How Long Does Alcohol Detox Last?
Alcohol detox looks different for every patient. Depending on the severity of the addiction, it can take days, weeks, or even months to fully detox from alcohol. Our staff at Coastal Detox is willing to handle whatever level of addiction you are facing. We are here to help even the most extreme cases of alcoholism.
What Are Some Influential Factors of Alcohol Detox Length?
Further complicating alcohol detox is the fact that it all depends on a combination of different factors. The most important factor that can affect the length of treatment is the extent of alcohol dependence. Upon arrival at our facility, we will evaluate the current mental and emotional state of each patient. This will allow us to understand some of the possible underlying causes of their addiction.
Once your evaluation is complete, we will be able to detect other mental, behavioral, or physical health conditions that may be present. These can have a major impact on the length of the detox process. Other factors that can influence how long alcohol lasts include your age, weight, and the overall level of health.
Length of Time Varies for Every Patient
Every person’s body is different. There is no way to know for sure how long the detox process will take. This is because the length of overcoming physical and mental symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is different for everyone. An individual who is facing a mild alcohol addiction could complete detox in a couple of days. Comparatively, an individual with extreme alcoholism could take months to fully detox.
Most individuals usually complete the first part of the detox process in 7 to 10 days. This is typically the amount of time it takes for the body to fully rid itself of alcohol. Alcohol detox takes around 10 days to complete, but many people choose to enter rehab for anywhere from 30 to 90 days. This allows them to fully overcome all of the mental and emotional effects that go along with getting sober.
What Does Alcohol Detox Look Like?
Detoxification is the process of ridding the body of alcohol over a period of time. Alcohol detox can seem scary from the outside. Because it is the first step that individuals take towards sobriety, it can be the most difficult part. At Coastal Detox, we aim to make it as comfortable as possible for all of our patients.
What to Expect
A typical day in detox is under a strictly mandated schedule. Our certified physicians will evaluate every patient before the detox begins. After the initial evaluation, they will then devise a specific plan of action for each detox. Since some cases will be more critical than others, each plan will be different. Some patients will only need to be slowly weaned off the alcohol for a couple of days. They will then move on to therapy within one of our residential treatments.
Those that are facing more severe cases of addiction will go through a more extensive detox process. Their withdrawal symptoms will often be worse than those with mild addictions. Since these symptoms can be so uncomfortable, different medication is used to help the individuals cope. Some medications that can be used include:
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are used during detox to help calm down a patient’s nervous system. Both short and long-acting benzos are used to help the alcohol detox process. The most common types of benzos prescribed are Librium and Valium. This type of medication can be used to also help interrupted sleeping patterns, muscle spasms, and co-occurring anxiety disorders.
Naltrexone is used ultimately to help with the cravings that come along with alcohol detox. Individuals can inject this drug or take it in pill form. It works by reducing or even completely removing the feeling of “pleasure” associated with drinking. This type of medication will only be used at the end of the detox period.
Disulfiram is used to deter patients away from consuming alcohol. It has the ability to cause serious reactions to alcohol like muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and nausea. This type of medication is only used in extreme situations when a patient is having trouble with their cravings.
The Three Stages Of Detox
Alcohol withdrawal occurs in three stages and can be unpleasant and potentially dangerous. This is why most doctors and addiction experts recommend entering an alcohol detox center to complete the process. Instead of trying to do it on their own, patients are able to recover from their detox in a safe environment at a detox facility.
The first and shortest of these steps of alcohol detox is acute withdrawal. This stage of the process is when the addict will experience the worst physical effects of alcohol withdrawal. Some of these symptoms can include things like:
- Panic attacks
The first 6 to 12 hours after the last drink will be when physical symptoms start to appear. These usually peak around the 24th hour and are usually slow down by the third day. After the first initial week of detox, the physical withdrawal symptoms should subside altogether.
Things don’t miraculously become easier once a person is over the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. If anything, they only become harder. Following this first stage, the individual then moves on to experience the mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms of alcohol detox. They may also still suffer from physical symptoms during stage two, as well.
During this period, it is common for the recovering individual to experience increased feelings of anxiety, anger, and general low mood. As well, many people suffer from insomnia and have interrupted sleep patterns. Nonetheless, these symptoms will usually begin to dissipate after a period of one to two months. Some women, though, tend to take much longer than men to fully move through this stage.
Unfortunately, this still doesn’t mean that the recovery process is completely over. Even after the obvious feelings of anxiety, the individual may still experience various symptoms. These can last for months or potentially even years to come. Anxiety and general feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction are both common very common symptoms.
The problem is that, in this later stage, these feelings are often not completely obvious to the recovering individual. Instead, they often manifest themselves in overly negative reactions to insignificant events and minor challenges. Unfortunately, these feelings increase negativity and decreased ability to properly deal with everyday life. This can lead recovering individuals to again have strong cravings for alcohol and potentially to a total relapse.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Consumption?
Alcohol is far and away one of the most commonly abused substances. Current estimates suggest that well over 17 million Americans have an alcohol dependency. Although it is legal to drink in the United States, the longterm effects of overconsumption are definitely not worth it.
For addicted individuals, getting sober can be extremely difficult. This is because the first step usually involves going through a detox process that is draining and often physically painful. Although getting sober is an unpleasant experience, the effects that come along with continuous alcohol use are far worse.
Drinking alcohol on a daily basis can really start to wear on a person’s body. It has the ability to permanently damage your internal organs, as well as cause irreversible diseases. One of the organs it directly affects is the liver.
The liver is the organ that breaks down the alcohol within the bloodstream. Because it takes so much energy to do this, the overconsumption of alcohol can damage the liver over time. Continuous consumption can also cause the build-up of fat within the liver. This can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
How Alcohol Affects the Brain
Alcohol affects the brain by temporarily slowing down the connection between neurotransmitters. This causes poor coordination and motor skills while under the influence of alcohol. After continuous use, alcohol may start to cause permanent damage to parts of the brain. This can occur in the cerebellum, limbic system, and cerebral cortex areas. Major issues like mental disorders and memory loss can develop because of this.
How Alcohol Affects the Heart
If an individual regularly drinks alcohol, their heart may become weakened over time. A weakened heart can cause a variety of problems like poor oxygenation and slow nutrient arrival to organs. It can also cause a high level of triglyceride to develop within the blood. This can lead to health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
How Coastal Detox Can Help
Recovering from alcohol abuse or addiction is truly a lifelong process. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to suffer a relapse years after they thought they’d finally beat their addiction. This is why it is vital that anyone wanting to overcome their alcohol addiction is admitted into a facility like ours. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Don’t hesitate to call or message us if you’re ready to get started.