Author: James Anderson

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? Timeline and More

detoxification in alcoholism

Others may include complete medical monitoring with doctors and nurses available at all hours. Your doctor can assess your individual needs based on your substance use and personal medical history to create an individualized detox plan that works best for you. They can also monitor you and your withdrawal symptoms around the clock and offer assistance.

  1. Your doctor, practice nurse, or local drug and alcohol unit may provide ongoing support when you are trying to stay off alcohol.
  2. Detoxing by yourself can sometimes be dangerous and is not generally recommended.
  3. “Cold turkey“ is a term used to describe the decision to abruptly stop using a substance.
  4. If you are addicted to alcohol, pills, or illegal drugs, the first step toward recovery is detox.
  5. You should certainly go to the emergency room (ER) anytime you’re having serious withdrawal symptoms like difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, or seizures.
  6. Most people with mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal don’t need treatment in a hospital.

This may seem like the easiest and cheapest way to detox, but quitting cold turkey can have serious health risks. Some substances are too strong to stop cold turkey without supportive medication. Detoxing on your own without medical support can sometimes be dangerous. Talking over possible strategies and approaches to detoxing with your doctor can be an important first step in recovery. If you have a longer history of substance use, the detox process can potentially be very harmful if you detox too quickly or the withdrawal symptoms become too severe. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain.

If you have alcohol use disorder and want help, a healthcare provider can guide you to resources and rehabilitation programs to help you quit. Know that your provider will be there to support you, not to judge you. The main ways to prevent alcohol withdrawal are to avoid alcohol altogether or to get professional help as soon as possible if you think you’re developing alcohol use disorder. Your healthcare provider will recommend and encourage treatment for alcohol use disorder. Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior.

This can be a symptom of a substance use disorder and withdrawal. But treatment varies based on the severity of alcohol withdrawal and the likelihood that it could progress to severe or complicated withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can range from very mild symptoms to a severe form, known as delirium tremens. Phenibut is used in Eastern Europe for alcohol detoxification as it has sedative and anxiolytic effects. Various vitamins, especially from the B group, are often used during alcohol withdrawal treatment.

You may want to take a family member or friend along, if possible. Baclofen has been shown in animal studies and in small human studies to enhance detoxification. This drug acts as a GABAB receptor agonist and this may be beneficial. In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy.

What to expect after detox

Alcohol use disorder includes a level of drinking that’s sometimes called alcoholism. It is thought that you are less likely to go back to drinking heavily if you have counselling, or other support to help you to stay off alcohol. Your doctor, practice nurse, or local drug and alcohol unit may provide ongoing support when you are trying to stay off alcohol.

The medication simply helps you to feel better whilst your body readjusts to not having alcohol. Even after the period of ‘detox’ you may still have some craving for alcohol. So you will still need willpower and coping strategies for when you feel tempted to drink. You can still pursue therapy and support groups as you go through withdrawal. But it may be possible to detox in a hospital without going through the ER.

Alcohol withdrawal medications

Some people experience a severe form of alcohol withdrawal known as DTs. A person with this condition can have a very high heart rate, seizures, or a high body temperature. Minor withdrawal symptoms usually begin about six hours after your last drink. A person who has a long history of heavy drinking could have a seizure six hours after stopping drinking. During detox, you can experience severe withdrawal symptoms that require medical attention, like becoming dehydrated.

Attempting a major detox on your own is not typically recommended as a safe practice. Possibly the most important benefit of detoxing can be supporting your body in healing from the effects of dependency. Detoxing can take time and may require additional support from your doctor and loved ones. However, it can be a crucial first step in the journey to recovery and healing.

Consider talking with someone who has had a problem with drinking but has stopped. Other groups of people sometimes offered hospital admission for ‘detox’ include those with learning difficulties, social difficulties or lots of different illnesses. Many people who regularly drink excessive quantities of alcohol become alcohol-dependent. There is a great deal of help for people who are alcohol-dependent and want to stop drinking. In fact, an estimated one-third of people who receive treatment for alcohol issues are sober one year later, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The medicines used to ‘detox’ in specialist units are much the same as GPs prescribe. However, these units have more staff and expertise for giving support and counselling. You are likely to be prescribed vitamins, particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), if you are alcohol-dependent – especially during ‘detox’.

detoxification in alcoholism

Substances may also be more easily accessed at home than at a facility, so you may have a greater risk of using again with home detox. The length of detox generally depends on the substances, since each substance leaves your system at a different rate. You’ll likely need other treatments for related health issues. Alcohol (ethanol) depresses (slows down) your central nervous system (CNS). If you consistently consume significant amounts of alcohol, your CNS gets used to this effect.

Medical Professionals

If you do go back to heavy drinking, you can always try again to stop or cut down. Some people take several attempts before they stop drinking, or keep within the safe limits, for good. See the separate leaflet called Alcohol and Sensible Drinking.

Not all of the medications doctors use for detox are available to take on your own at home. People who detox at home (and don’t follow it with an appropriate substance abuse treatment program) may be more likely to relapse. That’s because once the drugs are out of your system, your body won’t be able to tolerate the same amount as before.

Detoxing by yourself can sometimes be dangerous and is not generally recommended. Inpatient programs are the most commonly used facilities for medically assisted detox. Your body can become used to having substances present in your system and may react strongly or cause you to feel pain when they are removed.