When someone struggles with a substance use disorder, whether their addiction is drugs or alcohol, it will inevitably lead to harmful physical and psychological consequences. Addiction is a disease. It is a disease that impacts the body and the structure and function of the brain. Acknowledging one’s addiction and deciding to seek treatment is the first and most challenging stuff on the journey to recovery. The process of detox and withdrawal is not easy. It is often accompanied by unpleasant and, in the cases of alcohol withdrawal, sometimes dangerous side effects. Because of this, it is highly recommended that one does not “cold turkey” detox from alcohol. To ensure your health and safety, it is vital to detox under the supervision of a highly trained treatment staff who understand the side effects and risks associated with alcohol withdrawal. 

What Is the Detoxification Process for Quitting Alcohol?

When you enter an alcohol addiction treatment program, one of the first things you will do is detox from alcohol. Although not often easy, detox is essential to cleanse the body of any substances that may remain as it is impossible to fully immerse yourself in the therapeutic process while still craving the effects of alcohol. Detox is a process that involves your body learning to function without alcohol. While drinking, your body and brain become accustomed to working with a certain amount of alcohol available at all times. When those levels get too low, the body demands more, and cravings occur. During detox, because the body is not receiving what it demands, physical and psychological effects known as withdrawal symptoms occur. One of the primary reasons why many people fail and eventually relapse when trying to detox alone is that these withdrawal symptoms become unmanageable. 

The detox process is often different for everyone. The intensity and duration of your withdrawal symptoms will depend on the duration and severity of your addiction. For most, the worst of withdrawal symptoms resolve within three to five days; however, they can last for over a week in some cases. The detox symptoms you will experience also vary widely. Some of the most common symptoms that occur in the majority of cases include appetite changes, alterations in mood or behavior, restlessness and irritability, body aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, and respiratory issues such as congestion or runny nose. These symptoms can occur in as little as a few hours after your last drink. Other common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweatiness, and shaking. However, in more severe cases, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs) may also occur. It is these more severe symptoms that necessitate the need for medically supervised detox programs like Concise Recovery

In a medically supervised detox setting, highly trained medical personnel will monitor your vitals, including your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing throughout the detox process. This is done to ensure your ongoing safety as withdrawal symptoms begin and as the detox process progresses. Depending on your unique situation, medication may also be administered to help alleviate some of the most overwhelming withdrawal symptoms making the detox process more manageable and more successful. Once detox is complete, you can transition to an addiction treatment program that includes therapy, addiction education, and nutritional and medical support as you work towards your sobriety and recovery. 

What Should I Do After Detox?

As previously mentioned, detox is the first step in a comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment program. After detox is complete, it is essential to transition into addiction treatment therapy. During therapy, you will learn more about the roots of addictive behavior and how to better manage triggers and behaviors that led you to turn to alcohol in the 1st place. Also, your treatment team will help you address any underlying mental or medical health conditions that should be addressed during your addiction treatment. In many cases (more than 50% of the time), those who struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs also struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder. In an effort to manage the symptoms of the mental health disorder, people will turn to alcohol to self-medicate. The reverse can also be true, meaning someone who struggles with an ongoing addiction to alcohol may experience new or worsening mental health symptoms. To ensure the greatest opportunities for success in addiction treatment, it is essential to participate in an addiction treatment program that addresses your physical, psychological, and spiritual needs beginning with detox and following through to comprehensive aftercare. 

If you are ready to start your journey towards sobriety from alcohol, reach out to the admissions team at Concise Recovery today to learn more about how our detox programs can help you quit alcohol for good.