How Does Alcohol Detox Work?

How Does Alcohol Detox Work?

If you are addicted to alcohol and are going to rehab, you will have to complete an alcohol detox first. Alcohol, although legal for adults over 21, is a highly addictive substance. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause you to have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking as your body attempts to reach a state of balance and normalcy.

Alcohol withdrawal can be so scary that many people avoid getting help out of fear of their symptoms. Withdrawal can also be deadly if your symptoms become serious and if you don’t get immediate medical attention. Fortunately, alcohol detox centers in Champaign, Illinois can help you stay safe and comfortable as you begin your recovery journey.

The Alcohol Detox Process

Medical detox can usually be broken down into three phases: intake, stabilization, and treatment planning. Here’s what you can expect during each stage.

Intake and Evaluation

When you first arrive at detox, you will go through the intake and evaluation process. During intake, you will sign paperwork, hand over your insurance information, and learn about the detox process.

Then, you will move onto your medical and psychiatric evaluation. You will meet with a doctor and psychiatrist separately so they can learn about your medical history, your alcohol use, any medications you are taking, and the symptoms you are experiencing. They may also take samples of your blood and urine or run any other medical tests needed to make sure you are stable.

The information gathered during this step helps the clinical team create an individualized treatment plan that you will follow throughout the rest of detox.

Medical Stabilization

Once the team has come up with a treatment plan, it’s time to set that plan into action. During this phase of detox, you will spend most of your time relaxing as your body adjusts to being sober.

You may be prescribed medications that help reduce the severity of your symptoms and calm your nerves. You may also participate in group therapy or support groups with your peers to help gain support during this difficult time.

Throughout this phase of detox, you will be monitored around-the-clock by medical staff. In the event of a medical emergency, doctors and nurses will be ready to intervene and provide life-saving care.

Treatment and Aftercare Planning

Detox is only the first step of the recovery process. Once your symptoms begin to subside and you begin feeling better, you will meet with a substance abuse counselor. He or she will discuss your different treatment options with you to help you come up with a treatment plan.

Your treatment may consist of inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, 12-Step meetings, individual therapy, and more. During this phase, you can also make payment arrangements with the rehab facility and verify your insurance.

Detox only takes care of the physical symptoms of alcohol addiction – rehab helps you learn how to live sober. As a result, this is one of the most important steps of the alcohol detox process.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Depending on how long you have been drinking, how much your body is used to drinking, as well as your metabolism and overall health all influence how long alcohol stays in your system and how long alcohol withdrawal lasts.

Early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Body aches

After the first day or two, more severe symptoms may set in, such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • High blood pressure

These symptoms may worsen over the next few days and many mild symptoms will persist for several weeks. In rare cases of severe alcohol dependency, people may experience delirium tremens (DTs), a condition that causes:

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations (visual, tactile, or auditory)

Without treatment, DTs can be life-threatening.

Alcohol Detox Medications

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be managed with 24/7 supervision and detox medications. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe any or several of the following.

  • Benzodiazepines (Librium, Valium, Xanax, Serax, Tranxene) – These medications are used to treat panic attacks, anxiety, and seizures, As sedatives, they can also help relax patients. Benzodiazepines are frequently used at alcohol detox centers in Champaign, Illinois because they can greatly reduce many risks associated with withdrawal.
  • Anticonvulsants (Tegretol, Neurontin, Trileptal, Depakene) – Anticonvulsants are seizure medications that can be used to help manage withdrawal alongside or in replacement of benzodiazepines. These medications have a lower potential for abuse, however, may not be as effective at benzodiazepines as preventing grand-mal seizures or DTs.
  • Alpha-2 Agonists (Clonidine) – Clonidine is a blood pressure medication that can help treat high blood pressure, sweating, anxiety, irritability, and tremors.
  • Beta-blockers (atenolol, propranolol) – Beta-blockers can reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic during withdrawal. However, they do not prevent seizures.

You may also be given things like sleep aids, medication for nausea, and any other medications you may need.

Start Alcohol Detox in Champaign, Illinois Today

Detoxing from alcohol can be scary, but you don’t have to do it alone. At our alcohol detox in Champaign, Illinois, you can get the compassionate care you need to get started on your recovery journey.

Don’t let alcohol ruin your life any longer. Pick up the phone and call today to get started.

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