Detoxing from alcohol and drugs is just the first step in obtaining sobriety. Detoxing will enable you to free your body and mind from the immediate toxic effect of these substances and allow you to focus on achieving sobriety. Most people are reluctant to seek admission to a hospital for detoxification, but in many cases, it is medically necessary.
At RiverMend Health Centers, our addiction experts will determine what type of alcohol detox or drug detox you need based on a thorough assessment that includes the following:
To begin to understand what alcohol detox entails, it’s important to understand what happens to the body when you consume too much alcohol. Whether you choose to drink wine, beer or spirits, they all contain ethanol, alcohol’s main ingredient, which can act as a stimulant or a depressant depending on how much you drink. As a stimulant, it can cause feelings of euphoria and excitement. As a depressant, it slows down the brain’s central nervous system causing relaxation and drowsiness.
Too much alcohol can distort your perception, emotions and reactions and leave you with a pounding headache. Excessive use over time can cause major health problems such as cancer, kidney failure, gastrointestinal disorders, and heart disease—just to name a few.
Alcohol addiction tricks the brain into thinking it needs more to feel good and it makes you keep coming back for more. You become dependent and stopping the dependency requires professional help.
Safe alcohol detox should be gradual and performed under medical supervision. Detox may last from three to seven days and can induce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. At RiverMend Health Centers, we can administer medications to alleviate these symptoms and reduce craving during your alcohol withdrawal treatment. Most symptoms decrease within 5 to 7 days.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
It takes about 8 to 12 hours for the body to digest and flush out alcohol at which point you may begin to experience sweating, headaches and minor tremors of the hands.
After about a day or two, you may begin to experience hallucinations and seizures. These symptoms are all dependent on how much alcohol you drank and for how long. Usually the longer you were addicted, the more severe your withdrawal symptoms may be.
After a couple of days, you may begin to experience increased heart rate and blood pressure. You may feel irritable, anxious, fearful or unsettled. Your craving for alcohol may increase.
After about one week, these symptoms begin to improve and your body begins to adjust to no alcohol from a physical standpoint, but the mental component of alcohol addiction still needs to be treated.
The drug detox process is similar to the alcohol detox process in that it takes time and professional assistance. RiverMend Health Centers’ medical professionals are equipped to handle drug addictions of all severities. Like alcohol detox, each patient who undergoes drug detox is given a medical examination, psychological assessment, home and work life assessment, spiritual assessment, and more, all of which helps us build a strong and effective detoxification plan for you.
The severity and duration of drug withdrawal symptoms varies among individuals. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include nausea and vomiting, increased tearing, dilated pupils, yawning, loss of appetite, cold sweats, diarrhea, seizures, muscle cramping, depression and anxiety, and mood instability. A number of these symptoms can become particularly intense, and therefore drug detox should only take place under the careful monitoring of medical professionals.
During drug detox, most patients will start to feel the onset of these unpleasant symptoms within about 12 hours of their last use of the drug. After the first few days, the most uncomfortable symptoms will typically occur, and after about five to seven days they will start to subside. Some individuals may experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms that persist longer than this time frame. In extreme cases, for those individuals who have consumed large amounts of drugs over a long period of time, withdrawal can last for weeks or even months.
The uncertainty of what to expect during the detox process often leaves people weary, motivating them to attempt to detox on their own. Don’t try this at home without the help of medical professionals.
Repeated use of alcohol and drugs changes your body. When your body becomes used to a substance, it begins to depend on it. Therefore, if you suddenly stop using, you may experience severe side effects. Not only can these withdrawal side effects drive you back to substance abuse, but they can also be severe enough to cause seizures and even death.
RiverMend Health Centers offers ambulatory detox, a safe method of detoxing that can take place in the comfort of your own home or in a residential setting. Ambulatory detox allows patients to return to their home or the home of a supportive friend or family member in the evenings, while receiving round the clock monitoring and care from RiverMend Health medical professionals and staff 24/7.
A physician and clinical team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for ambulatory detox. Ambulatory detox is more cost-effective than residential detox, is less disruptive to the family routine and offers equally successful results.
Detoxing from alcohol and/or drugs is a very involved process and is very risky to do at home on your own. If you want to get off alcohol or drugs, you should do so only under the guidance and care of a licensed medical professional. Proper detox leads to a higher chance of full, lasting recovery.
At RiverMend Health Centers, we recognize that every patient is unique. We understand that your journey of addiction requires a tailored treatment plan to suit your specific situation.
We evaluate your needs based on the amount and types of substances you are currently using to determine the type of alcohol and drug detoxification needed, whether for alcohol, narcotics, or other drugs. RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia utilizes the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria to appropriately match the intensity of treatment to the severity of your illness.
Once stabilized, our clinicians at RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia in Atlanta and Augusta will help you make a smooth transition into the next phase of recovery.
RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia is committed to treating your entire well-being, not just your addiction. Your own motivation and continuing commitment to get and stay sober is key to the success of your addiction treatment plan. To be successful in our detoxification and alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, we ask that you adhere to the treatment plans established with you by attending scheduled visits, participating in prescribed addiction therapies and treatments, and communicating with your attending physicians, recovery coaches and case managers at RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia about concerns and/or questions.
Detox alone is not addiction treatment, but the sooner you begin your detox program, the better your opportunity to achieve long-term recovery. At RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia, we care about your safety and well-being, so please don’t delay in getting into a safe, healing partnership with us.
Begin a fresh new start on life now. We are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Call RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia today at 844-382-8735 to schedule a free consultation.