Alcohol Detox and Rehab

Disclaimer: This article is not intended as a substitute for the counsel of a qualified physician or licensed therapist. This content should be used for purely informational purposes. Please consult your doctor if you have further inquiries on this subject. We intend to impart the most accurate and recent information but cannot make any guarantees.

"The thing that I'm most proud of in my life is that if a stranger came up to me and said, 'I can't stop drinking. I can't stop drinking. Can you help me?' I can say, "Yes, I can help you.'"
-Matthew Perry, Friends

Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous, and going through detox is the best way to recover safely. This is advice that such famous celebrities like Amy Winehouse and Nelsan Ellis probably wish they would have taken. Both of them died as a result of withdrawing from alcohol, and both of their deaths most likely could have been prevented.

Aside from the risk of fatal complications, there are many reasons why alcohol detox is the best option for alcoholics. For one, it is extremely difficult to stop drinking and get sober. Alcoholism is a medical condition; a disease. It is not a lifestyle choice, which is what many people view it as. In order to facilitate a successful recovery, it must be treated like a disease.

What is the Difference Between Alcohol Detox and Alcohol Rehab?

Going through alcohol detox is the first, and quite possibly, the most important step in recovery. Once someone has completed the detoxification process, they are then able to continue on to a rehabilitation facility for more treatment.

When you complete an alcohol detox program, you are getting help for the physical side of the addiction. This means addressing withdrawal symptoms through a series of withdrawal treatments. We will talk about the different methods that are used in just a moment.

Alcohol Detox And Alcohol Rehab

An alcohol rehab is a place you go to get help for the psychological side of the addiction. This is the place where the disease of addiction is treated. It involves many different types of therapy, according to your specific needs.

With the right guidance, it is possible to break free from the chains of alcoholism. Treatment is necessary in order to safely recover. If you are an alcoholic, we would like to encourage you to read through this alcohol detox guide. We will be covering valuable information such as:

  • What you can expect from alcohol withdrawal
  • What it is that makes withdrawing from alcohol so dangerous
  • The different types of detox programs that are available to you.
  • The risks of trying to stop drinking on your own.
  • What you can expect during alcohol rehab.

Most of all, we want you to know that you are not alone. There are so many others who have fought the battle against alcoholism and won. There is no reason why you should not be one of them.

Why is Alcohol so Addictive?

Alcohol is a drug that makes people feel good. But it is also one that causes many to travel down the path toward addiction. The question is, why?

A report published by WebMD sheds some light on this subject. Researchers have found that there are certain areas of the brain that are being affected when a person drinks. There are significant differences in the way the brain's reward center responds in both heavy and light drinkers.

Why Is Alcohol Addictive

For both groups of people, alcohol results in the release of endorphins in two regions of the brain associated with rewards. These endorphins are feel-good opioids, and in excess amounts, they create in a euphoric high. Heavy drinkers release more of them, and in turn, they feel more intoxicated. This is the case even when the light drinkers and the heavy drinkers consume the same amount.

The researchers concluded that this must mean that people whose brains release more endorphins may feel more pleasure while drinking. These individuals are, therefore, likely to drink too much more often, and become alcoholics.

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How Does Someone Become Addicted to Alcohol?

The road to alcoholism always starts with abuse. You start drinking for a number of different reasons, such as:

  • You like the way it makes you feel
  • You feel the need to de-stress
  • You want to relax
  • You want to forget about your problems
  • You want to have a good time with friends

Eventually, continuing to drink will cause you to build up a tolerance. That means it will take larger amounts of alcohol in order for you to get drunk. To compensate for that, you will continually increase how much and/or how often you drink.

As some time goes on, people become dependent upon alcohol in order to function normally. There is both a psychological dependence and a physical dependence that takes place, and in that order. This is primarily because of the way alcohol boosts dopamine and endorphins in the brain.

People gradually become used to experiencing that rush of dopamine, and it becomes their new normal. But it often does not take too long before they end up needing alcohol to experience any dopamine rush at all. This is why so many alcoholics claim that they do not feel like themselves unless they are drinking.

Typical Alcoholic Stereotypes

There are a lot of stereotypes that people typically relate with alcoholism. Many alcoholics spend their lives in denial of their condition because they do not fit what they consider to be the textbook definition of an alcoholic.

Some of the common stereotypes include:

  • A homeless person who drinks every single day.
  • Someone who does not take care of their personal appearance or hygiene.
  • Anyone who drinks out of a paper bag.
  • Someone who consumes alcohol every single day.
  • Someone who frequently blacks out.
  • A person who never drinks hard liquor, but only drinks beer or wine.
  • An individual who has had a DUI at least one time.
  • A person who grew up in an abusing home and drinks as a way to cope.

There are many more, and there is a good chance that you have bought into the myth of alcohol stereotypes. The reality is that alcoholism can happen to anyone. There is no one who is immune to the possibility of having a drinking problem with continued alcohol abuse.

The Types of Alcoholism

There are several different types of alcoholics. In fact, many people who struggle with drinking problems are the people that no one would suspect. This is a disease that does not discriminate, and it can impact anyone at any time.

A researcher by the name of E.M. Jellinek developed a classification scheme for the five types of alcoholics. Read the following descriptions to determine if you might meet their criteria.

The Young Adult Subtype

The profile of the young adult subtype generally meets the following conditions:

  • They are mostly men.
  • They tend to be younger, around the age of 25.
  • They usually had the early onset of alcohol dependence. The average age of onset was 19.6 years old.
  • There was a high probability that these individuals had relatives that were either alcohol dependent, or diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.
  • There was a high probability that these individuals also used tobacco and/or cannabis.
  • These individuals are likely to use alcohol in dangerous situations.
  • They were very likely to become physically dependent upon alcohol.
  • They have a low probability of also having a co-occurring disorder (mental health condition) as the basis of their alcoholism.
  • They are very unlikely to seek treatment for their conditions.
Types Of Alcoholics The Young Adult

Research has shown that approximately 32% of people with alcohol addictions are a part of this subtype. That makes it the largest.

The Young Antisocial Subtype

The profile of the young antisocial subtype usually meets all or most of the following criteria:

  • They are usually men.
  • They are usually in their mid-20s.
  • Close to half of the people in this subtype had a family history of alcoholism. This is usually either a first-degree or second-degree relative.
  • These people usually begin drinking between the ages of 14-19 years old.
  • Around 75% of these individuals also smoke tobacco products.
  • Around 66% also met the criteria for cannabis abuse.
  • Around 25% of them also used cocaine.
  • Around 20% of them also abused opioid drugs.
  • Most of these individuals use more than two drugs.
  • These individuals also demonstrated a history of antisocial behavior.
Types Of Alcoholic The Young Antisocial

About 21% of alcoholics in the United States make up the young antisocial subtype. For many of these individuals, they either are or could be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder by the age of 18.

The Functional Alcoholic

The qualities that many functional or high-functioning alcoholics have include:

  • Drinking alcohol on a daily basis, but quite often, only consuming it every other day.
  • Frequently engaging in activities where they know alcohol will be involved. This is a way to hide their addiction.
  • Feeling a sense of pride at being able to hold their liquor or their ability to not get drunk.
  • On the days they do drink, they will drink excessively.
  • Skipping out on food in favor of drinking alcohol instead.
  • Demonstrating various shifts in behavior when they are drinking. For example, they may become more aggressive.
  • They have frequently experienced blackouts.
  • They are usually highly educated.
  • They may have high-paying or high-status jobs.
  • They are usually middle-aged.
Types Of Alcoholic The Functional Alcoholic

These are the individuals that many people have a hard time believing to be alcoholics. On the outside, they appear to have their lives together. They may make a lot of money, or even seem to be workaholics.

High functioning alcoholics make up about 20% of all alcoholics. There is a good chance you may know one in your own inner circle.

The Intermediate Familial Subtype

Someone who is diagnosed as an intermediate familial subtype alcoholic may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • They have a higher probability of being males. 66% of everyone who fits this subtype is a man.
  • They often have a family history of alcoholism, either through a first-degree or second-degree relative.
  • They usually begin drinking during their teenage years.
  • They often also suffer from some type of co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. The main diagnoses being either major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, personality disorder or OCD.
  • Along with drinking alcohol, they may also use any of the following substances: cocaine, cannabis or tobacco.
  • They are the most likely to subscribe to the idea of getting professional help. This comes in many forms, including withdrawal treatments, support groups and private counseling. Still, only 25% of these individuals seek treatment.
Types Of Alcoholics The Intermediate Familial

In order to be considered as a part of this subtype, the individual must have started drinking by the age of 17. It is possible that they do not become alcoholics until they are around 30 years old.

19% of the alcoholics in the United States fall into this category.

The Chronic Severe Alcoholism Subtype

Someone who is considered to have the subtype of chronic severe alcoholism should meet the following criteria:

  • They started drinking at an early age. Usually this means before their sixteenth birthday.
  • They tend to have a later age of the onset of alcoholism. The average age is around 29 years old.
  • They have the lowest percentage of days during which they do not consume any alcohol at all.
  • They have the highest rate of emergency room visits due to alcohol-related incidents.
  • This group has the highest probability of having family members with alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder.
  • They often have the highest instances of mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, dysthymia, panic disorder, social phobias and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • They also have the highest probability of using multiple substances. Mainly, this includes opiates, tobacco, cannabis and cocaine.
  • They have the highest rates of attending alcohol rehab programs on an inpatient basis.
  • These individuals are much more likely to seek out alcohol detox, but they generally have poor success rates.
Types Of Alcoholics The Chronic Severe Alcoholic

In addition, the people in the chronic severe alcoholism subtype generally meet the following criteria for alcohol use disorder more often:

  • They usually drink more than they intended to.
  • They usually drink for longer periods than they intended to.
  • They continue to use alcohol even though they know of the negative consequences.
  • They typically have many attempts to stop drinking, but are not successful.
  • They have the most chance of experiencing dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

This subtype is the most rare of them all. Only about 9% of alcoholics fit these characteristics. But as many as 2/3 of them will seek out the help they need to quit.

Signs That You Might be an Alcoholic

It is extremely common for people to live denial about being alcoholics, as we mentioned earlier. In fact, you could be suffering from denial yourself. How do you find out for sure if you have an alcohol problem and need treatment?

Signs Of Alcoholic Addiction

You may want to begin by searching your life for signs of alcoholism, such as:

  • Drinking larger amounts of alcohol for longer than you intended to.
  • Attempting to quit or cut down on your intake, but being unsuccessful.
  • Spending great amounts of time obtaining alcohol, drinking it, and/or being hungover.
  • Constantly finding yourself obsessing over drinking, and being unable to focus on anything else.
  • Experiencing issues at work or school because of your drinking behaviors.
  • Dealing with relationship problems that you know stem from drinking.
  • Continuing to drink even though it is resulting in serious personal, professional or legal issues.
  • Cutting back or even quitting activities that once were important to you so that you can drink.
  • Taking risks or finding yourself in dangerous situations while drinking or afterwards.
  • Continuing to consume alcohol even though it is causing severe mental health symptoms, such as those mimicking anxiety or depression.
  • Feeling the need to drink more in order to get drunk.
  • Going through withdrawal when the feeling of being drunk wears off.

Other Ways to Determine if You are an Alcoholic

If reviewing the above symptoms of alcoholism does not help you, you may want to take different actions. It might help you to take an alcoholism quiz. This will tell you whether or not you should be concerned, and what type of help you may need to recover.

If you would feel more comfortable talking with a professional, you may do that as well. Many alcohol rehabs offer free phone assessments for people who think they may have drinking problems.

What is the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?

Alcohol abuse and addiction are two very different things. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same at all. Many people in the United States abuse alcohol, but a lot of them do not suffer from alcoholism.

Alcohol Abuse Different From Alcohol Addiction

The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines alcohol abuse as not being physically or psychologically dependent, but still having a serious problem. People who abuse it may participate in dangerous drinking behaviors, but they generally do not negatively impact their lives for the long-term.

For someone with alcoholism, they are completely physically and psychologically dependent upon alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, 15.1 million adults suffer from AUD. Also, only 6.7% of these individuals ever get the treatment they need.

Still, alcohol abuse should not be minimized. Even if you have not yet become an alcoholic, there is a very real chance that you will. In fact, the next drink you consume could be the one that results in it.

Statistics on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States

The statistics surrounding alcohol abuse and addiction in our country are astounding. The CDC tells us that:

  • 25.1% of adults ages 18 and older have had at least one heavy drinking day in the past year. This amounts to five or more drinks for men, and four or more drinks for women.
  • For the most part, this percentage has gradually increased over the years.
  • This includes about 20% of women.
  • It includes about 31% of men.
  • Each year, there are more than 21,000 deaths because of alcoholic liver disease.
  • Each year, there are more than 33,000 alcohol-induced deaths. This does not include accidents and homicides.
Alcoholism Statistics In The U.S.

SAMHSA offers additional statistics on alcohol use and abuse in our country.

More Alcoholism Statistics In The U.S
  • 86.4% of adults have reported consuming at least one alcoholic beverage in their lifetimes.
  • More than 70% admit to having consumed it in the last year.
  • 56% report that they drank within the last month.
  • Close to 27% of adults state that they have participated in binge drinking during the last month.
  • 7% stated that they had participated in heavy drinking in the last month.
  • Among young people between the ages of 12 and 17, 623,000 of them were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.
  • Of that number, close to 300,000 of them were males.
  • Only just more than 5% of these young people received treatment.
  • It is estimated that 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year.
  • This makes alcohol the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • In 2014, 9,967 deaths were due to alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
  • That is more than 30% of all driving deaths.
  • Every year, alcohol misuse costs our country close to $250 billion.
  • 75% of this total cost is due to binge drinking.
  • One study that was conducted in 2010 found that more than 10% of children live with a parent with an alcohol addiction.

Types of Alcohol Abuse

As you might assume, there are different types of alcohol abuse. They are all varying ways of achieving the same goal (getting drunk), but they are all risky.

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking has never been as prevalent as it is right now. The NIAAA reports that alcohol is the most widely used drug of abuse among America's young people. Most of them fail to see the harm in it, and they view drinking as a way for them to fit in with their friends. What they do not realize is that because of their age, they are poised to suffer tremendous health and safety consequences.

Statistics tell us that:

  • By the age of 15, around 33% of teenagers have had at least one drink.
  • By the time they are 18 years old, 60% of teenagers have had at least one drink.
  • In 2015, 7.7 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 admitted that they had consumed alcohol within the last month.
  • 11% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States is drank by people between the ages of 12 and 20.
  • 5.1 million young people have stated that they have participated in binge drinking at least once in the last month.
  • If that is not alarming enough, 1.3 million of them admitted to binge drinking five or more days during the last month.

More than 90% of the alcohol young people drink is consumed by binge drinking. Teenagers may drink less often than adults, but in reality, they drink higher amounts.

Young people state a number of reasons why they drink, including to relieve stress and because of peer pressure. Consuming large amounts of alcohol at such a young age carries so many risks. It interferes with their developing brains, and can also increase the risk of alcohol addiction later in their lives.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking has developed into a very serious, costly, deadly, and sadly, the most common health problem in the U.S. It is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above.

This type of alcohol consumption is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks for men, or 4 or more drinks per women within a two-hour timeframe. Interestingly enough, most of the people who binge drink are not dependent upon alcohol. That means they are not classified as alcoholics.

What Is Binge Drinking

Still, binge drinking has certainly taken its toll. Statistics from the CDC tell us that:

  • One in six adults admit to binge drinking around four times each month.
  • During each session, about seven drinks are consumed.
  • That means that every year, there are 17 billion binge drinks consumed by people.
  • To break that down, it means 467 drinks per person.
  • This form of alcohol consumption is most common among people between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Even so, more than half of the number of binge drinkers are age 35 and older.
  • This is twice as common among men than it is among women.

In fact, for every five binge drinks consumed, four of them are consumed by men.

More than 90% of adults who drink excessively have reported binge drinking at some point within the last month.

Even though this form of drinking is not always equated with alcoholism, there are still serious risks involved. Many people suffer from unintentional injuries or accidents. Violence is prevalent among people who binge drink, as are STDs, unintended pregnancies and many chronic diseases.

Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking can be just as dangerous as binge drinking. In fact, the two are actually quite similar to one another. There are certain standard limits for alcohol consumption. Once these limits are passed, the person could be considered a heavy drinker.

Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking or at-risk drinking as it is sometimes called can be described as:

  • More than 4 drinks on any day, or 14 per week for men.
  • More than 3 drinks on any day, or 7 per week for women.

Research has shown that about 25% of people who exceed these limits already have an alcohol use disorder. Those that do not are at risk for developing the condition. Of course, these numbers are only an average. There are people who could become alcoholics by consuming smaller amounts than the ones listed above.

In general, the more someone drinks, the more at risk they are for becoming an alcoholic. As time goes by without any change in the behavior, the more serious the situation becomes. These individuals are gradually increasing the chances of not only an alcohol use disorder, but also for serious health and personal issues too.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain?

Alcohol can have a devastating impact on the human brain - both in the short and long-term. Some of these impairments may be detectable after only one or two drinks. Others may take years to surface, but with continuing use, they will.

It is important to realize that there are some brain changes that are not reversible. Many people believe that they can simply stop drinking and everything will go back to normal. That is not always the case.

Alcohol In The Brain

There are a few different factors that can affect how much the brain is affected by continued alcohol use. These include:

  • How much a person drinks at one time.
  • How often a person drinks.
  • The age at which the individual started consuming alcohol.
  • How long the person has been drinking.
  • The family history of alcoholism and genetic background.
  • Whether or not the individual was at risk because of prenatal alcohol exposure.
  • The person's general overall health status.

The Short-Term Effects

Most people drink alcohol because they are looking forward to the short-term effects they expect. Drinking can be enjoyable, but far too often, people get more than they had bargained for, even with one use.

Alcohol Short Term Effects In The Brain

Some of the more common short-term effects of alcohol include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems with vision and hearing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decreased perception
  • Problems with coordination

It is not uncommon for people who drink too much to experience blackouts. They may deny having blacked out the next day when they hear people talking about it. But the experience itself is very real.

A blackout is a lapse in memory of a specific event. The person who was drinking has no recollection of the events that happened while they were under the influence. At the time they were drunk, they spoke, behaved and carried on as normal as they could.

Blackouts occur because of the brain's inability to form new memories while heavily intoxicated. E.M. Jellinek concluded that for someone who has blackouts, they are a powerful indicator of alcoholism.

The Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of alcohol on the brain can be catastrophic. Some of the effects may be reversible, but many of them will become permanent. Since 2008, researchers have known that heavy drinking over a long period of time can actually shrink brain volume. The study found that people who consumed more than 14 drinks per week over a 20-year period had brains that were 1.6% smaller than people who did not drink. This finding was much stronger in women than it was in men.

Alcohol Long Term Effects In The Brain

Additional long-term effects include:

  • Speeding up memory loss
  • Significant cognitive decline
  • Relying on alcohol to cope with negative feelings
  • Damage to cellular networks in the brain that may never grow back
  • Dementia due to thiamine or B1 deficiency ( Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome)
  • Changes in their personality

The consequences of drinking on the brain can even be deadly. In a Lancet study, it was found that people who regularly had 10 or more drinks a week could expect a one to two years shorter life expectancy than those who drink less.

How Does Alcohol Impact the Body?

Alcohol also has a profound effect on the body as well. While there may not be many short-term physical risks for alcoholics, there are many long-term risks. Drinking an occasional glass of wine with dinner is harmless enough in most cases. But when it becomes a habit over years and years, it will take its toll.

The Physical Risks of Continuing to Drink

There are so many things that can happen to the body when someone is an alcoholic. Whether you realize it or not, if you have a drinking problem, you could be at risk for many of the following:

  • Serious liver damage
  • Hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia or even diabetes
  • Problems within the central nervous system
  • Problems with the digestive system
  • Issues with your heart and lungs
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Reproductive problems
  • Weakening bones and muscles
  • Problems with the immune system

Some of these conditions may be treatable, but not all of them are. Diseases like cirrhosis may be life-long, and could even require a liver transplant.

Trying to Quit Drinking Once You're Addicted

Once you are addicted to alcohol, trying to quit is extremely difficult. Many people attempt it on their own for years, without experiencing success.

It is important to remember that while alcohol is legal and widely available, it is an addictive drug. It is a substance that can quickly take hold of your mind and body until you feel you have to have it in order to feel like yourself. Even so, with the right support, it is possible to recover.

What is Withdrawal Like for an Alcoholic?

Alcohol withdrawal is extremely painful. One user on the website, Reddit, stated that it was "the worst, most terrifying experience of my life." He goes on to talk about how he finally decided to stop and asked his girlfriend to get rid of all the alcohol in the house. After that, he went to sleep.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

When he woke up later that night, he felt fuzzy-headed. His heart rate and blood pressure were sky rocketing. After a shower, he heard his name being called, but his girlfriend was fast asleep. A moment later, he looked at the bed again, and she was gone. He found out that she was never actually there.

This continues on for a long time. He suffers through excessive sweating, and he is afraid that his heart is going to stop. He starts to go unconscious, but when he closes his eyes, he's having auditory hallucinations.

Fortunately, he made it through the worst of alcohol withdrawal, but this situation could have been much worse. This story is exactly why it is so important to get medical attention when you decide to stop drinking.

Why is Alcohol Withdrawal So Painful?

Alcohol withdrawal is extremely painful - both mentally and physically. Continuing to drink has resulted in so many different changes in the body and in the mind. Once the alcohol has been stopped, it is as though you go into shock. This is the result of your central nervous system responding.

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. It works by slowing many of the automatic functions of the body, such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and body temperature. Drinking will also interfere with the transmission of neurotransmitters in the brain.

When you stop drinking, your body and brain are trying desperately to regulate themselves. This can be extremely painful, and it is what results in withdrawal. This is exactly why quitting alcohol cold turkey is never recommended.

The Benefits of Alcohol Detox

The benefits of alcohol detox are numerous. During the detoxification process, you will receive various treatments to help with withdrawal. These will help you manage your symptoms so that you feel better than you would if you had tried quitting on your own.

Your alcohol detox can also help you avoid the complications that can accompany alcohol withdrawal. One of these is delirium tremens, or DTs, which is a condition that can become fatal if left untreated.

Common Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The more common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Anger and irritability
  • Extensive fatigue
  • Serious mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful headaches
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of appetite

Not everyone has all of the symptoms on this list. But many people suffer from most of them when they quit drinking.

What is Delirium Tremens, and are You at Risk?

Delirium tremens is a severe type of alcohol withdrawal that can happen to anyone. Although it is more likely to happen to people who have been drinking excessively for longer periods of time. For instance, if you have been drinking a lot every day for several months, or if you have been drinking for more than 10 years, you could be at risk.

Delirium Tremens

Some of the most common symptoms of DTs include:

  • Sudden confusion
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and touch
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe body tremors
  • Changes in mental function

This is a potentially deadly condition that requires immediate medical attention. By choosing to go to alcohol detox, you may be able to avoid it.

When do Withdrawal Symptoms Typically Start?

Most people can expect withdrawal symptoms to begin within 8 to 12 hours following the last drink. Of course, this can vary from person to person. Someone who has a higher metabolism and who drinks heavily may experience symptoms much sooner.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in the System?

The length of time alcohol stays in the system will depend on a few different factors. Among them are your age, how much and how often you drink, and your metabolic rate. Ethanol enters your bloodstream through your stomach and it is then processed by your liver. For most people, it takes about an hour for the liver to process one ounce of alcohol, or one drink.

For someone who has a BAC of 0.08, it takes about 5.5 hours for the body to process it. But it still may be detectable in urine and breath for much longer than that.

Alcohol Detox Alternatives: Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

There are a lot of different alcohol detox options and alternatives. While it is important for you to find the method that will work well for you, please use extreme caution. Not all alcohol detox methods for treating addiction are considered safe or beneficial.

Can You Detox From Alcohol at Home?

It is common for people to want to attempt to detox from alcohol at home. They may use the harm reduction method of tapering down on how much they drink. Or, they might also try various natural remedies.

It is a common misconception that the use of vitamins, supplements, drinks and even detox kits can help with withdrawal. While there may be some relief in symptom severity, the dangers are still there. At any time, you may begin to see signs of DTs, and that requires a trip to the emergency room.

There is definitely a place for natural remedies, but they should not be used for alcohol withdrawal.

Medicated Detox

It is very clear that medicated detox methods are vital during the detoxification process for alcoholics. This allows them to take drugs that can help with their withdrawal symptoms.

Medical Detox For Alcohol Addiction

There are many medications that have been approved to treat alcohol withdrawal. They include:

  • Librium
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Valium
  • Clonidine
  • Atenolol
Medications For Alcohol Detoxification

Many alcohol detox programs have also seen promising results with using a new medication called Vivitrol. It has worked exceptionally well for many recovering alcoholics in helping to decrease their withdrawal symptoms.

Other Common Medications For Alcohol Detox

Holistic/Natural Detox

Most alcohol detox facilities will include natural or holistic detox methods along with medications. This involves improving their patients' diets, starting a regular exercise regimen, yoga, and other treatments.

The human body is extremely good at detoxing itself as long as it is healthy enough to do so. By using natural methods, the health of the liver and kidneys can be vastly improved.

Professional Alcohol Detox Centers

There are several types of professional alcohol detox facilities. It is possible to go through an outpatient program, although most experts agree that it is not the safest method. A patient who detoxes on an outpatient basis still runs the risk of DTs; not to mention they are at risk of relapsing.

There are also facilities called rapid detox centers. They use medications to help alcoholics detox quickly. While this might sound like the best option, it can be very dangerous. This is especially true if the person suffers from other medical issues that might lead to complications.

Professional Help For Alcoholics

An inpatient detox is the best option for alcohol withdrawal. This type of treatment removes the alcoholic from their environment and eliminates the risk of relapse. It also ensures that they are constantly under medical supervision in case an emergency arises.

Alcohol Rehab: Dealing With the Psychological Part of the Addiction

Once detox is over, you should move on to an alcohol rehab program. This can be done on an inpatient or an outpatient basis.

Rehabilitation is vital for recovery. It allows patients to work through the reasons behind their addictions and heal. During rehab, people receive different types of treatments, such as:

When combined, and when the patient is compliant, there is a high probability of success.

Your Aftercare: What Happens When Rehab is Over?

After rehab, treatment must continue in order for you to stay sober. Of course, it will take on a much different form. For example, if you began by going to an inpatient program, you may transition into an intensive outpatient program. If you started with an IOP, you may move on to outpatient rehab along with a 12-Step program like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Regardless, please continue to invest in your sobriety. You are worth it, and it will make an amazing difference. Those who are most successful are the people who continue to get help.

Alcohol Detox is the First Step to Long-Term Sobriety

Alcohol detox is the most important part of your recovery if you are an alcoholic. Here at Northpoint Seattle, we can provide you with a referral for a program that we trust. Once you have detoxed on an inpatient basis, we can continue to assist you through our intensive outpatient program.

Nothing is as important as your sobriety. With our help, we can assist you in making that a reality.

Did we answer all of your questions about alcohol detox? Please contact us today to get started with your recovery.

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Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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