Written by: Nicki Hari
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: February 17th, 2023
Detoxing from alcohol is often considered one of the most testing processes, as it has the potential to significantly impact your mental and physical health. On the other hand, once you have completed your alcohol detox, you will immediately notice the psychological and physical benefits, with some of the more immediate transformations, including healthier organs, better sleep, and higher energy levels.
On this page, we will look at alcohol detoxification in more detail, exploring the ways it can affect your body, what withdrawal symptoms to expect and how to plan your own detox as safely and comfortably as possible.
What is alcohol detox?
Alcohol detox is to clear your body of alcohol through abstinence. Attempting to stop consuming alcohol suddenly and without preparation can be extremely dangerous. Most people do not realise how dangerous it is; in fact, it is possibly the most unsafe substance to withdraw from without appropriate medical intervention and support.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
If you drink heavily for weeks, months or years and abruptly stop or significantly cut back, you will experience physical and mental responses known as alcohol withdrawal symptoms. After continued use of alcohol, your central nervous system will have re-wired its functions, so when alcohol is no longer present, it will struggle to operate without the effects of alcohol.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from person to person, depending on how much you drank and for how long. If you attempt to go cold turkey or detox from alcohol alone, you may experience some of the below:
- Mood swings
- The shakes
- High blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Delirium tremens
How to stay safe during alcohol detox
To ensure your safety, you should detox from alcohol at a professional medical treatment facility. We offer a full medical detox carried out within the safe and supportive surroundings of our rehab. If you or your loved one want to stop drinking but are fearful of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, we can help to make the process as comfortable and safe as possible. Our doctors will assess each patient for signs and symptoms of alcohol dependency on admission, prescribing a substitute medication to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms.
The amount and type will depend on your tolerance levels and if there are any other substances in your system. Your general health, medical history and mental well-being are also considered factors. Our doctors are very experienced in treating individuals with addiction problems and substance dependencies, holding the relevant qualifications to back their sound knowledge, and understanding of the condition.
Detoxing from alcohol without medical assistance can be unpleasant and even life-threatening. Alcohol withdrawals kill more individuals than alcohol does itself. Get professional support when you quit drinking to ensure your safety.
The benefits of medical detox from alcohol
There are numerous benefits to having a full medical alcohol detox with us, as opposed to trying to stop your alcohol addiction on your own:
- You will receive a comprehensive medical assessment and medication prescribed by our doctor to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- We monitor you throughout your detox to ensure your safety and comfort.
- You will receive nutritious prepared meals and additional vitamins to build you up physically whilst alcohol detoxing.
- You will be in a healing environment, away from the temptation of alcohol.
- Your family will benefit from knowing you are in the safe hands of a qualified doctor and receiving professional support.
- You will be alcohol-free, allowing you to focus on recovery with a clear mind.
Alcohol detox timeline
Below you will find a brief overview of an alcohol detox and withdrawal timeline. At Primrose Lodge, you can rest assured knowing the symptoms are significantly reduced under the care of our healthcare professionals.
The first few hours…
you will experience cravings and other signs of alcohol withdrawal, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, physical sickness, nightmares and insomnia, anxiety, depression, irritability, and physical tremors.
Zero to two days…
After the first hours of alcohol addiction detox, more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms will manifest for up to 48 hours. These symptoms may include hallucinations and potentially deadly seizures. The alcohol withdrawal symptoms experienced during the first two days of detox may be life-threatening if not properly managed.
Two to seven days…
The alcohol addiction detox process can go on for several days after the manifestation of initial alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Cravings and physical discomfort will likely worsen as alcohol detox continues, and seizures may occur. The risk of these will lessen after the initial 48 hours in most cases.
What comes after alcohol detox?
After completing alcohol detoxification in our facility, we advise that you participate in comprehensive rehabilitation. While alcohol detox cares for the physical aspects of your recovery, therapeutic rehabilitation will care for the psychological side. Our rehabilitation process consists of several therapies such as counselling and behavioural therapy to identify the root causes of your addiction and help you overcome them. Rehabilitation will also teach you how to avoid triggering your need for alcohol and provide you with the tools to help you achieve long-lasting sobriety.
How long your rehab will last is dependent on several factors, but the most common length of stay is twenty-eight days. This worldwide recommended length of stay allows for the treatment of most clients to be completed, resulting in spiritual healing along with physical and mental recovery. For those with more severe alcoholism, we also run sixty and ninety-day programmes.