Alcohol Detox: The Right Thing to Do, but Dangerous to Do Alone

The Recovery VillageAddiction

Doctor and patient discuss alcohol detox remedies

If you are battling an addiction to alcohol and wish to stop, detox is your first step in the process.

Your body needs to eliminate all traces of alcohol in order for it to start healing, and detox is the initial phase of treatment in rehab.

There is a note of caution, however. Going through detox on your own and quitting “cold turkey” is both ineffective and dangerous. That is because the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detox can be so uncomfortable and even painful that the odds of using again are rather high.

What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Many people who are addicted to alcohol and experience these symptoms when trying to quit on their own revert back to drinking in an effort to get rid of troubling symptoms, which can include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Sweating

Symptoms can become much more painful and dangerous and can include delirium tremens (DTs), which can make alcohol detox a hazard to your health if you choose to go it alone.

Why is Alcohol Detox Dangerous Without Medical Intervention?

Delirium tremens – or “DTs” – can occur when the body is suddenly cut off from heavy alcohol consumption. DTs is a psychotic condition that can cause tremors, convulsions, hallucinations, anxiety, disorientation, and even heart failure. The condition is more common in people who have been drinking heavily for at least 10 years who suddenly stop.

Sad man holding a glass of liquor

Detoxing on your own can exponentially increase the chances of starting to drink again.

The symptoms of DTs can creep up within a couple days after alcohol consumption has stopped and can last as long as a couple of weeks in more severe cases. Delirium tremens is extremely uncomfortable and dangerous, and can also be fatal. In fact, between five to 15 percent of people who experience DTs die from it.

While detoxing from alcohol is a crucial first step in the rehabilitation process, treating it should be done in a medically supervised environment to minimize any complications and ease the symptoms that typically come with it.

What Happens During Alcohol Detox in a Rehab Facility?

During alcohol detox, the body is cleansed of all traces of alcohol. This typically takes between one week to 10 days to complete. It is important to know that alcohol detox is not treatment, but rather the first step to recovery.

A detox program provides you with the medical support needed to guide you through withdrawal symptoms and get yourself ready for rehab. Alcohol detox typically includes medication therapy to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that are common with detox as well as specific care for any co-occurring mental health conditions.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, detox can last a few days or a couple of weeks. It is important to stick with detox in a medically supervised facility in order to increase the odds of success. With help, you will be more likely to see the process through.

Detox programs typically involve an initial intake exam to determine the type of support you will need. You will likely have a physical exam performed and have blood work taken. From there, you can expect to receive ongoing detox support, which often includes medicine to help you get through withdrawal symptoms.

Once you have made it through detox, you will receive support in entering into an Ohio addiction treatment program to overcome your addiction and learn the tools needed to live life without the need to drink.

Being addicted to alcohol is like being a slave to the substance. With the right treatment program, you can successfully overcome your addiction and lead a fulfilling life without being tied to alcohol or any other drug.

Call The Recovery Village today to learn about admission to detox and treatment programs.

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.