The Early Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol Detox Program

Alcohol detox is the process of medically and safely removing alcohol contents from a person’s body. Depending on each patient’s severity of their alcohol dependence, this process can take anywhere from a week to a month. According to the National Institute of Health, detoxification is a period of treatment in which patients participate in medical and mental health treatments to overcome their dependency on alcohol. 

OR:

Request a Call

sad man alcohol

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) commonly known as alcoholism, is when an individual is unable to control their drinking habits despite repeated negative outcomes. Studies have shown AUD can have major lasting effects on the brain and seeking professional alcohol detox is encouraged to help individuals live a healthier life without alcohol. During alcohol detox, patients abstain from drinking and give their bodies time to adjust and physically relearn how to function without the substance.

Different Types of Alcohol Detox

Patients suffering from alcohol addiction have many avenues of treatment to choose from including medical detox and comprehensive therapies. Treatment programs that specialize in alcohol detox include inpatient and residential (RTC) programs where patients are monitored 24/7 and given the appropriate care during this initial critical step towards sobriety. 

Medical withdrawal management, often associated with MAT, is effective in targeting specific patient needs and focuses on treating the physical damage caused from alcohol addiction. Treating alcohol detox with assisted medication is a safe way for patients experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. Because detoxing from alcohol is known to be one of the more dangerous forms of detox, patients are encouraged to seek out a medically managed detox treatment plan.

Medical Withdrawal Management

The usage of FDA approved medications to aid in alcohol rehab is common practice in alcoholism treatment. Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) is a popular treatment for those suffering from AUD and a safe way for patients to detox from alcohol. 

Common medications used to assist in alcohol rehab include:

  • Naltrexone – a drug used to help reduce alcohol cravings because it physically stimulates withdrawal symptoms. These unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are supposed to deter the patient from turning to their cravings. 
  • Acamprosate – this drug is used to help patients reduce alcohol cravings and usually administered after initial alcohol detox has been completed. 
  • Disulfiram – this drug is similar to Acamprosate in that it produces severe physical reactions to when alcohol is consumed. Some symptoms that occur include nausea, headaches and low blood pressure. 

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol is known as a depressant that impairs and slows down brain functions making it difficult for coordination and judgment. Long term users of alcohol become dependent on the substance to feel “normal.” Over time excessive alcohol intake can alter a brain’s cognitive chemistry and biology making it feel “normal” to have alcohol in the system.

When the individual decides to stop consuming alcohol, the body will react to not feeling “normal” and experience alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol Withdrawal is a collection of physical and psychological symptoms binge drinkers experience when they stop consuming alcohol. Some of these symptoms can be mild and in other cases can be very dangerous depending on each individual. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can depend on each individual patient. How long have you been drinking? Have you been drinking and using other substances? These are important factors in determining the intensity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability and confusion 
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Heart palpitations and high blood pressure 
  • Insomnia and fatigue 
  • Fever and Sweating

Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens (DT) is a condition of extreme withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox and occurs in patients who suffer from severe alcohol addiction. 

Symptoms of DT usually occur within 2 to 3 days after a person has stopped drinking. Some of the most common symptoms of DT include:

  • Hallucinations
  •  Hypersensitivity to sound and light
  • Intense confusion and emotional distress
  • Fever
  • The most severe cases can cause seizures

Delirium Tremens are considered an extreme medical condition in which patients should seek professional health care treatment.  

The Alcohol Detox Timeline

The alcohol withdrawal timeline varies greatly on each patient and the severity of their alcohol addiction. There are four main stages of symptoms patients experience during alcohol detox starting within the first 12 hours after alcohol consumption. The intensity of symptoms range from mild, moderate to severe. The process generally lasts about a week but can be extended depending on the needs of each patient and their ability to undergo the detox treatment. 

First 12 Hours

During the first 12 hours of alcohol detox, patients will experience withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, irritability and mild hand tremors. These are considered “mild” symptoms and can occur as soon as six hours after the last drink. 

Some patients may even experience gastrointestinal issues and feelings of an upset stomach. 

1-3 Days

In between the 24 to 48 hour period, withdrawal symptoms will increase with intensity. In addition to the “mild” symptoms, patients may experience increased blood pressure and heart rate as well as abnormal breathing. These physical symptoms are typical for patients as they move into the next phase where they will begin to experience more emotional stressors. 

During this second phase of alcohol detox, patients will also begin to experience hallucinations in which a person begins to see, hear and feel things that aren’t actually there. 

1 Week

Closer to the end of the week, some patients with severe addictions may experience intense hallucinations, disorientation and even Delirium Tremens (DT). DT causes intense fever and severe emotional distress and often requires hospitalization or clinical care. During this critical phase of alcohol detox, it is important to be under medical supervision because symptoms of DT can be very dangerous.

Once these major symptoms have made its way through the patient’s body, all withdrawal symptoms will slowly begin to subside. There are some exceptional rare cases in which withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks or months after initial alcohol detox. 

Beyond

Alcohol detox symptoms usually begin to subside after about a week of detox. In some cases, it can be prolonged and Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is developed. The most common residual symptoms of PAWS include irritability, increased anxiety and depression and difficulty with everyday cognitive tasks. With PAWS some of the symptoms can last up to several weeks or months after initial detox. 

Depending on each individual, a week after alcohol detox is when patients continue through the alcohol rehab process and seek out other available patient services to help maintain sobriety.  Following medically assisted alcohol detox, patients are led through the next process of healing. Patients will enter into inpatient residential and outpatient programs where they will receive individualized therapies to address the emotional issues related to their alcohol addiction. Specialized therapy programs teach patients new skills and habits to incorporate into their new lives free of substance dependency. Other additional services may include family support therapy, assistance in finding transitional sober living and career counseling

shutterstock 1745305328

The Alcohol Detoxification Process

The alcohol detoxification process is generally categorized into three different phases: Intake, Medication and Stabilization. This process of alcohol rehab takes the best interest of the patient and makes sure they are guided smoothly and safely throughout their detox. Our trained detox staff in Newport Beach, CA ensure each patient is monitored and given the most effective treatment per individual need. 

Intake

During the intake step, the medical team will perform physical and emotional assessments of the patients once they have been admitted into treatment. All aspects of the patient’s condition, history and family history of addiction will be taken into consideration when building a comprehensive care plan.

This is the first step towards a healthy life free of alcohol. Medical physicians will work with patients and assess the appropriate detox method followed by individualized counseling and therapy. A carefully crafted treatment plan is important to successfully detoxing from a widely abused substance such as alcohol. 

Medication

Next patients are then subjected to carefully monitored and prescribed doses of medications to help assist in the initial alcohol detox. Withdrawal symptoms during detox can be severe and medical care is important to the health and well-being of the patient during this critical step. Medications can also help target co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety, which are often associated with alcohol addiction. 

The medications used during alcohol detox are approved by medical physicians to successfully assist in alcohol withdrawal management. Physical symptoms such as tremors, elevated heart rate and hallucinations can be painful. But under the care of experienced detox physicians, more intense symptoms can be safely managed. 

Stabilization

In the final phase, the stabilization process focuses on continuing treatment after the alcohol detox has been achieved. Patients will move on to other treatments meant to ensure alcohol will no longer be a dependency. 

During the final step in the alcohol detox process, patients undergo counseling and therapy to treat their emotional and psychological damages associated with their addiction. Group therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have been proven to yield successful results in the treatment of alcohol addiction. The goal of stabilization is to get the patient clean of alcohol and ready to take the next step into sober living. 

1510803173

Alcohol Detox at Hotel California By The Sea

As the first step in the alcohol detox process, patients are immediately given a biopsycho social assessment (BPS). During this assessment, therapists and counselors determine if any biological, psychological or social factors have contributed to the patient’s alcohol addiction. Detox physicians then evaluate through an in-depth health and medical history of the patient in order to create an effective treatment plan for alcohol detox. A clinical team is immediately assigned to each patient to make sure their specific needs will be addressed throughout their stay at the facility. 

At Hotel California by the Sea, all of our Southern California detox facilities are Incidental Medical Services (IMS) certified, where we have medical physicians and certified nurses ready to assist patients through the alcohol detox process. Our IMS services range from consistent monitoring of a patient’s health status during their withdrawal phase, supervising the usage of approved medication during alcohol detox and a full spectrum of treatments for alcohol recovery.

Patients will receive daily assessments with a medical doctor to adjust tapers and other medications accordingly. Nurses and other medical staff work around the clock to monitor vital signs every four hours, making sure patients are able to detox comfortably and safely.

Our Orange County, California residential detox facilities offer a comfortable and relaxing environment located by beautiful beaches. With around the clock staff, a gourmet personal chef, and serene environment, patients will be able to focus on their health and healing from alcohol addiction. 

Next Steps After Detox

After a patient has completed alcohol detox, they are encouraged to move to the next step in rehab and participate in therapy and counseling sessions to heal any emotional disorders associated with their addiction. 

Hotel California by the Sea offers many types of treatment programs following initial alcohol detox. Choose from programs such as Inpatient Residential Treatment and Partial Hospitalization Program where treatments focus on CBT and DBT therapies. We also offer continuing support services such as unique family support counseling and assistance in career placement opportunities. Medical detox is the initial physical healing of the patient, while the next step focuses on the psychological healing of the patient. 

Anyone can recover from alcohol use disorder and overcome addiction. Call our admissions specialists today for more information on our program and a full verification of your insurance benefits. 

Request a Call

The road to recovery is full of uncertainty, leave your worries behind…
Our compassionate staff will answer all of your questions without any pressure. Learn about our evidence-based drug addiction treatment and rehab, the ease of entering our program, and the benefits of getting help from a reputable addiction treatment facility like Hotel California by the Sea.

Every member of our admissions team has been where you are today – be sure to ask them about their journey!