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Alcohol Detox Center

Alcohol Detox Center

Why You Need Medical Alcohol Detox

The goal of alcohol detoxification is to remove alcohol from your body while managing acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms (AWS). These may range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Potentially fatal symptoms brought on by delirium tremens (DTs) occur in around 5% of people going through alcohol withdrawal, but the detox process can be dangerous and extremely uncomfortable even if you don’t get the DTs. Alcohol addiction presents an especially dubious challenge. The physical dependence on alcohol is a direct result of changes that occur in the brain because of sustained, heavy alcohol use. Frequently consuming lots of alcohol can have significant effects on your brain’s delicate balance. This can lead to dangerous consequences when you stop drinking. Medical professionals recommend regular monitoring during that process. The most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within six hours after your last drink and may include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
Alcohol detox can become severe and dangerous at any time, but the most severe symptoms often happen between 24 to 72 hours after the last alcoholic beverage. It is during this period that you’re at the greatest risk of delirium tremens (DTs). This can bring on seizures, dehydration, and other dangerous symptoms.

Alcohol Medical Detox

Detox is the first step in reclaiming your life from alcohol. It’s important that you take this step under the care of healthcare professionals at a medical alcohol detox center. Alcohol withdrawal can be painful and dangerous without the help of physicians, 24/7 medical monitoring, and research-backed medications.

Signs You Need Medical Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox centers are not only for severe alcoholics. If you experience any symptoms of alcohol withdrawal after you stop drinking, you need professional help with alcohol detox. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are not always severe enough to cause delirium tremens, but there are other reasons to have medically monitored alcohol detox. Pay attention to signs that you need to get help for your substance abuse. Self-assessment is the first line of defense before negative consequences begin to make life extremely difficult. Some of these signs may be easy to recognize in yourself. Others may require an honest assessment from people who are close to you.

Do you:

  • Think about drinking alcohol several hours of the day, notably in the morning?
  • Crave alcohol whenever it is not available for consumption?
  • Have difficulty being able to stop drinking once you start?
  • Drink alcohol at inappropriate or illegal times, such as while working, at school, or while or just before driving?
  • Commit to stop drinking or decrease drinking for a while and are unable to keep your commitment?
  • Avoid events or gatherings that don’t include alcohol?
  • “Pre-game” before going out to drink more or get drunk before non-drinking events?
  • Have relationship, financial, or legal issues because of drinking?
  • Miss work, school, or other responsibilities due to drinking?
  • Need alcohol to feel normal?
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms like headache, depression, anxiety, or shakiness without alcohol?
  • Continue to drink despite negative consequences?

Answering “yes” to any one of the above questions is a sign you may have a problem with alcohol, and you need help. Even if alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, they can be severe enough to cause intense pain and discomfort both physically and psychologically.

The treatment team at an alcohol detox facility like Vogue Recovery Center can medically manage withdrawal symptoms like agitation, anxiety, and insomnia. You should know that alcohol withdrawal symptoms can become severe without notice, even if your initial symptoms are mild. Acute withdrawal may peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last drink. Though severe symptoms won’t develop in every case, medical attention is recommended to provide a more comfortable detox experience. Some symptoms are not typically dangerous but can cause extreme discomfort. Those include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Shaky hands
  • Increased heart rate

This causes many people trying to detox on their own to relapse and use alcohol to stop the discomfort.

How Does EMDR Help Addiction?

Almost 50% of people with PTSD struggle with substance use, according to some data. Using drugs and alcohol often becomes a way to cope with the symptoms of trauma, which can include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Panic
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Hopelessness
  • Anger and irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Intrusive memories
  • Health issues

Because EMDR treatments help trauma, when they’re effective, they also decreases the symptoms associated with trauma. If you’re no longer experiencing anxiety, shame, intrusive memories, and other trauma symptoms, you’ll feel less of a need to numb them with drugs and alcohol.

EMDR practice and research on its effect on substance use disorders is still new, but so far, traumatic stress studies suggest these benefits:

  • Decreased triggers to use drugs and alcohol
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improvedability to manage situations, responsibilities, difficulties, and everyday tasks
  • Lowered distress from intrusive memories
  • Eased physical symptoms linked to trauma
  • Improved resilience to stress from trauma
  • Better adherence to behavioral health and addiction treatment

What Are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Like?

If you’re alcohol dependent, there is no way to predict what alcohol withdrawal symptoms you will experience or how severe they will be. The duration, intensity, and danger of alcohol withdrawal symptoms depend on aspects like:

  • How long you’ve been drinking
  • How much you drink
  • Your physical health and make up
  • If you have co-occurring medical conditions or mental health disorders
  • If you’re abusing other substances as well

If you have been drinking heavily for a long period of time, you may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Shakiness
  • Alcohol seizures
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Clammy skin
  • Nightmares
  • Decreased appetite
  • Agitation

What Is Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

Delirium tremens (DTs) occur in the most severe cases of alcohol detox. Signs of DTs may begin one to three days after your last drink and most commonly occur in people who drink heavily for several years. Early signs of impending delirium tremens include:

  • Hand tremors
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

A medical assessment may determine the severity of alcohol withdrawal and the extent of assistance needed during alcohol detox. This assessment focuses on 10 categories to determine the potential severity of your alcohol withdrawal. They are scaled within a range of 0 to 15 or more and include:

  1. Agitation
  2. Anxiety
  3. Auditory hallucinations
  4. Headache
  5. Clouding of senses
  6. Nausea/vomiting
  7. Sudden and profuse sweating
  8. Tactile hallucinations
  9. Tremors
  10. Visual hallucinations

Each of these 10 categories is assessed on a scale ranging from:

  • 0-8
  • 8-10
  • 10-15
  • More than 15

This scale is known as the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment – Alcohol (CIWA-A). It’s used to recognize delirium tremens before the condition progresses. Sometimes symptoms of impending delirium tremens provide insufficient notice before the condition is full-blown. If you have any of these signs of delirium tremens, get medical attention and alcohol treatment right away:

  • Sudden extreme confusion
  • Severe anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excitement
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

DTs can include extreme hyperactivity, hallucinations, and even death in up to 5% of people who experience it. Although delirium tremens is a rare occurrence in alcohol detox, professionals still recommend medical attention. Alcohol detox may require benzodiazepines to counter the potential for seizures. The preferred benzodiazepines for alcohol detox at a treatment facility like Vogue Recovery Center are diazepam (Valium®) or lorazepam (Ativan®), and phenobarbital in situations where other benzodiazepines provide insufficient sedation. Only a doctor knows the safest and most effective doses of these medications for your individual health and situation.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

The alcohol withdrawal timeline is different for everyone. Withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as four hours after your last drink and continue for up to 10 days. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically peak between 10 and 30 hours, so early symptoms are likely to become more severe. You’re at higher risk for a seizure between hours 12 and 48. Not everyone who needs medical detox will experience severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is important to have medical support or enter an alcohol detox center in case this happens.


The time it takes to complete alcohol detox depends heavily on pre-existing medical conditions, severity of alcohol abuse, and co-occurring disorders.

These factors may be predictors of severe alcohol withdrawal:

  • Older age
  • Comorbid medical or surgical conditions
  • The previous occurrence of delirium tremens during detox
  • Dehydration (common in alcoholism)
  • History of seizures during previous alcohol withdrawal episodes
  • Brain trauma
  • Potassium deficiencies (especially in geriatric patients)

Most dangerous or uncomfortable alcohol withdrawal symptoms resolve after a week. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) may linger for weeks or months. These are symptoms that occur as your central nervous system continues to rebalance itself. Alcohol abuse interferes with brain chemicals responsible for:

  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Behaviors
  • Impulses
  • The functioning of body systems

That means PAWS may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

One of the reasons detoxing from alcohol can be so challenging is because alcohol abuse changes the way the brain functions and increases its dependence on alcohol. Alcohol detox alone does not reverse this effect on the brain. Recovery and sobriety are required so the brain has time to heal and re-establish balance for healthy functioning.

What Happens After Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is an essential first step to recovery from alcohol use disorders or alcoholism, but there is much work to be done after detox is complete. Behavioral treatment for alcohol abuse is the only way to ensure you won’t relapse and need detox again. Alcohol detox can be grueling for the brain and body, and the more you repeat detox episodes, the greater the risk of long-term problems or developing delirium tremens.

Millions of people who were addicted to alcohol are in recovery today, proving that sobriety is possible. Alcohol and drug rehab provide a myriad of tools and supports that empower people to stay sober. Some of these tools include:

  • Individual therapy to identify and address underlying traumas and challenges that may have contributed to your alcohol abuse
  • Identifying triggers around people, places, and emotions to prevent relapse
  • Learning how to cope with stress, disappointment, trauma, and loss without turning to alcohol
  • Identifying safe places and people that support your sobriety
  • Understanding how alcohol abuse and alcoholism have changed your brain and how you can help it to heal holistically
  • Learning and adopting healthy and nutritious lifestyle habits and choices
  • Exposure to support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous

These tools help lay the groundwork for recovery. Although they may seem like common sense steps, learning to apply them to your life takes guidance and practice.

The treatment of drug and alcohol use disorders falls under different levels of care. These include inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab options:

Treatments for alcohol use disorders may include several approaches that help you change dysfunctional thinking patterns, uncover the reasons why you abuse alcohol, and develop healthy coping skills. Approaches and therapies for treating alcoholism may include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Trauma therapies like EMDR
  • Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Holistic therapies like yoga and mindfulness
  • Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Fitness and nutrition

Alcohol Detox at Vogue Recovery Center

At Vogue Recovery Center you will undergo withdrawal and detox in a home-like treatment center where medical professionals are with you around the clock. Our physicians will prescribe treatment medications as appropriate to ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Nurses will regularly assess your vital signs and comfort level.

Our experienced treatment team has helped thousands of clients safely and comfortably eliminate alcohol and drugs from their bodies and receive the addiction treatment needed for long-term recovery. Here, you will feel safe, supported, and cared for as you begin a new chapter of your life.

Alcohol detox at Vogue includes:

  • Physical exams and mental health assessments to determine appropriate alcohol detox protocol
  • Round-the-clock monitoring and support from an experienced detox team
  • Medical oversight by a physician
  • Research-backed medications to ease withdrawal symptoms
  • A home-like setting with comfortable furniture, pleasing decor, and welcoming common areas
  • Personalized addiction treatment plan following alcohol detox

We not only provide 24-hour medical assistance during and after detox, but we also provide an exclusive and customized treatment program in an enjoyable and comfortable environment. Your customized alcohol detox and alcohol rehab treatment plan will address your clinical needs, goals, and preferences so you have a recovery plan that fits your life.

Take the First Step to Recovery Today

You can do this, and we can help. It’s time to stop letting alcohol control your life. If you or a loved one is struggling, call us today to learn more about alcohol detox center and alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs.


Jessica Elbe

Medically Reviewed by Jessica Elbe, LCSW

Trusted & Accredited Addiction Treatment Centers

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