Alcohol Detox Guide

Alcohol Detox Guide

Information from Cedar Oaks Wellness Center

Alcohol addiction treatments should be used by anyone who has an alcohol addiction. But not all alcohol addiction treatment programs and rehabs are the same. Indeed, they shouldn’t be. People are unique, so they need unique treatment plans. As such, some people who are fighting alcohol addiction will need alcohol detox.

Alcohol detoxification is a specialized treatment that is most commonly used by people with severe alcohol addictions. It places the patient in a controlled and comfortable medical setting with supervision from highly trained staff members. The goal is to fortify the patient’s health and reduce the severity of any alcohol withdrawal symptoms they might experience while recovering.

To begin, alcohol detox will focus on getting the patient medical assistance to reduce the risk of these dangerous withdrawal symptoms. We will use a careful admissions process to make sure you are placed in a recovery program that covers all your needs, including detox if necessary.

What to Expect During Alcohol Detox


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin the same or the next day for people with severe alcohol addictions.

Typical symptoms begin as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Worsened anxiety or depression
  • Headaches
  • Signs of dehydration

In rare cases, the patient might even begin experiencing hallucinations and unsafe heart palpitations. Within the next 72 hours, the patient’s risk of stronger symptoms will increase.

After 72 hours of the last drink, people with severe alcohol addictions could be at risk of:

  • Seizures: Approximately 1-in-25 people with severe alcohol addictions will suffer seizures during withdrawal. The seizures are caused by a lack of nutrition and hydration. Medical detox will keep the patient hydrated and can provide nutrition through an IV drip if eating solid food is not an option, which will greatly reduce the risk of seizures.
  • Delirium: About 1-in-25 people with severe alcohol addictions will suffer delirium during withdrawal. Delirium is most often categorized by confusion and unsteady breathing and pulse. It can be caused by damage to the brain, which will try to cope with the aftermath of severe addiction. Medical monitoring in a detox setting should be used if there is any risk of delirium in a patient.

Emotional Withdrawal

Physical withdrawal symptoms will typically be completely subsided within two weeks, especially if an alcohol detox is used. However, emotional withdrawal can last for a year.

Emotional withdrawal is exhibited by mood changes and mental health difficulties that can come as the patient adjusts to a life of sobriety. Specifically, the brain’s chemical composition will likely be readjusted as it copes with the lack of alcohol and heals.

It is common for people with emotional withdrawal from alcohol to experience:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Sleeping problems

Aftercare & Continued Sobriety

When alcohol detox is done, the recovery process is not. There will still be a road ahead of the patient to gain lasting sobriety. Most medical professionals, psychiatrists, and detox specialists agree that alcohol addiction can never be 100% “cured” because the risk of becoming addicted again is always present.

To increase a patient’s chances of maintaining sobriety, long-term care and aftercare can be arranged. This care can take many forms and involve many different steps and treatments.

During aftercare and long-term care, the following might be used:

  • Routine therapy, which could be group therapy, individual therapy, etc.
  • Prescription for Disulfiram, which causes nausea if alcohol is consumed.
  • Antidepressant prescription if the patient suffers newly onset depression.
  • Counseling and life coaching sessions.

Aftercare and long-term care will vary from case to case, just as initial alcohol addiction treatments did. It is important to keep in mind that some people require some form of aftercare for the rest of their lives, even if that means monthly or bi-monthly therapy.

Who Needs Alcohol Detox?

You should never determine if detox is necessary especially if it is dealing with Alcohol. The first step is to speak to a professional, so they can help determine what the next steps. Alcohol withdrawal is very dangerous, and you should not assume that you do not need detox. You could increase your risk of suffering a serious withdrawal symptom or experiencing a relapse later if you do need detox but never went through it.

To figure out if alcohol detox is right for you, you should come to Cedar Oaks Wellness Center and speak with our rehab professionals and admissions team. We can start your treatment plan with an evaluation of your health, addiction severity, mental state, and expectations. Using this careful process, we can decide with you if alcohol detox should be the first step in your recovery.

To find out more about getting started, please call (513) 780-5201. We are a top choice among people and physicians in Cincinnati.

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