxiety, depression, nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness, lack of energy
  • Mood swings
  • Shakiness
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares and sleeping problems
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea, appetite loss
  • Fast heart rate
  • Pale skin

3. Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms are one of the biggest concerns associated with alcohol detoxification. This is why we highly recommend undergoing an alcohol detox regime with our expert medical supervision.

If you were to attempt a home alcohol detox, without medication and without the care of doctors and nurses, the consequences could be severe and even fatal.

These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Extreme confusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium Tremens

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Are you considering changing your life and saying goodbye to your alcohol addiction? Call us today on 0800 088 66 86 for confidential advice & support.

4. Why are alcohol withdrawal symptoms so dangerous?

If the alcohol detox and withdrawal process are not kept under the close attention of professional medical staff, it might result in several complications. While the withdrawal itself is not dangerous for one’s life, the symptoms and sensations caused by withdrawal can pose a serious life risk.

That’s especially the case with those who chronically abuse alcohol or are classed as heavy drinkers. In those cases, the radical cut-off of alcohol can have several adverse effects on the body, and can even be fatal. That’s why the detox process needs to be controlled by medical professionals.

If these symptoms are left untreated, they can result in death. The conditions that pose immediate medical concern are as follows:

Delirium Tremens is one of the most dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if left unattended. The symptoms of this condition are shakiness, the heart rate goes up, the person starts sweating profusely and starts to experience hallucinations.

Due to the chemical imbalance, the body cannot respond appropriately to the changes. In rare cases (about 5%), the condition can be fatal if left unattended. It will occur usually after 48-72 hours of detox but can occur of up to 10 days after detox.

Seizures are also common for heavy, long-term drinkers. Complete seizures are common, as are partial seizures or blackouts.

These seizures are especially linked to alcohol abuse and are not linked to seizures that are created genetically. In some cases, they can be fatal.

With those battling an alcohol addiction, it's usual that the GABA receptors are shut down, and they don't control CNS.

Once the drinker stops drinking, the GABA receptors start working again and try to balance out the CNS levels. This can lead to irregular cellular activity that causes seizures.

This condition is a lack of phosphates in the body of an alcoholic. That's caused by years of heavy drinking and a poor diet without the proper nutrients.

Phosphate is an electrolyte that produces energy and allows the nerves to function. As a result, some organs might start to fail and can be fatal.

Alcoholic ketoacidosis occurs due to a poor diet of an alcoholic and is a general lack of nutrients that allow the body to function properly.

This condition is especially common with heavy drinkers who don't have good diets or who vomit regularly.

How to Spot & Treat Delirium Tremens

It’s crucial to spot the symptoms of this condition. The symptoms of delirium tremens can be severe, and will usually start to occur after 48-72 hours of alcohol detox. Prior to it, other mild symptoms are noted.

The most common symptoms of DT are:

  • Delirium
  • Tremors
  • Deep sleep, fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Being overly excited or fearful
  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Oversensitivity to light, sound, touch
  • Heart rate changes.
  • Agitation, panic

These symptoms, especially the heart rate changes, may be fatal for some if left untreated. That’s why prompt treatment is crucial. First, our medical staff will conduct several tests to determine the severity of the condition: ECGs, toxicology screens, blood magnesium levels, metabolic panels, and blood phosphate levels will be assessed.

Secondly, our doctors decide on medical treatment. Usually, it’s a combination of medicines and supplements such as:

  • Lorazepam
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Thiamine supplement
  • Zinc
  • Phosphate
  • Magnesium
  • Folate

Note that even with medical treatment, DT might be fatal for about 5% of all patients. If left untreated, that number can go up significantly (about 15-35%).

Alcohol Detox & Withdrawal Timeline

Of course, each programme varies from person to person, depending on the factors listed above: no two cases are identical. However, below is the estimated and researched timescale for alcohol withdrawal:

6-12 Hours Into Detox

Mild symptoms will start to occur, such as mild agitation, anxiety, shaking, and nausea and vomiting.

12-24 Hours Into Detox

Disorientations, tremors, and seizures can be added to the list of symptoms.

48 Hours Into Detox

Here, you can expect the most severe symptoms of withdrawal: seizures, insomnia, increased blood pressure, hallucinations, fever, sweating, DT (delirium tremens).

After five days or longer, you can expect the symptoms to ease. Usually, it takes 7-10 days for the symptoms to go away, although it can take longer for some patients.

Factors That Can Affect Your Detox 

There are several factors that determine how well your body will respond to detox. These factors are:

  • The severity of your drinking
  • How long you have been drinking
  • Whether you were binge-drinking or drinking at a steady rate
  • Your age, weight, sex, genetic factors
  • Your mental health
  • Your overall health
  • Tobacco or drug use

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Diagnosing Alcohol Withdrawal with CIWA

The severity of the withdrawal and its symptoms can be measured with the CIWA scale, short for Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol. It allows us to observe the symptoms and determine the severity of the withdrawal.

The CIWA scale has 10 items on it, and each of them is scored independently. In the end, the scores are put together into the final score. The highest possible score is 67. Anything above 20 is considered as severe; between 16-20 is considered moderate, while 15 or below is considered mild.

With scores of 20 or above, the likelihood of delirium tremens is far bigger. That’s why it’s not recommended to do withdrawal at home. You wouldn’t know about the CIWA scale and would have no way of knowing the risks of the withdrawal. It is always better to trust professionals to help you with alcohol withdrawal.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Withdrawal

Our assisted detox process works by substituting your brain’s and body’s chemical dependence on alcohol onto another more stable substance, and then the substitute medication is gently withdrawn.

This proven approach reduces the symptoms of alcohol dependence and eliminates alcohol toxins, giving a more comfortable, safe and effective treatment.

Inpatient treatment is the most effective form of treatment. There are other supplementing treatments that can help you stay clean after your initial detox. The treatment options include:

This is the best option for alcohol addicts to detox. These programmes can last anywhere from 30-90 days, depending on severity.

Medications are crucial to help the patient stay on the right course towards detox and helps fight the withdrawal symptoms better.

This is usually done after the inpatient period is over. The patient and their family get all the educational content they need, plus the ability to attend various counselling services.

AA is a helpful community for those battling addiction. You'll be able to socialize and get help from other people with similar problems.

This is also a community that relies on the group and peer support, which is crucial during recovery.

The Importance of Inpatient Alcohol Detox

Undergoing detox under medical supervision allows the patients to go through the process easier. As you will receive close care, the medical staff will do everything they can to make you comfortable.

The withdrawal symptoms can get serious and can have severe consequences. In rare cases, they can even result in death. That risk can be significantly reduced with inpatient treatment.

Detox can be done at home, but it’s not recommended to do so. Especially if you are a heavy drinker who has been addicted for a long period of time. In these cases, the symptoms can be even more severe, and require immediate medical attention. You’ll get that with inpatient treatment.

What is more, you’ll get access to group and individual therapies, as well as to various workshops and holistic treatments that can make you more comfortable. After you leave, you’ll have every chance to come back and contact us.

FAQs about Alcohol Detox

Finding the right treatment means taking a look at your condition and assess what you want to address.

You'll need to find the right treatment that fits your needs. Contacting us is a good place to start, and we'll talk about your problems and assess your medical condition.

Upon that, we'll devise a plan that will help you get free of alcohol for good, as long as you're willing to stick to it.

Dealing With the Fear of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and they present a real challenge for many alcoholics. In some cases, only the thought of the withdrawal symptoms prevents them from entering inpatient treatment.

But you have to know that we're there for you no matter what. We can help you cope with the withdrawal, and our experts have years of professional experience to help you.

It's in our and your best interest to help you with your alcohol addiction, and we'll do everything we can to make you as comfortable as we possibly can.

For some people, entering an inpatient treatment facility feels like a frightening proposition. While detoxing at home feels more comfortable, it can also be quite dangerous.

If done right, home detox can prove to be successful. But also know that you're running the risk of serious complications and even death. And some of these issues can only be resolved with medical care and medication.

Hallucinations, seizures, heart failure, delirium tremens, and other conditions are a very real proposition when detoxing. And doing it from home increases the risk of these conditions massively, and they can even be fatal.

Another issue is that some patients might find it hard to stick to the programme. So relapsing is also a possible outcome as they don't have the proper support at home. The withdrawal symptoms might be too much, and they cause a relapse.

Additionally, other mental problems can occur, such as depression or anxiety. With inpatient alcohol treatment, you'll get the detox done under a watchful eye of medical experts.

If you do decide to do it on your own, we want to give you some tips to make it an easier task. Here are some tips that you'll find invaluable if you want to self-detox at home.

  • Make sure that you're eating well during the detox. Include lots of fruits and vegetables into your diet, as well as lean meats, fish, and foods that have healthy nutrients. Avoid processed or frozen foods.
  • Clear all the alcohol from your home, and avoid all contacts that can make you start to drink again. You'll need to completely erase any hint of alcohol around you.
  • Seek emotional support from friends and family, which can be crucial during detox.
  • Keep yourself occupied and your mind off alcohol. Read a good book, go outside, listen to relaxing music, anything that keeps you occupied.

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Contact us today on 0800 088 66 86 and receive confidential support & advice on alcohol detox.

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