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What to Expect During Alcohol Detox

Detoxing from alcohol is one of the first steps to recover from alcohol use disorder and alcohol addiction. While you might believe that you can detox at home without support, you might need professional help depending on the severity of your alcohol addiction.

What to Expect During Alcohol Detox

You can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox. According to MedlinePlus, “Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 8 hours after the last drink but can occur days later. Symptoms usually peak by 24 to 72 hours, but may go on for weeks.” 

MedlinePlus continues to list the common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fatigue and sleeping issues
  • Feeling on-edge or “jumpy”
  • Shakes and tremors
  • Mental fog
  • Sweating and clammy skin
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion

If you have severe withdrawal symptoms, you might need a longer time to detox than others. By getting detox services in a medical setting, you can safely manage withdrawal from alcohol.

What Factors Influence the Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms?

Depending on several factors, you might experience more challenging withdrawal symptoms than others. You might detox within a week while another person takes two weeks or longer. 

These questions can help you understand what might influence the severity of your withdrawal symptoms:

  • How much alcohol do you consume when you do drink?
  • Do you drink beer, wine, or hard liquors? 
  • Have you consumed other substances, like illegal drugs, or misuse prescription medications? 
  • Do you drink every day, or are you a “weekend warrior” who binge drinks every Friday and Saturday night?
  • Are you drinking throughout the entire day, or do you wait until the evening?
  • How long have you been drinking alcohol? 
  • Have you attempted to quit before and relapsed?

In addition, your overall state of health and age can factor into your withdrawal symptoms. While problematic drinking and poor health tend to go together, “functional” alcoholics can include athletes, who might be healthier in some ways than others. 

Overall, if you have been drinking heavily for years or use other substances while drinking, you might have severe withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing from home without support or guidance might lead to relapse and can even be dangerous to your health. 

How to Detox From Alcohol

To detox safely from alcohol, it would be best if you considered the following factors:

  • Your environment:
    • Can you safely detox without relapsing? 
    • Are you protected from triggers that influence your drinking?
    • Are others supportive of your decision to quit drinking?
  • Underlying medical or psychiatric conditions:
    • Are you drinking alcohol to deal with chronic pain or cope with a medical issue?
    • Do you drink to self-medicate for a mental health issue, like trauma or depression?
  • Your next steps in addiction treatment:
    • Have you detoxed in the past, only to relapse later?
    • Do you need to take more progressive actions to quit drinking for the long term?

Understanding these factors can help you make the best decisions for your detox and long-term sobriety. If your environment is not safe for your recovery, you might want to consider detoxing in a facility that offers residential rehab to continue your treatment. 

In addition, if you do not address the underlying medical or psychiatric issues at the root of your addiction, you might find yourself relapsing soon after detox. With the support and guidance of a detox facility, you can continue your treatment and build the skills needed for long-term recovery.

What Do Detox Facilities Offer?

Detox facilities can vary in the types of treatment that they offer. Some might only provide detox services to help you with early withdrawal, while you can continue services with another inpatient or outpatient treatment facility. However, many detox facilities offer comprehensive treatment to help you through every step of your recovery after detox.

Detox facilities might offer things like:

  • Medication-Assisted Programming:
    • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as “the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a ‘whole-patient’ approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.”
    • The medications used in MAT can help you manage withdrawal symptoms during detox.
    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications like acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone for alcohol use.
  • Residential Rehab:
    • If you need long-term treatment after detox and cannot return home due to relapse risks, you might want to consider transitioning to a residential rehab center.
    • Many facilities offer residential services following detox, as you might need additional support to stay sober, deal with mental health issues, and learn coping skills for stress.
  • Holistic Treatment Options:
    • Some facilities offer holistic detox if you are concerned about using MAT and other medically driven treatment detox methods.
    • Some of these holistic methods include things like aromatherapy, acupuncture, meditation, and nutritional counseling.
    • Including some holistic treatment in your recovery can help you expand your options for treating your alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Detox in Nashville

Detox from alcohol can be dangerous if you try to manage withdrawal symptoms without professional support. Brentwood Springs Detox of Nashville, TN, is here to help you through every step of recovery from alcohol addiction. We offer medical detox from alcohol and other substances, residential rehab, MAT, and aftercare services to ensure your continued success. Call us today at (615) 560-7545.

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