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Drug and Alcohol Detox and the Symptoms of Withdrawal

24/7 Medically-Supervised Detoxification

At Recovery Centers of America, we understand detoxification can be daunting. Our team of clinicians and therapists ensure your comfort from the moment you walk in. They help cleanse your mind, body, and soul of any negative substances, so you can focus on getting well.

One of the first steps most people take when entering one of Recovery Centers of America’s treatment facilities is an alcohol and drug detoxification. Detox helps cleanse and stabilize your body and mind from alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, or any other drug lingering in your system. We make your withdrawal as comfortable as possible to ensure your medical safety. Here at RCA, detox protocols follow standards developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – one of the leading establishments on addiction treatment.

At RCA, our team of physicians, nurses, and other clinicians deliver a customized alcohol and drug detoxification in order to meet your physical and psychological needs. Carefully supervised detoxification can help reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.

This medically-supervised detox process provides you with a safe, effective start to your sober life.

Medical Evaluation

The first step is a nursing assessment, followed by a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine your medical, physical, psychological and emotional needs. This way, we can select the ideal clinical staff to create your individual treatment.

Detox Begins

Next, our detox team will place you under 24-hour medical supervision to ensure your safety. The full detox process usually takes 4 to 7 days to complete.

Medical Evaluation

The first step is a nursing assessment, followed by a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine your medical, physical, psychological and emotional needs. This way, we can select the ideal clinical staff to create your individual treatment.

Detox Begins

Next, our detox team will place you under 24-hour medical supervision to ensure your safety. The full detox process usually takes 4 to 7 days to complete.

Withdrawal Symptoms from Alcohol and Drugs Detox:
Mental/Emotional vs Physical

When you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, your body becomes dependent on that substance. In fact, it becomes so dependent that when you try to quit, you may experience severe mental and physical symptoms.

To reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, Recovery Centers of America provides medically-supervised detoxification around the clock. Here’s what you can expect with withdrawal symptoms:

Alcohol Withdrawal

As the most dangerous physical withdrawal, alcohol detox needs to take place in a medically-supervised and closely monitored environment. Although most drug withdrawals are very uncomfortable, abruptly stopping alcohol consumption can cause heart attacks, strokes, and seizures in patients considered high risk. A lot of people ask us, What does alcohol withdrawal feel like?

In order to be safe and comfortable, it’s essential to entrust a successful treatment program to get you through your alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Without professional medical intervention, alcohol detox could be fatal. Reputable rehabilitation centers get you through your alcohol detox comfortably, so you can begin your journey toward sobriety with a clear head.

Additional complications of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Grand mal seizures
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Timelines for detoxification depend on the person. For example, people who smoke, suffer from liver or kidney disease, and various other health factors can alter the timeline. But generally, most alcohol detoxification timelines look like this:

  • 6-12 hours: Mild symptoms begin about 6-12 hours after the last drink. This could include anxiety, nausea, insomnia or abdominal pain.
  • 12-24 hours: About 12-24 hours after the last drink, hallucinations, increased body temperature, confusion and unusual heart rate can occur during this time.
  • 24-48 hours: While alcohol withdrawal seizures aren’t common, they can happen in as little as 2 hours after a drink but can take up to 24-48 hours to happen.
  • 48-72 hours: If DTs (delirium tremens) are going to happen, it will likely occur 48-72 hours after stopping your alcohol intake.

While these symptoms may seem daunting, they can be controlled and managed in a professional, medically-supervised setting.

Benzodiazepines Withdrawal & Timeline

Usually prescribed for anxiety, benzodiazepines are like alcohol in the way they act on the central nervous system. Because of this, withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be extremely dangerous and need medical detoxification.

Much like alcohol and other drugs, the timeline and symptoms can change depending on the person, especially because benzodiazepines have different half-lives. Generally, symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremor
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

As for the timeline of detox from benzodiazepines, it depends. For example, alprazolam (like Xanax) has an average of an 11-hour half-life, so the system is rid of it quickly. On the other hand, the half-life of clonazepam (Klonopin) can be 30-40 hours, which means it takes longer to get out of your system. Therefore, you’re likely to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms for Xanax within a few hours of taking the last dose. However, it may be a few days before you start feeling symptoms of withdrawal from clonazepam (Klonopin).

A lot of other elements are factored into a benzodiazepine withdrawal timeline, such as how long you’ve been taking the drug, how much, how often, and various other health factors. Because it can take a month or two before physical symptoms completely reside, your best bet is to go through detoxification in a specialized treatment facility.

Opioids & Heroin Withdrawal & Timeline

Being addicted to opioids and heroin is more dangerous than the withdrawal; regardless, the symptoms of withdrawal can be extremely rough. Luckily, a clinician coupled with a successful treatment program can help ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, cutting back on the uncomfortable feelings that come along with it.

If you’re detoxing from opioids and heroin, you may experience:

  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Yawning
  • Digestive issues
  • Goosebumps
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting

Symptoms of opiate or heroin withdrawal usually start around 12-30 hours after the last exposure. The earliest symptoms will usually include aches and pain, fatigue, extreme nausea, sweating, anxiety and insomnia. These symptoms may get worse as time goes on, and new symptoms may pop up, such as stomach pain, chills and digestive issues.

Because these symptoms can last several weeks or longer, long-term replacement drugs given by a clinician may be given in order to help symptoms.

Stimulants Withdrawal & Timeline

When someone goes on a binge and uses a stimulant drug, like methamphetamine or cocaine, the withdrawal is commonly called coming down or a crash. This form of withdrawal comes in different stages:

Early stageMiddle stageLate stage
  • Anxiety
  • Intense craving for the drug
  • Aggression or quick temper
  • Emotional agitation
  • Delusions
  • Lack of focus
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Waking with extreme hunger
  • Sleeping for long periods of time
  • Extreme sleepiness
Early stage
  • Anxiety
  • Intense craving for the drug
  • Aggression or quick temper
  • Emotional agitation
  • Delusions
Middle stage
  • Lack of focus
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
Late stage
  • Waking with extreme hunger
  • Sleeping for long periods of time
  • Extreme sleepiness

Usually these symptoms start within 36 hours of stopping the drug, and last for a couple of weeks.

At Recovery Centers of America, we usually offer comfort medications for stimulant drugs, such as cocaine or meth. Often, people addicted to stimulants directly enter our residential program. Regardless of the path you take at Recovery Centers of America, we center all of our treatment around your comfort. You or your loved one can rest assured you’re getting exceptional care and treatment to support a healthy road to recovery.

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