What You Should Know About Alcohol Detox

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available. Our Los Angeles detox center is the first step toward recovery. With full support for the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of alcohol withdrawal, you can recover in comfort and dignity at our detox facility in Woodland Hills, California.

Nova Vitae offers evidence-based treatment with a residential detox model in a home-like environment, ensuring the health and comfort of our patients throughout the process.

Is Alcohol Detox Necessary?

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the world. Currently in the United States alone, an estimated 14 million people are drinking to excess. People begin drinking for many reasons; it’s a widely accepted way to socialize, it’s a social lubricant in awkward situations, it numbs emotions and stress, and it helps some people unwind.

Over time, though, alcohol affects how neurotransmitters interact with the brain, resulting in chemical dependence. As the body develops a greater tolerance for alcohol, that dependence gets worse and can result in increasingly severe addictive symptoms. When you quit, you will go into withdrawal, which comes with its own risks.

Alcohol detox is the process of controlling this period of withdrawal, where a team of medical professionals work to manage symptoms, keep patients safe, and reduce the risk of delirium tremens.

Alcohol Withdrawal Duration, Symptoms, and Risks

Alcohol interacts with the dopamine and GABA receptors in the brain, which changes how the body processes GABA, a neurotransmitter and main inhibitory compound in the nervous system. If you indulge in regular, heavy drinking for several months or more, your body begins to produce less of both dopamine and GABA.

When you go into recovery, your body must relearn how to produce the proper amount of neurotransmitters. In the meantime, you will experience symptoms ranging from minor cold and flu symptoms (lethargy, nausea, headaches, insomnia) to dangerous seizures and delirium tremens.

The severity of these symptoms depends on the volume of alcohol consumed, duration and frequency of drinking, body weight, metabolism, and genetic factors.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms After 2-12 Hours

Symptoms begin to appear around this time, usually beginning with significant, noticeable cravings. These may be accompanied by physical sickness, shaking or tremors, irritability, anxiety or depression, rising heart rate and blood pressure, inability to sleep (insomnia), and nightmares. These symptoms will continue to worsen as the detox process progresses.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms After 1-3 Days

This is usually the most difficult and dangerous period of withdrawal symptoms. Medical monitoring is essential for heavily addicted patients. Often, medication is strongly recommended to reduce the risk of seizures. Many patients experience seizures, hallucinations, rapid heart rate (especially dangerous for people with heart problems) and a worsening of the initial symptoms. Here, about 5% of recovering patients develop delirium tremens, an alcohol withdrawal disorder marked by hallucinations, intense confusion, and seizures.

Most symptoms begin to subside after the first week. However, the process will last longer for some patients. The risk of seizures and physical discomfort gradually decrease. Medical monitoring is often still necessary to ensure no complications arise.

What Can I Expect in Alcohol Detox?

At Nova Vitae Treatment Center, alcohol detox begins with an intake process. The patient is asked about their health, medical history, history of substance use, and emotional or mental factors contributing to the addiction. Our team also screens for risk factors, looks for further complications such as co-occurring mental disorders, and helps the patient choose the treatment option best suited to their needs.

Medical Supervision

While Nova Vitae Treatment Center offers social recovery programs, it’s still important to have medical supervision, especially as the symptoms of alcohol detox intensify. Licensed nurses will be available throughout the day to assist patients.

Treatment Modalities

Alcohol detox is often difficult, requiring constant medical attention and management of side effects and complications. Having a doctor on hand to treat symptoms will improve outcomes, prevent potentially dangerous side effects, and reduce the damage caused by withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling are introduced early in the detox process to ensure each patient has the emotional support necessary to make it through withdrawal. With group treatment as well as one-on-one therapy, counseling works to give each patient the emotional and mental strength they need to make it through detox.

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, Nova Vitae can help. Our detox facility in Woodland Hills, California is a safe place to begin your journey to a healthy life.