Alcohol Detox

The first step to overcoming an addiction to alcohol is getting the substance out of your body and system. This process is called detoxification.

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Treatment Center Locator

Azure Acres Recovery

Sebastopol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-872-7360

Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-614-6174

The Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-734-4364

Carus Recovery

Van Nuys, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-616-9024

Wellness Counseling & Residential Detox

Stuart, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-937-0191

Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center

Ball Ground, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-498-9407

Riverwoods Behavioral Health System

Riverdale, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-246-8017

Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-8937

Newport Institute – Northern California

Sunol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-604-7184

America’s Rehab Campuses

Tucson, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

877-484-7367

Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

866-634-7479

Northbound Treatment Services

Irvine, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

877-918-9085

Options Behavioral Health Hospital

Indianapolis, IN

Multiple Levels of Care

844-530-2836

1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

844-334-8400

Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-831-4406

The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care

202-370-7462

Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-931-1105

JourneyPure – Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Life Healing Center

Santa Fe, NM

Multiple Levels of Care

844-285-2916

Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

855-900-6613

Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-428-7940

Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

844-817-9493

United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-586-7043

Recovery First Treatment Center – Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-603-7860

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

The Recovery Team

Lake Park, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-999-2545

Steps Recovery Center

Irvine, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

877-696-0054

Enlightened Solutions

Egg Harbor City, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-408-7163

Right Path Addiction Treatment Centers

Virginia Beach, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-982-0704

Sunflower Wellness Retreat

Osawatomie, KS

Multiple Levels of Care

888-411-9183

Sierra Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-889-6553

Twelve Oaks Recovery Center

Navarre, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-885-1218

North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-870-8069

Indiana Center for Recovery

Bloomington, IN

Full Spectrum of Care

866-657-4490

MeadowWood Behavioral Health

New Castle, DE

Multiple Levels of Care

855-609-4051

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

Acadiana Treatment Center

Sunset, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-548-6273

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

Starlite Recovery Center

Center Point, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

855-349-1116

Recovery Unplugged – Austin Detox

Austin, TX

Detox

855-958-1650

Pacific Grove Hospital

Riverside, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-801-1534

Oasis Behavioral Health Hospital

Chandler, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-338-0838

New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care

844-408-1433

Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital

Tukwila, WA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-419-6205

Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

866-831-4706

Denver Recovery Center

Denver, CO

Multiple Levels of Care

855-729-4891

Harbor Oaks Hospital

New Balitmore, MI

Inpatient

866-468-6148

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center for Women

Lemont, IL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-200-8406

JourneyPure – Florida

Melbourne, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Lakeview Behavioral Health Hospital

Norcross, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-337-9509

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Bowling Green Brandywine

Kennett Square, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-797-7507

Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-275-3956

Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-638-7182

Silver Lining Recovery

Huntington Beach, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-940-0031

Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-6578

Monument – Online Treatment

, CA

Telehealth

Asana Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-899-6056

Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-283-0199

Recovery Unplugged Nashville

Nashville, TN

Full Spectrum of Care

877-463-0080

Ambrosia Treatment Center

West Palm Beach, FL

Inpatient

866-970-0918

Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-944-2609

Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-892-1288

Treasure Valley Recovery

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

855-248-2193

Recovery First Treatment Center – Hollywood

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-603-7860

Newport Institute – Southern California

Santa Ana, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-604-7184

Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab

Calistoga, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-766-4576

Northlake Behavioral Health System

Baton Rouge, LA

Full Spectrum of Care

1-866-647-1447

Delta Med Center

Memphis, TN

Outpatient

877-235-0382

Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-692-1694

Trustpoint Hospital

Murfreesboro, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

888-925-9448

Keystone Treatment Center

Canton, SD

Multiple Levels of Care

855-417-3666

Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-589-1547

The Haven Detox

West Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-409-5866

Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems

Lafayette, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-494-6620

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Westcoast

Beverly Hills, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

The Camp Recovery Center

Scotts Valley, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-282-5771

SUWS of the Carolinas

Old Fort, NC

Residential

844-811-2644

Paradise Residential

La Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-838-9980

Recovery Unplugged Austin Treatment Center

Austin, TX

Full Spectrum of Care

844-291-5968

The Refuge, A Healing Place

Ocklawaha, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-990-1029

Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA

Inpatient

855-331-2490

Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-763-3294

Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-257-1203

Burkwood Treatment Center

Hudson, WI

Residential

844-251-2961

Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-965-6726

Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care

855-336-7623

Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-539-2026

Beachside Rehab

Fort Pierce, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-452-3049

What Is Alcohol Detoxification?

Alcohol detox (or detoxification) is defined as the natural process that occurs in the body as it attempts to rid the system of waste products and toxins from excessive, long-term alcohol consumption. In a treatment setting, alcohol detox is usually accompanied by medication, medical observation, and counseling.

Detoxification is a period of medical treatment, usually including counseling, during which a person is helped to overcome physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.

- National Institutes on Health
People who have been drinking heavily for a long time are more likely to experience negative side effects during detox, some of which can be dangerous.

Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to tolerance and biological changes that create a false homeostasis. Disrupting this balance and restoring the user to a healthy state is a process that is as essential as it is delicate.

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The Process of Detoxification

Alcohol Detox Is A Critical First Step Of The Recovery ProcessAlcohol detoxification is the preparatory step before a longer treatment program. Detoxification can be safely performed at both inpatient and outpatient facilities, but round-the-clock medical monitoring is recommended for heavy users. In most cases, the detox process involves three steps:

  1. Intake. The medical team will do a comprehensive review of drug, medical and psychiatric histories of incoming patients to fully understand each situation.
  2. Medication. Many detoxification programs include medications that mimic the effects of alcohol to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Medications may also target co-occurring disorders or general discomfort.
  3. Stabilization. The patient undergoes medical and psychological therapies to help them reach a balance of mind and body.

Side Effects of Alcohol Detox

Although medically-assisted detox limits some of the negative side effects the user experiences, some are unavoidable. Generally different side effects will appear during the two phases of alcohol detox.

Phase 1: During Acute Withdrawal

Phase 1 occurs within hours of an alcoholic ceasing consumption of alcohol and continues for days or weeks. This is generally when the most severe side effects occur, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Whole body tremor
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Profuse sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Hypertension
  • Heart failure

Phase 2: During Early Abstinence

The second and longer phase of alcohol detox occurs over months as the brain slowly begins to regulate and get back to normal functioning. This is called Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom and includes symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Diminished appetite
  • Mood-swings
  • Depression

Drugs Used in Alcohol Detox

Part of the detox process includes keeping the patient’s system in balance and avoiding major physiological upsets. Sometimes medications are necessary to do this. Benzodiazepines, including Librium, Valium, and Ativan, are commonly used for alcohol treatment because they reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms and also prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures. Seizures are one of the most common causes of fatality in alcohol withdrawal, so additional anti-convulsant drugs, such as Keppra, are often used as well.

While benzodiazepines have been proven effective in treating or preventing certain symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it is imperative that a recovering alcoholic only use medically recommended amounts of the drugs. Benzodiazepines are addictive substances in their own right, and use should be closely monitored.

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Dangers of Detoxing Alone

Especially in the cases of long-term alcohol abusers, detoxing cold turkey can be dangerous and even fatal. Although rare, some of the severe side effects of alcohol detox include:

  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Kidney or liver dysfunction
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Intense cravings
  • Extreme nausea
  • Hallucinations

It is always recommended to seek medical attention for an alcohol detox to mitigate these side effects.

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Life After Alcohol Detox

Detox is merely the first step of treatment for people trying to overcome their alcohol addiction. Ridding the body of alcohol will not cure alcoholism, it clears the mind and heals the body so that a person suffering from alcohol addiction may pursue full treatment. To find out more about alcohol detox and your treatment options, contact a dedicated treatment provider today.

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