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Alcohol Detox Guide

Do I need Alcohol Detox?

A common misunderstanding among Americans today is that if they are able to maintain a mostly normal level of functioning in life, they don’t need help for alcohol abuse. However, the fact that a person is able to keep their job, family, and social commitments going while drinking daily or binge drinking should never be one’s criteria for success.

Among problem drinkers, alcohol is consumed in different ways. Drinking too much or too frequently is dangerous and can be a precursor for or evidence of addiction. Binge drinking and daily drinking are both common forms of an alcohol use disorder.

Any person who problem drinks daily should consider a medical detox. For those who drink less frequently or tend to binge drink may not need a full medical detox. At The Ridge, we are trained to identify the need for various types of detox and can help you get into the right level of care based on your needs. Give us a call and we will help you make the best decision.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

When an individual is dependent on alcohol, stopping drinking for even a few hours can cause an onset of withdrawal symptoms. An alcoholic will face symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, and anxiety which worsen for the first few days of recovery. If the person continues to abstain from alcohol, he or she can potentially suffer from hallucinations, seizures, and other serious side effects. For this reason, alcohol detox should never be attempted alone or without consulting a physician. In order for a person to safely detox from alcohol, they must be evaluated by a professional to determine the level of care they require.

The initial phase of getting clean from alcohol is actually the admissions and assessment process. This step should not be underestimated because it helps treatment providers understand the individual and his or her need and allow them to determine the best way to help the person. Depending on the results of the assessment, a person might be referred to a hospital setting to help manage the most severe symptoms of withdrawal and keep the person comfortable. Others, due to their alcohol abuse history, are found to be less dependent on alcohol and can safely detox with support at a regular inpatient program.

The admissions process helps treatment centers connect clients with the right kind of care. Too much care and supervision can cause frustration and lack of commitment among the client. Too little can put the person in danger. It is important during the admissions process that clients are honest and open about their drinking, the challenges they are facing, and any other substances they have been using in order to help treatment providers get a real understanding of the problem.

Early Withdrawal: Up to 12 Hours Post Alcohol

The first signs of alcohol withdrawal usually begin to show about 6 to 8 hours after the last drink. As the person’s blood alcohol level drops, they will begin to feel shaking, nausea, and insomnia. Anxiety will begin to set in, as well as abdominal pain and body aches, during which time the person might panic and want to drink. These symptoms are similar to a hangover but at a more severe level.

Phase one of alcohol detox spans 6 to 12 hours after the last drink. It is categorized by:
Early Withdrawal: Up to 12 Hours Post Alcohol

  • A headache due to dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting due to an increase in production of stomach acid and irritation of the lining of the stomach
  • Insomnia because alcohol disrupts the natural stages of sleep, causing deep sleep early on and wakefulness later
  • Excessive sweating due to dilated blood vessels and increased heart rate
  • Shaking due to a sudden rush of brain activity that the body can’t keep up with
  • Anxiety because of a disruption in brain neurotransmitters and cravings

Mid Withdrawal: 12-72 Hours Post Alcohol

During the next 12 to 72 hours, the individual faces other symptoms which are more dangerous than during the first phase. The continual rise in blood pressure and body temperature, irregular heart rate, and confusion can set in at the beginning of mid withdrawal. The individual will continue to become dehydrated and may struggle with a loss of appetite and resulting malnutrition. This is when the most serious side effects of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens, or DTs, occur.

 

Phase two of alcohol detox spans 12 to 72 hours after the last drink. It is categorized by:

  • Low blood sugar caused by the sudden elimination of the sugar found in alcohol as well as malfunction of the liver
  • Hallucinations caused by a flood of dopamine, low blood sugar, and vitamin deficiency
  • Mood swings because of changes in hormone levels in the brain
  • Seizures – 4% of people withdrawing from alcohol experience grand mal seizures one to two days after quitting, which are caused because of a depletion of nutrients, dehydration, and insomnia
  • Delirium tremens – 4 % of people withdrawing from alcohol experience this rapid onset of extreme confusion, seizures, tremors, increased heart rate, and hallucinations, which are due to sudden changes in brain functioning.

 

Treatment and Symptom Management 

In order to ensure patient safety, the recovering alcoholic must be monitored closely during the days after alcohol detox begins. Medications can help manage insomnia, dehydration, nausea, and seizures. Tranquilizers like benzodiazepines are used to calm the brain and reduce over-activity. Other medications can be used to manage blood pressure, heart rate and reduce cravings and other symptoms. Nutritious supplements and healthy meals help regulate the mind and body and aid in recovery.

Post Withdrawal: 2 Weeks to 1 Year Post Alcohol

After the individual has safely gone through the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, they can begin to focus on the emotional symptoms, which are the most noticeable in the post-withdrawal phase. Lasting from two weeks to one year after alcohol use, post-withdrawal is the period of time in which therapy and rehab should be utilized.

While the individual will be happy that they have successfully detoxed from alcohol and are on their way to a healthier, sober life, the challenges are not over yet. The person must deal with cravings to drink, triggers to revert back, and changes in brain chemistry as the body and mind continue to adjust to functioning without alcohol. During this time, therapy and counseling to manage the emotional side effects are vital. Anxiety, depression, and continued cravings are common side effects of post-withdrawal, but as the person learns about the disease of addiction, is able to heal physically, and feels comfortable talking with their therapists, they will learn coping skills and ways to deal with cravings and regulate mood.

Rarely: Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Those who continue to feel severe effects caused by alcohol withdrawal in the weeks and months after detox suffers from Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). These symptoms often show up unexpectedly, but they are relatively common.

Symptoms of PAWS:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble with memory
  • Sensitivity to stressful situations

Long Term Care

At this time in a person’s recovery, they should continue talking to their therapist and participate in support group sessions. Medications can also be used during this time such as Disulfiram, which causes extreme nausea if the person drinks, makes drinking undesirable. Anti-depressants and sleep help control anxiety and help the person sleep.

The further out from detox the person gets, the less severe their symptoms will be and the better they will begin to feel. Setbacks should be expected, however, as with all recovery experiences. With the help of a trusted treatment center like The Ridge and participation in support groups, the process of rebuilding one’s life of sobriety will get easier over time.

Binge Drinking. Binge drinking is the act of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a relatively short period of time. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, although it is still a form of alcohol abuse, and it can easily lead to addiction.

We’ve all seen the results of binge drinking. The individual quickly becomes intoxicated and unable to control their actions, leading to a host of consequences. Drunk driving, unsafe sex, falls, injuries, poor judgment calls, trouble with the law, and domestic violence are all associated closely with binge drinking. Binge drinkers are also at risk for alcohol poisoning and even death because of high levels of alcohol in the body. Not only does binge drinking lead to serious immediate threats to one’s health and the well-being of those around them, but studies also show binge drinking has long-term effects as well.

Binge drinking statistics according to the CDC:

  • Adults (ages 18+): 15.1 million adults ages 18 and older (6.2 percent of this age group) had an alcohol use disorder. This includes 9.8 million men (8.4 percent of men in this age group) and 5.3 million women (4.2 percent of women in this age group).
  • About 6.7 percent of adults who had an alcohol use disorder in the past year received treatment. This includes 7.4 percent of males and 5.4 percent of females with an alcohol use disorder in this age group.
  • Youth (ages 12–17): An estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 (2.5 percent of this age group) had an alcohol use disorder. This number includes 298,000 males (2.3 percent of males in this age group) and 325,000 females (2.7 percent of females in this age group).
  • About 5.2 percent of youth who had an alcohol use disorder in the past year received treatment. This includes 5.1 percent of males and 5.3 percent of females with an alcohol use disorder in this age group

Daily Drinking. Another form of alcohol abuse is frequent drinking. Those who daily drink don’t always binge drink, although they sometimes do. These individuals get used to having a certain level of alcohol in their system at all times and must drink daily in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Daily drinkers often pride themselves on being functioning adults – they maintain their careers, they volunteer in the community, and they fulfill most family and household duties. They might even be viewed by co-workers and loved ones as successful and accomplished. However, these daily drinkers are addicted to alcohol and need help. Functioning alcoholics live in denial that they need help and for the most part feel pretty secure in their lives and abilities. However, given time, the addiction begins to catch up with them and things start to unravel.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2015 NSDUH:

  • An estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 (2.5 percent of this age group) have an alcohol use disorder. This number includes 298,000 males (2.3 percent of males in this age group) and 325,000 females (2.7 percent of females in this age group) (SAMHSA).
  • 62 percent of underage high school seniors been drunk at some point.
  • Youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and four times more likely to develop a dependence on the drug.
  • An estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 18 live with a parent who struggles with alcoholism.

Long-term effects of substance use disorders (binge drinking and daily drinking):

  • Brain damage
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Addiction

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Those who drink large amounts of alcohol or do it frequently build up a tolerance to their substance. They require more alcohol to feel the same effects, and in turn, can consume more alcohol without it seeming to affect them.

Both binge drinkers and daily drinkers can be considered to have an alcohol use disorder. Both can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking, although this is less common among binge drinkers who go days or weeks between binges. Binge drinkers become used to the hangovers and the day-after-drinking feeling. Daily drinkers, on the other hand, become uncomfortable within the first 8 to 12 hours of stopping drinking, which is usually enough to make them start drinking again.

In this way, life continues for the alcoholic – they go about their daily lives, but do so while under the influence, which leads to loss of productivity, changes in mood, irritability, anxiety, and other consequences. When they try to stop drinking, they face alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • A headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure

The Ridge Can Help

The Ridge is a residential treatment facility that helps those struggling with alcohol use disorders. Our program has earned the Joint Commission seal of approval and we offer the highest quality of care in a high-end treatment facility.

Alcohol Assessments and Determining Your Level of Care

The question remains: Do I need alcohol detox? The simple test is to attempt to go 30 days without drinking. If you can’t abstain for one month because you can’t resist the urge to drink or because of the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, you need help. Professional alcohol detox is available to help you safely withdraw from alcohol so that you can emerge from the control of this addiction and get back to the life you once enjoyed. Alcohol detox at a trusted facility will do more than help you get clean. It will help you develop the skills and resources necessary to remain sober.

Consider taking a self-assessment to honestly look at your level of drinking and determine your need for treatment. A good test can be found at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence’s website.

If you’ve determined you have an alcohol abuse problem, and once you’ve admitted you need professional detox, the first step is to contact a treatment facility and go through their professional assessment process. An assessment will help determine the level of care you require to safely recover. At The Ridge, our team of physicians and treatment providers conducts assessments on all incoming clients, in order to determine their needs and create a treatment plan.

Non-Medical Detox vs. Medical Detox

Not everyone requires the same level of care for alcohol treatment. Sometimes the individual can recover through an outpatient program aided by counseling and support group participation. Others need supervised detox at an inpatient facility that offers structure and supportive care. Still, others require medical detox or even detox in a hospital setting where they are monitored closely by a team of medical experts and treated with medication and supportive care to ensure safety.

The Ridge is a premier drug and alcohol rehab center. We provide medication-assisted alcohol detox and partner with medical facilities for those in need of a higher level of care and monitoring during detox. We take our clients’ safety seriously, which is why we conduct assessments on our clients prior to enrolling them in an alcohol detox program.

Non-Medical Detox

Some people who struggle with an alcohol abuse disorder are dependent on alcohol and have trouble stopping drinking, but they are able to get sober with the right support and resources. When non-medical detox is sufficient the individual can recover with a low level of supervision.

For those with mild levels of alcohol dependence, it is still important to cleanse the mind and body during recovery. The person will first of all need to eliminate alcohol from their system. This is always somewhat taxing, and it is vital that the individual focus on healthy eating, drinking plenty of water, getting moderate amounts of exercise, and reserving time for rest and sleep. Taking care of one’s body while withdrawing from a substance will make the person feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally, and will help ensure success.

If you enroll in an alcohol treatment program like the one at The Ridge, we help the cleansing process by providing nutritious meals prepared by our on-site chefs, by offering recreational activities and opportunities for exercise, and by taking care of everyday living tasks so you can eliminate the stress in your life and focus on getting better.

Another aspect of non-medical detox is the cleansing of the mind and renewal of one’s emotional state of being. When the body begins to heal and the pressures and factors that cause anxiety are removed, the mind begins to heal as well. Yoga, meditation, counseling, and therapy all facilitate the healing of the mind and are all components of an effective treatment program.

If you find you are able to recover without medical detox, The Ridge is here to help. We offer different levels of care in order to support those with different needs. Our residential and outpatient programs consist of detox support, therapy and counseling sessions, support groups, and relapse prevention. We accommodate all types of needs and offer confidential care for those in need of a higher level of privacy.

Medical Detoxification

Medical detox is necessary for many who want to get clean from alcohol addiction. Alcohol abuse is extremely taxing on the body, and alcohol dependence is dangerous during and after drinking. Like other substances, withdrawing from alcohol causes basic symptoms like a headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and irritation.

In some cases, especially among those who have abused alcohol at high levels for an extended period of time, detoxing from alcohol is actually dangerous. For these individuals, withdrawal should not be attempted alone. Serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include delirium tremens, which is categorized by severe confusion, seizures, increased heart rate, and hallucinations, and can lead to serious complications and even death.

The Ridge works with hospitals and partner facilities to ensure each of our clients is kept safe during detox. We refer clients to these facilities for medical detox, after which time they can return to our program for ongoing care and rehab. For those who are able to participate in our residential detox treatment program, we offer around-the-clock supervision, medication-assisted withdrawal, and physician directed treatment. Because of our comprehensive assessment process, families can trust their loved one is receiving the care they require to safely detox from alcohol.

medical alcohol detox

The Importance of Treatment after Detox

Alcohol detox is the first step toward addiction recovery, but it is only the beginning. An effective treatment program will also provide therapy and support for long-term success.

Detox, or the process of cleansing the body of the effects of alcohol, can take a few days to a few weeks. During this time, the individual will experience intense cravings for alcohol and will likely face the temptation to quit and go back to drinking. This is why therapy and support are so important during detox and afterward. Those who detox at a professional facility will enjoy the benefits of a staff that are encouraging and are attentive and are able to begin therapy to help the person in recovery understand their addiction and ways to manage the challenges they are facing.

Emotional and psychological support is so important during the difficult days of detox, and it is also vital once the person is clean and wanting to get back to their life again. Those who rush back home to their regular lives immediately after alcohol detox find it difficult to cope with the pressures of life and the triggers to drink. On the other hand, those who continue on with rehab after detox can work on building coping skills and developing a long-term plan that will assist in their sobriety.

Finding the Right Level of Care 

The level of care is an important factor to consider when choosing an alcohol rehab program. Some people are able to remain sober while living at home and with the support and therapy offered at an intensive outpatient treatment program. These individuals can go back to their jobs and families but return to rehab daily or a few days a week for ongoing therapy, counseling, and other programs. Outpatient treatment is a good option for those who have a strong support system at home and those who are committed to attending sessions regularly and remain sober while away from treatment.

Other individuals have a more serious addiction to alcohol and require a higher level of care. These people would revert back to drinking if they tried to get back to their life right away, and will benefit from a structured, supervised program for a few weeks or months before heading home. Residential treatment is the best step after detox in these cases.

Residential Treatment is an Important Component

For many going through alcohol addiction recovery, residential or inpatient treatment is an important step down after detox. During inpatient treatment, the person will participate in regular counseling as well as individual and group therapy. These therapy sessions are the main aspect of residential care because they help the individual dissect their addiction and learn why it started in the first place and why it has continued. Based on an understanding of the disease of addiction and how it can be managed, those who participate in therapy and counseling learn how to move past addiction and live a sober life once again. With the help of residential treatment, recovering alcoholics develop ways to cope with stress and pressures without drinking, learn how to rebuild broken relationships with loved ones, and establish boundaries and tools needed to maintain their sobriety long after rehab. The added benefit of enrolling in residential treatment is it provides a structured and supervised setting in which to practice sobriety. Relapse is not an option in residential treatment because alcohol is not available to those in inpatient care.

Medicaid and Free Treatment vs. The Ridge Premium Care

There are numerous alcohol detox centers throughout the Midwest and across the country that claim to provide the best treatment for alcohol addiction. When the time comes to select a treatment program, there are various components to consider the facility and what it has to offer. For those looking to get sober, there are free programs available and facilities that take Medicaid, and these offer real hope to those who have no other options. However, if given the choice, there are major differences that should be considered between a free program and a high-end private facility like The Ridge. These differences have huge impacts on the person in recovery.

First of all, the care is different. Free or state-run programs and their staff may truly care about those they serve, but lack of funding and high numbers of clients needed to meet the budget means staff are often overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions to give clients the attention they need. A private program will have a higher staff to patient ratio, meaning you get the individualized care you require.

Secondly, the programming is often different between free and high-end programs. A free program will be more likely to provide basic therapy and care only, while privately run facilities continue to improve on techniques, keep up with the latest research, and have funding to hire additional qualified staff and offer specialty programming.

Finally, the accommodations at a high-end facility will be dramatically different than a free program. While outward appearances are not the most important factor to consider when choosing an alcohol treatment program, if you are going to invest your valuable time and energy into a program, you want to be comfortable while you are there. This is especially true when it comes to inpatient therapy. Rather than an institutionalized feel of a state-run program, you can expect a high-end treatment program to have amenities such as a private chef to prepare healthy and delicious meals, private or semi-private rooms, a fitness center, outdoor living space, high-end linens, and nicely furnished rooms and living areas.

People can and do recover at free or government funded alcohol treatment facilities, but the benefits of investing in a trusted high-end facility like The Ridge are well worth the cost. We are the premier provider of drug and alcohol treatment in the state of Ohio and our clients notice a difference in our quality of care as soon as they step into our facility.

About The Ridge Alcohol Treatment Program

The Ridge is a high-end alcohol treatment center located in Milford, Ohio. A part of the greater Cincinnati area, Milford is the perfect combination of the convenience of being close to a large city and the charm of a small town.

Location

The Ridge is situated on 51 acres of beautiful land which makes it the ideal location to enjoy nature, participate in recreational activities, and relax while recovering. Our beautiful estate allows for extensive recreational exercise, during which time clients benefit from fresh air and sunshine to help improve mood and facilitate healing.

Philosophy

The Ridge provides addiction treatment that is based on clinically proven therapies and methods. Our program is physician directed and has been developed over years of research and advancements. We believe addiction is a disease similar to diabetes or heart disease that can be managed with the right kind of help. Clients’ confidentiality is our priority, and we are able to discreetly treat executives, professionals, and others who wish for anonymity while they recover. Our licensed staff members treat each client with dignity and compassion as we help them achieve long-term sobriety.

Better Clinical Care

Our program offers the highest level of clinical care in order to ensure safety and success for our clients. Our staff includes doctors, nurses and experienced, licensed counselors. We also have a psychiatrist and trauma therapist on-staff to help clients address various mental health issues. Our program is physician designed and managed, and we are Joint Commission Accredited, an honor given only to organizations which meet the highest level of care, quality, and standards.

At The Ridge, we emphasize education for patients and families and promote relationship cohesion through our family program. We incorporate elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and 12-step programs into our group and one-on-one treatment sessions. Our staff is also experienced in utilizing other therapeutic methods such as art and music therapy.

Our Levels of Care

The Ridge offers a full continuum of care for those in need of alcohol addiction treatment. We start with medication-assisted detox or referral to a medical detox facility for the first few days of treatment. After the person has safely detoxed from alcohol, they can begin inpatient treatment at our residential facility. For a step down treatment after residential therapy, we refer clients to our sister organization, Northland Treatment Center. Finally, all clients are able to receive ongoing care for a year after rehab, in order to help solidify their recovery.

Residential

Residential treatment is the first level of care offered after detox. This is the most structured form of alcohol treatment, and during this part of recovery, we provide 24/7 supervision. We take care of all meals and details of daily living so that clients are free to focus on their sobriety and getting well. Our skilled staff is compassionate and caring, and we provide a variety of therapy types and modalities, offered in a comfortable and convenient setting. Clients in our residential program address the cause of their addiction and learn to develop the skills needed to remain sober even after returning home.

Intensive Outpatient Program

After completing residential treatment, our clients are able to step down to a lower level of care. Called intensive outpatient or outpatient therapy, we help individuals transition from The Ridge to our partner facility, Northland Treatment Center. Located just a short drive away, Northland provides the same excellent level of service and programming. During outpatient treatment, the individual is free to live at home or another location off-site and will participate in group and individual therapy sessions regularly as established in their treatment plan. Outpatient care is a good way for newly sober individuals to slowly get back to their lives and families while still benefitting from the help and support of the recovery community.

Certifications

The Ridge prides itself on offering the highest level of services and care to our clients. We are fully licensed in the state of Ohio and our team of experts is both experienced and licensed in their field. We are proud to be Joint Commission certified, setting us apart from many other treatment centers in the area.

High End Amenities and Comfort

Like a home away from home, The Ridge offers all the conveniences a person could hope for in an extended stay. Clients in our inpatient treatment program enjoy freshly prepared meals made by our on-site chefs, access to a fitness center, swimming pool, and our beautiful 51-acre estate, and comfortable bedrooms and living areas.

Clients’ safety and success are our top concerns at The Ridge. We create individual treatment plans for each and every client we serve in order to ensure their needs are being met and they are provided with the level of care they require. To learn more about our program or how to enroll, please contact us today.

If you need alcohol detox, give us a call – we can assess your situation and help you decide the best course of action.

Get Help Today! 513-804-2204