Having a drink is something a lot of people do after a long day of stressful work or errands. That’s not a problem, usually, but the constant need for alcohol to fuel you, to take care of your responsibilities, or to get through the day is another story. When your system needs alcohol to function, it is time to consider alcohol detox. It may seem like a drastic measure, but once you have lost control over drinking, its time to do something about it.
Detox is not a treatment, only a prelude or first step toward getting better. In detox, you just stop drinking alcohol. As your body uses up the traces left in your system, it goes through withdrawal. This is a sign that you are dependent on alcohol, maybe addicted. The withdrawal pains cause some to resume drinking, to abuse alcohol, but that will only make quitting harder later on.
Withdrawal is psychologically and physically uncomfortable. Alcohol is so addictive that stopping abruptly without professional help can even turn deadly. To move forward with your recovery and live a healthy life, a medically monitored detox might be necessary.
Learn About the Alcohol Detox Process
Do I Need an Alcohol Detox Program?
Alcohol detoxification is only possible once individuals recognize they have a problem and want to get better. If they can’t or won’t, then intervention by friends and family may be needed.
If you need alcohol to feel normal, you should seek help. If you can’t go a day without several alcoholic beverages, you should seek help. If waking up with a hangover or experiencing blackouts is common, you should seek help.
You may think you can detox at home, that all you need is willpower, but that is not always a safe option with alcohol. Suddenly stopping your alcohol consumption (cold turkey) is not recommended. The sudden shock to the system can be fatal. Enrolling in an alcohol detox program provides you with needed medical support as you go through withdrawal.
What Happens During Detox?
Here’s what you can expect during alcohol detox.
Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal
Staying away from alcohol is good for your health but stopping abruptly after drinking heavily for years is not safe. Tolerance for alcohol increases over time, requiring larger quantities just to stave off withdrawal, and even larger ones to feel alcohol’s desired effects. They no longer have the option to stop; they do need to have a drink to function.
Most of the alcohol you take in is broken down in the liver, metabolized, and leaves your body through urine, sweat, and saliva. If you drink about one standard drink per hour, you will feel happy and relaxed because some neurotransmitters in the brain are suppressed. This causes the good feeling.
More than one drink per hour, however, is more than your body can metabolize. More enters the bloodstream and goes to the heart, the brain, and other organs, causing symptoms of drunkenness such as difficulty walking, slurred speech, and memory gaps.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
The withdrawal process begins when a person stops drinking. When the liver metabolizes ethanol, and the substance moves through the individual’s systems, the symptoms will start to show. It only takes 30 minutes to two hours for the body to ingest a serving of alcohol into the bloodstream. Between 12 to 24 hours after consumption, the alcohol can still be detected in the urine.
The alcohol withdrawal timeline begins eight hours after the last intake. Symptoms like shaking may be evident. Between 24 to 72 hours, the symptoms peak. People can experience hallucinations. Cardiac arrest is a possibility. Delirium can also take place.
Symptoms may start to get better after five to seven days, but psychological effects may continue without treatment. Talk to an Intake Coordinator
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Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin once alcohol is out of the system. The symptoms can be psychological, physical, or both.
Withdrawal from alcohol disrupts the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that is related to the production of feelings. The GABA helps in the production of endorphins that cause a sense of well-being. Taking too much alcohol can cause GABA imbalance, resulting in:
- Heart palpitations
Alcohol also affects dopamine, which is linked to the body’s reward system. When the body develops a high tolerance to the substance, the brain is more dependent on alcohol to get feel-good neurotransmitters. When the person stops drinking, dopamine production also stops, causing withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Mood Swings
Alcohol Detox Process
Detoxification aims to make sure that the person’s system returns to normal following extended use and abuse of alcohol. Individuals who have been drinking heavily for a long time can experience intense, even life-threatening side effects during detox.
This makes it crucial to have a medical professional carefully monitor and supervise your journey to sobriety to determine if medications or other life-saving interventions are needed.
Here’s what to expect when entering an alcohol detox center:
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Types of Programs
After the alcohol detox process, the rehabilitation program can begin. follows. There are two types of programs: outpatient and inpatient.
Outpatient programs are popular because they are less disruptive to a person’s life or routine. It’s like a doctor’s appointment: you go to the center for treatment, then go on about your day, whether school, work, or home. The outpatient option is attractive if you can’t leave your responsibilities behind for about 30 days, but it has its downsides.
Returning home while in treatment is risky if your home life wasn’t supportive and positive because it exposes you to the same environment in which you drank excessively. People, places, and situations can trigger a relapse and may have even caused the initial drinking.
Mountain Springs Recovery specializes in inpatient rehab. Since you stay in the rehab center for the 30 days or more of treatment, there are no distractions or temptations, fewer triggers, and psychotherapy and other forms of care are available around the clock. You are entirely removed from the environment where alcohol is available. This gives you at least 30 days to understand your condition and yourself and focus on recovery.
Providing accommodations, food, therapy sessions, and amenities generally increase the cost. Check with Mountain Springs Recovery for more information.
How to Choose a Program
There are many alcohol treatment centers in Colorado, so selecting the one that best fits you can feel overwhelming. You need a center that offers a program you can afford that has a high success rate as well as licensed and highly-qualified staff. To narrow it down, make a list of the things you need.
If you have a co-occurring physical or mental health disorder, you need services for that as well. If not treated, they can interfere with your recovery process.
Another consideration is your support network. If you have been struggling with alcohol abuse disorder for quite some time and do not receive much support, then an inpatient program is more beneficial.
Some other considerations are the following:
- Insurances accepted
- Services offered
- Sample treatment plan
- Relapse prevention mechanisms
At Mountain Springs Recovery, we closely work with you so you can get the care that you deserve.
Choosing Mountain Springs for Your Alcohol Detox Treatment
You cannot just trust your life to anyone. You need to go to a treatment facility you can trust.
In Colorado, the best place to seek detox is in Mountain Springs Recovery. We are here to help you. We know alcohol rehab is an uncomfortable process, but we make it as comfortable and effective as possible.
We specialize in providing a treatment plan and detox designed for your individual needs. Whether 12-step, non-12 step, dual diagnosis, or other courses of treatments, we’ve got you covered. That capacity makes us the best facility in all of Colorado.
Mountain Springs Recovery strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
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