A Guide to the Alcohol Detox Process
Those who are starting the recovery process from alcoholism need to know about the alcohol detox process. People who are entering this process, as well as family and friends supporting them, will benefit from understanding the way the body deals with the process of detoxing from alcohol.
How Long Does the Alcohol Detox Process Take?
One of the most pressing questions that people in early recovery ask is how long does it take to detox from alcohol? Each person metabolizes differently, and the length of withdrawal process largely depends on the severity of use.
- For those who have a less severe level of use, withdrawal can last from 24 to 48 hours.
- More significant levels of use can result in greater withdrawal symptoms that can last from 24 hours to 6 days.
- In rare situations, symptoms can extend to a month.
There are several ways to face detox. The types of detox used will depend on one’s severity of alcohol use, intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and potential risk factors involved with detox. Different detox methods offer people at varying stages of the illness to experience a safe transition. Liver detox methods are imperative for those who are experiencing health compromises due to alcohol use.
One of the best ways to detox from alcohol is through the guidance of a medical professional. The changes that occur in the body and mind during detox can put your health at risk. Medical detox, particularly for people recovering from severe substance use disorder, is the best way to safely detox from alcohol.
Cold Turkey Detox
Quitting alcohol cold turkey is another method for detox. This method can be risky for those with potential health consequences and is not advised.
For people who have had shorter-term alcohol abuse history and whose levels of consumption are not as high, cold turkey alcohol detox is not as risky. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits carefully. Consult with a health professional who can help you decide what method is best.
One risk of the cold turkey method is that the rapid decrease of substances in your system makes your tolerance for substances decrease, which can become life-threatening if one relapses and suddenly spikes the amount of substance within the body.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms During Detox
Alcohol withdrawal is a serious condition that requires knowledge of the impact on bodily systems. While alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, there are some common experiences that many people going through detox experience:
More severe symptoms of alcohol detox for people who have used large amounts of alcohol for a long period of time can include:
- High blood pressure
Medications for Withdrawal Symptoms
Detox is a challenging process, but there are alcohol withdrawal medications that can help reduce the impact of these symptoms. For the prevention of seizures during detox, intramuscular lorazepam is sometimes given.
Carefully dosed levels of benzodiazepines can also be administered during medical detox to prevent severe detox symptoms. Further, the use of diazepam has been found useful as a general preventative during withdrawal and is often given every few hours to stay ahead of the acute symptoms of detox.
Treating an Alcohol Addiction After Detox
Alcohol addiction treatment is the next step after the detox process. Because addiction can manifest in so many different ways, a comprehensive recovery program can help navigate the process of recovery and help protect from relapse.
Programs such as alcohol rehab in Columbus, Ohio offer professional treatment and preparation for a transition back into a life of sobriety. The Recovery Village in Columbus provides a supportive atmosphere for recovery and skills to maintain sobriety after discharge. The journey of recovery begins with the decision to commit to your health and wellness. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to one of our trained professionals today and learn about your options.
- Kattimani, Shivanand; Bharadwaj, Balaji. “Clinical management of alcohol withdrawal: A systematic review.” The National Institutes of Health, July-December 2013. Accessed August 29, 2019.
- Hartney, Elizabeth, Ph.D. “What Are the Risks of Quitting Substance Use Cold Turkey?” Verywellmind.com. July 1, 2019. Accessed August 29, 2019.
- Jesse, S., Brathan, G., Ferrara, M., et al. “Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: mechanisms, manifestations, and management.” onlinelibrary.wiley.com. September 1, 2016. Accessed September 13, 2019.
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” Harvard Medical School. April 2019. Accessed April 12, 2021.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.