Alcohol Withdrawal and the Importance of a Medically Monitored Detox

If you know you need to get help to quit drinking but are terrified of the detox process, understand that while the short-term may look scary, the long-term benefits of sobriety will far surpass the few miserable days in detox. There is no arguing that alcohol detox is intimidating. Anyone who has attempted to stop drinking on their own can attest to the highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that kick in soon after. But by understanding the effects of alcohol withdrawal and the importance of a medically monitored detox, you will soon grasp that detox is indeed manageable in a supervised setting.

About Alcohol Withdrawal and the Importance of a Medically Monitored Detox

One of the biggest deterrents or obstacles for an individual who sincerely desires to break free from the grip of alcohol dependence is the prospect of going through detox. Indeed, there are certain unpredictable, and potentially dangerous, withdrawal symptoms that can suddenly come into play. For this reason, alcohol detox deserves its reputation as the dreaded first step of recovery.

However, over the years medical advances and research have enabled an addiction detox team to administer several effective medical interventions that can alleviate the majority of the suffering. Withdrawal symptoms will commence within hours of the last alcoholic drink consumed, but the detox professionals are prepared to manage them throughout the detox period. The most common symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome include:

  • Shakes or tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
  • Heart failure

The severity of these symptoms will be dependent on a host of factors, including the duration of alcohol abuse, the level of alcohol consumption, the health of the individual, and if there is a coexisting mental health condition present. The most important takeaway with regard to alcohol detox is not to attempt to undertake the process on your own. Severe alcohol withdrawal and the importance of a medically monitored detox should not be ignored.

What Is a Medically Monitored Alcohol Detox?

Upon arriving at the detox facility you will be thoroughly evaluated. Health history, addiction history, and mental health history will be assessed in an effort for the medical provider to properly prepare for the potential symptoms during your detox and withdrawal. The goal of assisting with alcohol withdrawal, and the importance of a medically monitored detox, is to minimize discomfort, provide emotional and medical support, and to supervise changes in health status during the detox phase.

Withdrawal symptoms emerge within a few hours and will intensify on days 2-3. In most cases, a benzodiazepine (Ativan or Valium usually) will be provided to help reduce anxiety and the possibility of seizure. In addition, medication is offered for nausea, gastrointestinal distress, fever, and headache. Some detox facilities also provide some holistic therapies, such as guided meditation, yoga, or massage, to help promote relaxation and comfort during detox.

Potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms may occur on days 4-7 of the detox period. This possibility underscores the importance of only attempting to detox in a supervised environment, as the DTs can be life threatening. Generally, alcohol detox is completed within 7-10 days.

Advanced Therapeutic Services Provides Medically Monitored Detox for Alcohol Recovery

Advanced Therapeutic Services (ATS) is a premium outpatient treatment program located in Rancho Mirage, California. Against the beautiful setting of the California desert, ATS provides a safe, supervised medically monitored detox for individuals desiring to overcome an alcohol use disorder. Following the detox and withdrawal phase, ATS offers a highly effective addiction treatment program that integrates various evidence-based therapies with holistic practices that treats the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. The expert ATS clinical staff is second to none in training and experience in the field of addiction treatment, offering compassionate, targeted therapy to its clients. For more information about how ATS can assist you through the alcohol detox phase of recovery, please contact us today at (760) 439-7007.