Begin Your Journey to Sobriety at Our Inpatient Alcohol Detox
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, there is a way out. The caring, expert team at Recovery Centers of America is here to help you break the cycle of alcohol addiction. Our world-class treatment services are founded on science and delivered with heart.
You don’t have to, nor should you, begin your journey to sobriety alone. At Recovery Centers of America, the process of alcohol detox is overseen by our specialist medical and clinical staff, who help you pass through the physical and psychological pain of withdrawal and move onto the next phases of treatment.
While alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild cases of anxiety and agitation, along with headache and upset stomach, to severe cases of hallucinations, delirium tremens, seizures and even death, you do not have to suffer. Our team will take all available measures to relieve your symptoms as painlessly as possible.
You’ll Feel Safe and Comfortable during the Alcohol Detox Process
Your safety and comfort are our priority, so we spare no step to ensure you make it through the early period of withdrawal with minimal discomfort. Within a secure, therapeutic environment, our team of compassionate and attentive medical professionals, physicians and nurses will safely administer medications to ease your symptoms. Our clinical staff will be there to help with drug cravings and the many emotions that often accompany those first days of treatment.
Here’s What You Can Expect
Detox typically lasts three to seven days. While the duration of detoxification varies according to the severity of use, as well as other underlying medical conditions, at an RCA facility the process typically takes between three and seven days.
RCA will do everything to make sure you are comfortable. The symptoms of alcohol detox and withdrawal can span temporary anxiety and insomnia to seizures and delirium tremens. If you’re struggling with physical detox, medications such as anti-anxiety, anti-seizure and other comfort medications will be administered during detox. In other cases, a secure, comforting place within a nurturing and therapeutic atmosphere are enough for beginning treatment.
Medication used in alcohol detox. There are two types of medications (primary, for safety, and secondary for comfort) that can be administered during detox. Primary, or direct, medications manage detox symptoms specifically, and typically consist of anti-anxiety and anti-convulsant medications. For secondary or comfort medications, you will be assessed every one to four hours to alleviate both physical and emotional pain. Comfort medications for physical suffering need not end with detox but can go longer as needed.
You’ll have a team of alcohol detox experts by your side. A team of expert, caring medical, nursing, clinical and support staff will be by your side every step of the way. You will be a assigned a case manager, who handles scheduling of ongoing care. A primary counselor will engage in one-on-one therapy, with group therapy also beginning during detox. In addition to immersion in 12-Step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, you will be treated along a variety of clinical modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and narrative therapy, along with education about relapse and life skills including successfully reintegrating into the world without substance use.
We take every measure to assure you are safe. You will undergo a screening that covers everything from medical history and extent of alcohol and substance use, psychiatric problems, family issues, and a medical exam to determine the seriousness of withdrawal or other possible medical emergencies. To protect all of our patients and staff, we also inspect your belongings to make sure that no one is bringing in any of their own medications, drugs/alcohol or other contraband. You will also be instructed in the guidelines and treatment procedures, allowing for informed consent to treatment. Once admitted, recovery support specialists check in on you every 30 minutes to ensure your mental and physical well-being.
You will feel supported and reassured during your alcohol detox. In addition to individual therapy sessions with a primary therapist, you will be able to join in-person support groups such as 12-step meetings and specialized treatment groups.
After Medical Alcohol Detox, the Journey Continues…
While detox gets you through acute periods of withdrawal, other symptoms—particularly psychological ones—might persist past the initial detox period, making continuation of treatment after the initial detox period critical. Once the body is safely detoxed of alcohol in a secure environment, you would typically move on to residential inpatient care, through which the mind, body and spirit continue to be healed in the course of our comprehensive treatment programs. Following inpatient residency, outpatient programs (including digital health options) permit you to maintain their personal and professional schedules while receiving individual and/or group sessions each week, at least for the first year of recovery.
Ongoing support through a recovery community is available through 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, as well as Recovery Centers of America Alumni Association, which allows you, and even your family and friends, to be committed and connected for a lifetime of recovery.
FAQs: What Happens During Alcohol Detox & Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal is the range of symptoms, physical and psychological, the body undergoes as it reacts to decreases in alcohol and then to the absence of alcohol after an extended period of drinking.
When you drink a lot of alcohol regularly, your brain chemistry adjusts over time to offset the sedative effects of alcohol. Over time the brain becomes dependent on alcohol and your internal brain chemistry compensates for this by producing larger quantities of stimulating chemicals like serotonin or norepinephrine. Hence when withdrawal is sudden, the brain is put in an accelerated, overstimulated state.
The effects of withdrawal and its symptoms could begin two hours after the last drink.
Early withdrawal symptoms include headache, sweating, shaking, anxiety, agitation and insomnia. You may experience a combination of physical and emotional symptoms, from mild anxiety and fatigue to nausea. Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are as severe as hallucinations and seizures. At its most extreme, alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.
After a long period of heavy drinking, your body gets used to having a certain level of alcohol, a depressant, in your system and adjusts to that. So when you suddenly stop, there is a shock to this system that can lead to seizures.
Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, with some severe, untreated cases resulting in fatalities, but is generally safe under the guidance of proper, professional care obtained as soon as possible.
Common symptoms include shaking, sweating, headache, abdominal pain, anxiety, agitation and insomnia. More severe symptoms extend to hallucinations, seizures and delirium tremens. In general, the four main categories of symptoms are as follows.
- Five to ten hours after the last drink. In the initial phase of withdrawal, typically five to ten hours after the last drink and cresting between 24 and 48 hours, you might experience tremors—shaking or trembling. Physically, the tremors could be accompanied by rapid pulse rate, increased blood pressure, fast breathing, sweating, nausea and vomiting. On the psychological side of the spectrum, withdrawal effects here include anxiety, agitation, irritability, hyper alertness, vivid dreaming, nightmares and insomnia. If you have a long history of heavy drinking, you could have a seizure six hours after stopping drinking.
- 12 to 24 hours after the last drink. From this point, and continuing for as long as two days, you might experience visual hallucinations, often of tiny moving objects grouped together, as in a pile or heap, like crawling insects or falling coins.
- Six to 48 hours after the last drink. The onset of seizure, often several within the space of a few hours, comes with peak risks occurring at the 24-hour mark.
- Two to three days after last drink. The most severe and threatening form of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens (DTs), is marked by global confusion and nervous system overdrive, potentially leading to heart failure. Starting two to three days after the final drink, and peaking at four to five days, its physical signs include dangerous fluctuations in dehydration, breathing, blood circulation, body temperature and reduction in blood flow to the brain. Psychological symptoms are acute confusion and disorientation, loss of consciousness, irrational ideations and erratic behavior.
To detox safely from alcohol, cease consumption in a controlled, therapeutic environment, where physical and mental health are regularly monitored and maintained, sometimes with the aid of temporary comfort medications to cope with withdrawal.
The duration of detox varies according to such factors as age, weight, medical history and pattern of use, among others. Typically, acute withdrawal symptoms last no longer than four to five days after last ingesting alcohol, but can in some cases last up to two weeks.
While the wish to detox at home is understandable, affording the comfort of familiarity, no extra cost and personal privacy, these considerations are outweighed by the risks of unmanageable physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, without appropriate medication and care, risking health (in potentially life-threatening ways) and a failure to detox.
Within the first two to twelve hours after last consuming alcohol, you might experience headache, agitation, sweating, shaking and insomnia. Between 12 and 24 hours, withdrawal symptoms continue, along with anxiety and depression. Most severe withdrawal symptoms emerge within 72 hours, including increased heart and blood rate, and risk of hallucinations and seizures. Between three and seven days, withdrawal symptoms for most people will on the whole decrease.
You can get through alcohol withdrawal by placing yourself in a safe and supportive environment, where mental and physical withdrawal symptoms can be adequately relieved as a first step in comprehensive treatment.