Alcoholism is a very serious and prevalent addiction, but you are not alone in your search for recovery.
It is possible to break free from the strong grip of addiction, but you must be willing to take the first step: clearing your body and mind of all toxic substances and ending your physical dependence. This process is known as alcohol detox, and it is the start of a new beginning that can lead you to into a sober life.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. About one in every 12 adults suffer from alcohol dependence or abuse and millions of other people actively engage in unhealthy alcohol consumption habits, such as binge drinking.
The type of alcohol found in beverages is called ethanol, which is produced during the fermentation process. There are many varieties of alcoholic beverages and the most commonly abused forms include beer, wine, and spirits.
When a person consumes alcohol, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to all the organs of the body. When large amounts of alcohol are consumed, the drug depresses the central nervous system, leading to respiratory depression, inhibiting judgment, and causing drowsiness, among many other symptoms. Conversely, when lower doses are ingested, it can act as a stimulant, creating a sense of euphoria and reducing social inhibitions.
Chronic and heavy alcohol use can seriously affect the physical and mental health of a person.
Whether too much alcohol is consumed on a single occasion or over a long period of time, it negatively affects all parts of the body.
- Brain – Alcohol impairs judgment, concentration, and coordination. Long-term use can damage the brain, nerves, and interfere with the brain’s communication pathways, which may result in addiction.
- Heart – Heavy drinking can cause irregular heartbeat, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Liver – Heavy drinkers may develop Steatosis (fatty liver), fibrosis, cirrhosis, or alcoholic hepatitis.
- Pancreas – Chronic and heavy alcohol use can cause acute or chronic pancreatitis (inflammation and damage to the pancreas).
- Immune system – Drinking too much can inhibit your body’s immune system, reducing its ability to fight off serious diseases, infections, and illnesses.
Chronic and heaving drinking can also increase your risk of developing cancer, including breast, throat, esophagus, mouth, throat, colon, rectal, and liver cancer.
Do I Need Alcohol Detox?
Individuals who are physically dependent or addicted to alcohol need to complete an alcohol detox program before enrolling in drug and alcohol rehab. Abruptly stopping the consumption of alcohol after consistent abuse can be very dangerous if attempted at home without medical supervision. Medically-assisted detox is a safe and comfortable way to stop abusing alcohol. If you have been drinking heavily on a consistent basis for years, your body has most likely developed a dependency on alcohol and you will need to complete a detox program before beginning alcohol addiction treatment.
Why Choose Medically Assisted Detox?
Medically assisted alcohol detox is a detoxification program that is monitored by a medical team. At Briarwood Detox Center, our medical staff will monitor your progress throughout the detox program while you enjoy the luxury of resting in a comfortable environment that feels like home.
We view your personalized alcohol detox program as a collaborative process between you and our medical staff to ensure your comfort and safety as you transition through your program.
Although you may be tempted to stop consuming alcohol on your own at home (or “go cold turkey”), doing so can be extremely dangerous and may lead to seizures or other health problems. If you are ready to take the first step toward sobriety, we highly recommend a medically assisted detox program.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When you suddenly stop consuming alcohol and remove it from your body, you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. These physical symptoms can be more or less severe, depending on your alcohol abuse history, your body composition, how long you’ve been drinking alcohol, and if you are addicted to any other substances.
During your alcohol detox program, you may experience some of the following symptoms. They typically peak within 24-72 hours, but this will vary based on your circumstances.
Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Cloudy thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Alcohol cravings
Some severe withdrawal symptoms may also include seizures and hallucinations. This can be a very uncomfortable experience and remains to be one of the most common reasons many people struggle to stop abusing alcohol on their own.
At Briarwood Detox Center, our medical staff will ensure your detox experience is a comfortable one. We are here to help manage uncomfortable physical symptoms by administering medications to reduce the effects of withdrawal.
Management of Withdrawal Symptoms
At Briarwood Detox Center, our medical staff has been trained to recognize and manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. DIY and at-home alcohol detox can be very dangerous and unpredictable, but the Briarwood staff will ensure your detox experience is a comfortable and safe one. We will manage any unpleasant physical symptoms by administering medications to reduce the effects of withdrawal. When appropriate, we also use tapering medications to gradually bring you down into a comfortable state of sobriety. Medically assisted detox provides 24/7 medical management of withdrawal symptoms and is the safest way to undergo alcohol detox.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
- 8 hours after last drink: Abdominal pain, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia are common during this time.
- 1 to 3 days after last drink: You may experience some confusion alongside high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and increased body temperature.
- 4+ days after last drink: You may become very agitated and experience hallucinations, seizures, and develop a fever.
- 5-7 days after last drink: By this time, symptoms typically decrease and taper off, although some may persist for weeks if left untreated.
What Happens During Alcohol Detox?
Once you have been admitted to Briarwood Detox Center for treatment, our admissions staff will make sure you know what to bring, when to arrive and what to expect. On your first day of detox, you’ll be greeted by your resident advocate and detox counselor. You’ll have plenty of contact with these key figures throughout your detox treatment.
Our friendly staff will give you a quick tour of the property before gathering your intake documents. These documents are written in a way that is clear and easy-to-understand and our staff will review them with you. We are also happy to answer any questions you have about these documents while reviewing them.
Once you have completed your intake documents, a nurse will evaluate you to determine your current health status a needs. Detox protocol will begin based on the findings of this evaluation. Our medical team will perform another, more in-depth assessment within your first 24 hours on-site. This comprehensive, need-finding evaluation will provide the details we need to design an individualized detox program for you.
Once you have begun your detox program, our medical and clinical team will monitor you constantly to ensure that you are comfortably and safely progressing through your detox. Our personalized process relies on consistent client and staff communication to address your changing needs and update your program as needed. Our medical team is on-site 24/7 so you can rest without a need for concern.
Individual and Group Counseling
Our therapeutic staff will help you work through your emotional responses to detox and provide effective tools for coping with cravings and preventing relapse. The main priority of these counseling sessions is to address the here and now by overcoming any shame, embarrassment or self-defeating thoughts you may be struggling with.
How Long Does Alcohol Detox Last?
Each of our detox programs is highly personalized based on your needs and circumstances. Additionally, the detox process for various drugs will vary, especially if there is a co-existing medical or psychological condition to consider. Once we have completed your personal assessment, we will be able to tell you how long you can expect to be in detox. This timeframe can range from 3-7 days, but we are willing to provide support as long as it is needed.