What to Expect at Our Florida Alcohol Detox

When you are addicted to alcohol (alcoholism), life is a daily struggle. You put so much energy into holding things together, whether it be your job, your family or both. In some cases, you may feel that all hope has been lost. No matter where you are in your life right now, there is always hope! Things can and will get better once you decide to get help and begin addiction treatment with an alcohol detox program. If you’re looking for a program for alcohol detox in Florida,  Coastal Detox located in Stuart can help!

What is Alcoholism? An Overview

Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage one’s drinking habits. It is also commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control wreaking havoc and destruction in its path.

People who are struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they cannot function normally without alcohol. This can lead to a wide range of issues and impact professional goals, personal matters, relationships, and overall physical and mental health. Over time, the serious side effects of consistent alcohol abuse can worsen and produce damaging complications.

What is Alcoholism? The Facts

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. Roughly, 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. Every year, several million more begin to drink heavily. Not all binge drinkers become alcoholics, but it is a risk factor for anyone that overindulges with alcohol.

In the past year:

  • 68.6% of men over age 12 drank alcoholalcohol-recovery
  • 62.9% of women over age 12 drank alcohol
  • 24.9% reported binge drinking
  • 6.5% reported heavy drinking
  • 5.9% met the criteria for a substance use disorder (a.k.a. “alcohol abuse” or alcoholism)

What are the Effects of Alcohol and Addiction?

Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip of alcohol. While an occasional glass of wine with dinner isn’t a cause for concern (and actually holds some very positive effects when not abused), the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits can take its toll.

  • Shrinking Brain: Long term exposure to alcohol can shrink the frontal lobes of your brain.
  • Behavior Changes: Alcohol can change your typical behaviors and leave you without the mental clarity to make smart decisions.
  • Blackouts: Alcohol can interfere with how your brain makes memories. It is possible to wake up with no recollection of what you did while you were drinking, or even before.
  • Hallucinations: For people with alcohol dependence, sudden withdrawal may cause serious complications, including hallucinations.
  • Dependence: Alcohol dependence varies from person to person, so it’s hard to define. You may become physically dependent on alcohol if drinking alcohol starts to affect your ability to perform well in school or work and affects your personal relationships.
  • Slurred Speech: Slurred speech is one of the first symptoms of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Heart Damage: Chronic heavy drinking is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease.
  • Cancer: Chronic drinkers of alcohol are more likely to develop throat, mouth or esophagus cancers. Breast cancer is also more common in women who drink heavily.
  • Liver Damage: Chronic alcohol use can damage the liver and prevent it from properly removing harmful substances from the body.
  • Lung Infections: People who drink frequently have a hard time fighting off bacteria and viruses, and are more susceptible to illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia.  
  • Pancreatitis: Excessive alcohol consumption or abuse is a leading cause of chronic pancreatitis. 
  • Fatigue: Fatigue or feeling tired may be a sign of anemia, which is a possible complication of alcoholism. 

More Effects of Alcohol Abuse

  • Frequent Diarrhea: Alcohol consumption can damage your intestines, which may lead to bouts of diarrhea and stomach pains.
  • Stomach Distress: Drinking excessive amounts can lead to bloating, gas or painful ulcers. 
  • Infertility: Over a longer period of time, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may lead to infertility.
  • Birth Defects: A pregnant woman’s heavy drinking can increase a baby’s risk for several complications, including fetal alcohol syndrome and issues with mental development.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: Men who have alcohol use disorders are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction.
  • Thinning Bones: Excessive drinking increases your risk for osteoporosis or thinning bones.
  • Malnutrition: Alcohol prevents your body from properly absorbing the vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.
  • Changes in Coordination: Too much alcohol can interfere with your coordination and your ability to walk or balance. 
  • Diabetes Complications: Excessive alcohol consumption may prevent your organs from properly balancing your blood sugar levels.
  • Muscle Cramps: People who drink often experience muscle cramping, weakness and eventually, muscle death.
  • Numbness: Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet may be a sign of damage to your central nervous system.

Excessive drinking, on a single occasion or over a length of time, can lead to serious health problems, chronic diseases, and even alcohol-related death. Alcohol abuse also impacts users’ behavior, which can result in accidents and violence. The effects of alcohol addiction and alcohol addiction are grave and far-reaching. While some people can overcome this addiction on their own, most people need assistance, usually starting with an alcohol detox program. Alcohol abuse and addiction treatment programs can help end the grips of alcohol on you or a loved one.

What Are The Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

If you drink alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop, hence the need for alcohol detox centers like Coastal Detox. When you stop giving your body the substance that it craves, the physical body will begin to display signs of alcohol withdrawal giving way to symptoms of necessary alcohol detox. Alcohol detox symptoms can range from mild to serious. Mild alcohol detox symptoms show up as early as 6 hours after you put down your last glass. 

The Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal May Include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

More serious problems may arise and range from hallucinations about 12 to 24 hours after the last alcoholic drink, and seizures within the first 2 days after you stop the alcohol beverage abuse. You can see, feel, or hear things that are not really there.

That isn’t the same as delirium tremens (or DTs) as you’re likely to hear them called. Delirium tremens usually start 48 to 72 hours after you stop drinking alcohol. There are severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that include, but are not limited to, vivid hallucinations and/or delusions. Only about 5% of people with alcohol withdrawal have these symptoms. If you or a loved one display any of these symptoms, it’s time to get help. Our program for alcohol detox in Florida can help you begin and work through addiction treatment! 

The symptoms may Include:

  • Confusion
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating

If you drink alcohol only once in a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll have alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once before, you’re more likely to go through it again when you decide to call it quits meaning that an alcohol detox program like the one offered at Coastal Detox, will give you a better chance at lasting sobriety and improved mental health.

Alcohol Detox: The First Step

Alcohol detox and recovery is an intense, painful experience that is impossible for some without medically supervised help. Alcoholics and/or addicts who try to detox on their own are more likely to relapse from the pain of alcohol and/or drug withdrawal; and less likely to try to do it on their own again. That’s why treatment programs, like the alcohol detox program at Coastal Detox prescribe alcohol treatment medications to help manage symptoms of withdrawal, cravings, and potential relapse. Alcohol detox medication is not a cure for alcoholism, but several have been proven to help in addiction recovery when used as part of an overall addiction treatment program involving counseling, group therapy, and social support.

All of the prescriptions listed below have been tested to help people recovering from an alcohol use disorder and/or addiction. If sobriety has been a struggle in the past, these alcohol detox medications can assist you in achieving lasting sobriety. Each alcohol detox medication serves a different purpose and must be used during different stages of the alcohol detox. Taking them at the wrong time, inconsistently, or the wrong dosage can result in painful side effects hence the need for medically assisted alcohol detox.

Common Types of Alcohol Detox Withdrawal Drugs:

Acamprosate

This common alcohol detox drug is prescribed after alcohol has been completely removed from the body. Acamprosate can help to fight the urge to drink after alcohol detox.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety medications. People commonly use them as sedatives during alcohol detox. They can be prescribed and used during alcohol detox to relieve symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Common benzodiazepines include Xanax, Librium, Valium, and Ativan.

Disulfiram (Antabuse)

The first prescription was used to help treat alcohol use disorders during the detox phase. When Antabuse is mixed with alcohol, it causes discomfort. The idea is that the reaction will create a negative stimulus. The addict will then turn away from drinking after associating those two things together. 

Naltrexone

Naltrexone, like Acamprosate, blocks the euphoric feeling one gets from consuming alcohol. Taking this regularly after alcohol detox can stop the “high” experience of alcohol if they relapse, disassociating the feelings of positivity and alcohol addiction. This is a common first step after detox to prevent relapse.

After Alcohol Detox: Inpatient or Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

After you complete an alcohol detox program, you’ll need to decide whether an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program is best for you. Each type of program has advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to consider all facets of the recovery process as well as your own personal needs when choosing the right kind of treatment to overcome alcoholism and/or addiction. The medical professionals at Coastal Detox can assist you with coming up with the right treatment program for you after your detox. 

Inpatient Alcohol Treatment

After alcohol detox, the focus moves from allowing alcohol and/or other substances to clear from the body and stabilizing the person throughout the alcohol withdrawal process to developing the skills to stay sober long term through counseling, therapy, and education about alcoholism, addiction, and recovery.

Many people looking to find lasting recovery from alcoholism seek care in an inpatient addiction treatment program. A defining characteristic of inpatient addiction treatment is that the person resides at the facility for the duration of the addiction treatment. Most inpatient addiction treatment programs last from 28 to 90 days depending on the specific needs and preferences of the client.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment 

In contrast to inpatient alcohol treatment programs, outpatient alcohol treatment allows clients to live at home outside of treatment hours, allowing them to continue engaging with work or school and the ability to fulfill other personal and family responsibilities. Recovering alcoholics will attend group and individual therapy sessions each week, and if needed they can meet regularly with a psychiatrist for medication to manage alcohol withdrawal, cravings, and any existing mental health issues. The alcohol treatment provided in an outpatient alcohol treatment program is similar to that provided in an inpatient alcohol treatment program but is somewhat less intensive.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs – Types of Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This type of therapy helps participants become aware of unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and provides strategies to change them to healthier ones.

Contingency Management

This therapy provides specific incentives or rewards to help people develop regular behaviors such as attending therapy or maintaining sobriety.

Motivational Interviewing

This therapy works to identify and modify any feelings that might be barriers to treatment and long term sobriety.

Multidimensional Family Therapy

This type of therapy works to help families function better, especially in cases involving adolescents with drug or alcohol problems.

Getting Help at a Program for Alcohol Detox in Florida

It’s tempting to think you should handle the problem of alcohol addiction and detox on your own. We live in a society that values independence and devalues addicts’ attempts at sobriety rather than seeing it as a sign of strength. In fact, it takes far more courage and strength to reach out and ask for help. The truth is that we all need help with something at some point; detox and addiction programs are designed to help. In fact, it takes far more courage and strength to reach out and ask for help.

Deciding to abruptly stop using alcohol can be very risky. If you have been drinking for a long period of time and drinking large amounts of alcohol, you likely have become physically dependent on the substance. How long and how much drinking it takes for this to happen varies from person to person. If you have gone several hours or a day without drinking and found that you started to feel ill, perhaps sweaty, shaky and itchy, then you have a physical dependence on alcohol and a detox program can help.

When this happens, it is important to seek the help of a professional alcohol detox center located in South Florida, Coastal Detox. Quitting drinking alcohol abruptly can lead to many health complications with dangerous side effects, so it is important that you try not to alcohol detox on your own. An alcohol detox center can help you detox from alcohol safely and comfortably

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.