How Long is Drug Rehab?

How Long is Drug Rehab?

Drug rehab often feels like being pulled into a vacation you don’t want to go on. For some people, it feels like voluntarily signing up to go to jail. Before you go anywhere, you want to know how long you’re going to be gone and the way it will impact your routine. 

If you’re leaving responsibilities behind, it’s important that you understand the duration of your treatment. How long will your sister have to foster your dog? How many times does your best friend have to deliver your rent to the landlord? Are there any bills you need to pay before you go?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Rehab doesn’t ever truly end — it’s a lifelong process of betterment and maintaining your progress to prevent relapse. 

When it comes to your stay at a facility, it can be as little as a month or as long as 120 days. You can’t and won’t know until you start. You might have to adjust your plans midway through rehab. It all depends on your unique case. 

Rehab Begins with Detoxing

The first part of drug rehabilitation is detoxing from the substance you’ve been dependent on for so long. How long this process takes depends on a variety of different factors. What kinds of substances were you using? How much of them, and how often? Were you using them daily for months, or years, or decades? How do you want to approach the detox process?

People recovering from opioid addiction might choose longer methods of detoxing. Methadone is an effective detox tool when administered by a professional according to a schedule of controlled doses. Methadone is an opioid, so using methadone will suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal.  Over time, doses of methadone are lowered until they are completely stopped. When a minimal dose is finally ceased, withdrawal is simple. It’s not a pleasant process, but it’s not much worse than a common cold. 

While methadone is one of the gentlest tools to help opioid addicts detox in that it staves off withdrawal symptoms, but it also takes the longest, especially relative to abruptly stopping a drug. Some addicts spend weeks or months gradually decreasing their dosage until they stop completely. 

Some substances don’t work with tools like methadone. Any non-opioid drug is detoxed and processed differently. Drugs like marijuana do not require any physical detox at all – their addictive properties are exclusively emotional. 

There’s no real way to know how long detox is going to take unless you discuss the substances, durations, and amounts with your care provider and choose a method of detox that will work for you.

Conquering Addiction with a  Dual Diagnosis

Detoxing doesn’t stop addiction. All of the behavior aspects and frameworks that contribute to addiction are still in place, even after the substance has been fully removed from the body. The absence of the drug creates a vacuum in the life of an addict. When it’s gone, they often don’t know who they are anymore. 

Everyone uses for a reason. If you were having a fantastic time every day and loved being in your default state of consciousness, you wouldn’t be trying to escape it with drugs. Discovering and remedying the underlying cause is crucial for a long term successful outcome. 

If this discovery process were simple, straightforward, and easy, addicts would have done it instead of resorting to drugs as a quick cover up of a larger problem. Addicts need a framework for coping mechanisms and healthy emotional outlets to utilize instead of drugs. They need to learn to recognize their feelings – particularly the feelings that lead them to use. Most importantly, they need to learn to deal with those feelings in a more productive way.

This is even more important for addicts with a dual diagnosis. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition in conjunction with addiction, you’ll be at higher risk for relapse unless both conditions are simultaneously treated. Mental illness has a tendency to create a loop of lows. You feel bad, you use drugs, you feel worse, you use more. The cycle perpetuates the longer you continue to self medicate. 

When Are You Actually Ready to Leave?

There’s a lot of emotional and psychological work to be done before it’s wise to cut an addict loose. No one wants to see all of the progress of rehab undone. No one wants to put the same addict through detox twice. The goal is always to make rehab stick the first time, and if you haven’t made significant progress at the end of 30 days in inpatient treatment, you might want to extend that stay until you feel comfortable to start the next phase of your recovery.

People with a dual diagnosis need and deserve special focus. Their need for help is a little more intensive than that of an addict who only deals with addiction. Dual diagnosed  individuals might need to spend a little longer in an inpatient program for evaluation and assistance. The last thing a rehabilitation professional would want to do is release a patient with a dual diagnosis before they’re ready.

Rehab Isn’t Over When Inpatient Ends

Leaving rehab doesn’t mean you’re all better. It means you have the tools, knowledge, and resources to commit to keeping yourself healthy. The real test begins when you go back home. You’re empowered to make your own decisions. You choose who you talk to, where you go, and what you do there. That’s a lot of power to put into the hands of someone fresh out of recovery, but it needs to happen at some point. 

You might have learned enough in rehab to keep you from making the same mistakes, but this often isn’t the case. You can just as easily revert to the same choices you were making before, out of sheer force of habit. You’ll land right back where you started, and no one wants to see that happen. You’re provided with aftercare resources upon leaving rehab, and the next phase of your recovery is to choose to use them. 

Outpatient Treatments

Some people choose to attend meetings or group therapy sessions after they’ve completed inpatient programs. They find that the approach of accountability in numbers works for them. Everyone else attending those meetings is trying not to avoid making the same mistakes you’re trying to avoid. Best of all, they get it. 

You can talk to the people you love about temptations and feelings that trigger addiction all day long. They can love you, and support you, and listen. Unless they know what addiction is like, they won’t truly be able to empathize. They can’t exchange ideas and healthy coping skills with you the same way someone who shares your experience would be able to. 

Continued Mental Health Treatment

You can’t stop the world from moving while you’re in recovery. As great as it would be to hit a big pause button and watch everything slow down for a little while, the earth will continue to turn. Every day will bring new challenges and new emotions. You’ll face changes, some good and some bad. You need to be prepared to weather those changes without compromising your recovery.
Talk therapy can be a crucial component of successful long term recovery – especially if you don’t always understand your own feelings. Are you often anxious, but you’re not quite sure why? Do you avoid certain places or situations, but you don’t have the insight to understand what they have in common? Talk it out with your therapist. That’s how you’ll find out. 

Therapy is most important for addicts with a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosed addicts or addicts with stressful lives often find that continued mental health treatment helps to keep them centered. Even if they aren’t currently using, they still have a mental health disorder they need to appropriately manage. Failing to manage the mental health disorder will send recovery tumbling down like a house of cards. Having a professional to speak with on a regular basis prevents feelings from piling up, ultimately culminating in a relapse. 

Conclusion

Drug rehab is the rest of your life. You’re responsible for your continued success every day. It’s up to you to maintain your recovery and to prevent relapse. It will be harder sometimes, especially when devastating life events happen. 

The death of a loved one, the loss of a friend,  getting laid off, losing your home in a wildfire – there are so many variables life can throw at you. And life will never stop throwing them at you. These are devastating things that people face every day. You cannot change the nature of the world, but you can change your reaction to it.

Learning to remain devoted to your recovery even in the hardest of times is something that takes patience, willpower, and a lot of determination. Using recovery resources every day for the rest of your life will keep you focused. Don’t think enough is enough just because you haven’t used in a week, or a month, or even a year. Continue to focus on your wellbeing, because you deserve to remain sober and healthy. 

Source 1 – https://psychiatry.uams.edu/clinical-care/cast-2/what-is-methadone/

Source 2 – https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/benefits-group-therapy-mental-health-treatment/

Source 3 – https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/many-benefits-talk-therapy/

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?

Alcohol is the most widely available recreational drug. It’s cheap, you can find it anywhere, and it’s legal to use for most people in most situations. It’s also one of the most dangerous drugs you can ever abuse. This is something that most people who eventually wind up becoming alcoholics never realize. 

Since there’s less of a stigma surrounding alcohol and it seems like almost everyone drinks at least once in a while, most people don’t see any perceived danger with alcohol outside of situations like drunk driving. There are drinkers who would never even contemplate touching another substance, including decriminalized substances like marijuana, because they fear these substances are unsafe. They have no idea what alcohol is actually doing to their bodies. 

If you’re coming to realize that alcohol is not the harmless party enhancer or dinnertime treat it’s often made out to be, you probably have a lot of important questions you need answers to right away.

The Difference Between a Casual Drinker, a Problematic Drinker, and an Alcoholic

No one has the first drink and immediately becomes an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a slow burn that develops over time. It’s like the boiling frog analogy. If you put a frog in a pot of water and very slowly, very gradually increase the temperature of the water, the frog doesn’t notice how hot it’s gotten before he boils to death. The same thing happens with people and alcohol. They drink a little more and a little more and a little more until they don’t have a concept of just how much they’re actually drinking.

A casual drinker is someone who can and sometimes does go an entire month without drinking, or even thinking about drinking. These people are usually conscious about their drinking habits and would prefer not to overindulge. They may not like the taste of alcohol very much, or the feeling of being impaired. They save their drinks for weekends, holidays, or special occasions, and they can count on one hand the amount they have throughout the duration of their events. 

Problematic drinkers will drink a little more. Any woman who has more than three drinks in an average day or 7 total drinks in a week, and any man that has more than four drinks in an average day or more than 14 drinks in a week is at an increased risk for alcoholism. Problematic drinkers often skirt that line, or may occasionally surpass it.

If you’re a problematic drinker, you may not be drinking every day. That doesn’t mean you aren’t drinking to excess often enough to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol. A heavy drinker, or an alcoholic, is defined as someone who often exceeds those limits.

Am I Drinking Too Much?

If you have to ask yourself if you’re drinking too much, you probably are. If the thought has entered your mind that your reliance on or tendency to gravitate towards alcohol may be becoming a problem, listen to yourself. It’s easier and safer to prevent a problem than it is to treat one. 

Stopping Alcohol as a Casual Drinker

Casual drinkers will have the easiest time stopping alcohol. At first, limit your social outings or occasions that will involve alcohol. This will give you time to re-evaluate the way you interact with alcohol. When you are in a situation where others are drinking and you’re not, you may feel like you miss alcohol. Try to look at the situation through a new lens. 

When you’re sober and the people around you aren’t, you might find them a little annoying. This doesn’t mean you should drink until they’re easy to be around, but rather that you should find a new social group that doesn’t drink as much or as often.

Stopping Alcohol as a Problematic Drinker

If you believe that you’re a problematic drinker, you should make it a rule to avoid all social situations where alcohol plays a significant role. This doesn’t mean you should stop going out to dinner because one of the people you’re with might order a glass of wine. It does mean that bar karaoke is no longer an ideal environment for you. 

You may not want to keep alcohol in the house, even if it isn’t for you. Drinking one of your roommate’s beers can become a slippery slope faster than you may realize. It’s the same mentality people trying to diet fall into. “I already ate the piece of pizza, I might as well have the burger!” Removing alcohol from your environment makes it easier to prevent these kinds of slip ups. 

You may also want to talk to a mental health professional about your problematic relationship with alcohol. He or she will be able to help you assess the underlying reasons why you may drink too frequently. Understanding the foundation for the problem can help you formulate healthy solutions and better habits. 

Stopping Alcohol as an Alcoholic

Stopping alcohol as an alcohol is difficult and dangerous. If you drink so frequently that you experience physical symptoms after going a few hours without alcohol, stopping will involve detoxing and some form of rehabilitation.

The Process of Detoxing from Alcohol and Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Detoxing from alcohol causes something called alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or AWS. For some people, the symptoms of AWS may be mild and only last a day or two. Insomnia, nausea, vomiting, clammy skin, headaches, anxiety, irritability, depression, and brain fog are common responses to detoxing from alcohol. 

Long term heavy drinkers may experience those side effects plus tremors, rapid heartbeat, and uncontrollable shaking. In rare cases, they may also experience another escalated bracket of symptoms called delirium tremens. Delirium tremens causes fever, intense confusion, hallucinations, and seizures. 

The effects of withdrawal build up over a few days, with seizures typically occurring around the 48 hour mark. Delirium tremens may kick in at about 72 hours into the withdrawal process and could last as long as a week.

Since these symptoms can escalate to dangerous levels very quickly, medical supervision is necessary during the detoxification process. By the time confusion, hallucination, and seizures have set in, people are no longer able to help themselves. They can only be assisted by a medical professional who has followed the process and understands the escalation of the symptoms.

Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome

Some people in recovery may experience something called protracted withdrawal syndrome, or PWS. In essence, PWS is when the mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, like depression, anxiety, and brain fog, can last as long as a year. Some people with PWS still experience tremors or have shaky hands. You may have heard of people with PWS referred to as “dry drunks”, as they never quite seem fully sober.

PWS is something that has to run out its course. Medications and therapy may help people with PWS alleviate some of the symptoms and adapt to living a healthy, sober life.

Outpatient Solutions

If you have a drinking problem, you’ve probably seen or heard of dozens of outpatient solutions. These outpatient solutions are a better option for people who have been independently maintaining their sobriety for an extended period of time. They’re not a great place to start, and they won’t provide you with the medical assistance you need to safely detox from alcohol. They won’t help you modify your behavior or remove your temptation to drink.

Outpatient solutions are helpful for people who want accountability and a therapeutic conversation with people who understand the unique challenges that come with giving up alcohol. For safety and the potential of long term success, treatment should begin at an inpatient facility.

Inpatient Solutions

Inpatient treatment facilities have staff that work round the clock to tend to the medical needs of patients. Someone with alcohol withdrawal syndrome requires this kind of medical monitoring for their safety. Seizures and hallucinations can set in at any moment. Medical staff will know how to keep you safe throughout the process

Inpatient facilities also put a big pause on the temptations of the outside world. Even if you feel tempted to drink, you won’t have access to alcohol. You will, however, have access to a therapist who is there to discuss your underlying desire to drink and the events in your life that may have lead to your dependency on alcohol. This therapy will become a vital tool in helping you shape new coping mechanisms for an alcohol free life

Conclusion

There is no clear cut answer regarding how long it takes to detox from alcohol. Some people are over the worst of their symptoms in about three days, while others may begin to experience heightened and more dangerous consequences at the same point in time. Others carry remnants of their withdrawal symptoms with them for up to a year. 

Alcohol withdrawal can be unpredictable, which is why it’s so important to detox in an inpatient setting with constant medical supervision. 

Source 1 – https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholism/moderate-vs-too-much/

Source 2 – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000766

Source 3 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268458/

What Are The Three Stages of Alcoholism?

What Are The Three Stages of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism can have three stages, but the goal should always be to prevent them. Ideally, it stops at the first stage before intervention keeps someone from becoming fully dependent on alcohol. If left unchecked, alcoholism can progress into something highly dangerous. In a perfect world, alcoholism that reaches all three stages should progress towards a fourth, fifth, and sixth stage of maintained recovery.

What Constitutes Alcoholism?

The guidelines for heavy drinking are different for men and women. For women, it’s recognized as more than three drinks in a day or 7 drinks in a week. For men, it’s more than four drinks in a day or 14 drinks in a week. 

This isn’t necessarily the same guidelines addiction specialists would use to identify alcoholism, but they’re the perfect starting point for identifying problematic drinking behavior. It’s also worth noting that even if someone doesn’t precisely follow the three stages of alcoholism, they still may be an alcoholic.

Guidelines give us a framework for establishing and identifying problems, but every person is different. Every alcoholic is not the same person, and each alcoholic will have a different relationship with alcohol. Why they use, when they use, how often they use, and what they use will often differ. Just like their alcoholism will have unique components, so will their recovery. There is not such thing as an effective blanket approach. 

The First Stage: Denial

Denial is not the stage of denying that you’re an alcoholic. It’s more or less being oblivious to the fact that you’re becoming an alcoholic. The people around you may not even notice the warning signs of alcoholism at this stage. Although the stage is called “Denial”, a better term might be “uninformed” or “unaware.”

The problem with alcohol use is that it’s easy and normal. If you were sitting outside of a restaurant mainlining heroin, everyone would stop and look. Someone would call the police. People would yell at you. If you were sitting outside of a restaurant drinking a beer, people might stop to join you. That’s why the first stage of alcoholism is so tricky. Nobody, including the impending alcoholic, has an adequate opportunity to realize that problems are afoot. 

In the beginning, alcoholics don’t realize that they’re using alcohol irresponsibly. They figure that having a few drinks is their way of blowing off steam or having fun with their friends. They’ve not yet conceptualized that alcohol has become an unhealthy crutch and that their dependency will only grow with time.

When recognized at the first stage, outpatient treatment and therapy can provide promising outcomes for people. When the stages progress, significant intervention becomes significantly more necessary.

The Second Stage: Loss of Control

Loss of control is a longer stage. At this stage, you might notice that you have an increased tolerance for alcohol. It takes more to give you the euphoric, liberated feeling of being drunk. This amount of alcohol may be more than your body can actually handle, leading to blackouts or expanses of lost time where your brain was too inebriated to record long term memory.

At the loss of control phase, people usually wake up in strange places, forget where their car is, or find themselves surrounded by people they don’t remember. This is often utilized as a trope in films or on TV. Many people don’t take it seriously, simply equating it to a “wild night” or “going hard” and some people might recognize it as some kind of achievement. 

The lack of negative social reinforcement that comes from infrequent or one-off blackout drinking might hinder you from thinking it’s a problem. It almost seems like everybody does that from time to time. It might be something that your friends laugh about. In reality, it’s a horrifying sign that your relationship with alcohol has become something you aren’t capable of managing. 

If this behavior becomes a norm rather than an occasional occurrence, your friends and family might realize that your drinking is becoming a problem. Some people who are non-confrontational or otherwise fear upsetting you may not say anything. Your bolder and more confident friends and family members will likely come forward and ask you to evaluate your relationship with alcohol.

During the loss of control phase, you’ll realize that you feel different when you’re sober. You might feel anxious, or sweat. You might get mood swings or become very irritable. Your drive to drink will become stronger. You want to feel better and you want the urge to go away. You may begin drinking at inappropriate times, like during work hours, just to pacify yourself. 

It’s also common for alcoholics in the second stage to begin hiding their drinking habits. This is partially because they don’t want to endure criticism from those around them, partially because they give into urges to drink at inappropriate times, and partially because they’re beginning to recognize that their relationship with alcohol may be abnormal.

The Third Stage: Deterioration

The third stage is where alcoholism reaches maximum severity, and you will continue to decline indefinitely. Alcohol is no longer a part of your life: it is your life. It’s what you spend most of your time and money doing. It’s alienating you from the people around you. You can’t bear the thought of going without a drink because just a few hours without one makes you sick. 

Health problems will begin to develop. Illnesses of the liver, gout, jaundice, and muscle injuries from chronic dehydration make every day a little more painful. 

Without intervention, this is the stage where most alcoholics will eventually die. 

The First Stage of Recovery: Detoxing from Alcohol

At stages two or three, intervention with detox is necessary. Detoxing from alcohol is dangerous at either stage, but most dangerous at the third stage. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs available. Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome can be more painful and more complicated than withdrawal from any other drug due to the way alcohol impacts the brain.

When you use alcohol, you severely damage and impair your neurotransmitters. Alcohol causes motor skill and speech impairment because of what it does to your brain as you drink. When you never give your brain a break, this damage becomes chronic. When you withdraw from alcohol, your body begins to try to repair your neurotransmitters and replenish the chemicals that were throttled for such a long period of time.

Alcohol withdrawal can cause fevers, irritability, rapid heartbeat, nausea, diarrhea, and tremors. These things all come as a result of the body attempting to repair itself. In some cases, seizures are also normal. The brain replenishes chemicals, but it doesn’t replenish them in their ideal amounts at the right times. These temporary imbalances are the cause of alcohol related seizures.

Alcoholics who stayed in stage three for an extended period of time are also vulnerable to a condition called delirium tremens. Delirium tremens occurs when chemicals surge too quickly through the brain, causing disorientation, hallucinations, and delusions in conjunction with seizures.
Even in its mildest state, alcohol withdrawal requires the supervision of medical professionals to keep a patient stable. Withdrawing alone is extremely dangerous. 

The Second Stage of Recovery: Participating in Treatment

Withdrawing from alcohol might free the body of its constraints, but it doesn’t resolve the pattern of behavior that led to alcoholism. Unless and until the cause of the addiction is identified and new coping mechanisms can be put in place, you’re likely to run back to the bottle the next time the patterns of your life re-emerge.

Inpatient treatment is the best solution for alcoholics seeking immediate help. You can undergo supervised detox and attend treatment in the same place, treating all aspects of your addiction in a straight line. 

The Third Stage of Recovery: Maintaining Sobriety

Since the stage of maintaining sobriety is self managed, it’s important to keep yourself accountable. Making the most of your inpatient treatment and applying everything you learned there will give you the groundwork to independently establish a system for your sobriety that you can adhere to.

Maintaining sobriety is where tools like outpatient programs come in handy. You’ve detoxed, you’ve worked with your inpatient addiction therapist to discover the cause of your desire to drink and the origin of your abuse of alcohol, and created a roadmap to set yourself up for continued success.

Checking in on a weekly basis with an accountability group or an individual therapist can help you deal with new feelings as they arise. As your life changes, your outpatient treatment will continue to keep you on track.

Conclusion

There are stages of alcoholism, and three stages of recovery. You didn’t become an alcoholic overnight, and you won’t become a sober success overnight. Recovery takes patience and dedication. You need to be willing to give yourself the time and care you deserve to become the person you want to be. Like with any long and complicated journey, the sooner you embark, the sooner you’ll arrive. 

Source 1 – https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

Source 2 – https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

Source 3 – https://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-blackouts

How to Detox from Alcohol Safely

How to Detox from Alcohol Safely

Alcohol use is widespread, legal for most people, and socially acceptable. There’s a bar on every corner. Nearly every eating establishment, gas station, and grocery store sells alcohol. It’s almost impossible to get away from. We all know how to drink, but when that drinking habit becomes a problem, we may not know how to detox from alcohol safely. 

Despite how prevalent alcohol use can be in society, it is still one of the most dangerous mind altering substances that human beings can consume. Alcoholism is a habit that tends to sneak up on people. They gradually increase their drinking to a point where they’ve lost sight of just how much alcohol they consume. 

Heavy drinking for extended periods of time is classified as alcoholism. People who have become dependent upon alcohol are considered addicts, just like drug users. Like with any substance addictions, there is a withdrawal process when alcohol consumption stops. Alcohol withdrawal can be more dangerous than other types of withdrawal, and special considerations need to be taken to keep alcohol addicts safe throughout this process.

How Do I Know I Need to Detox From Alcohol?

If you have a problematic relationship with alcohol, you may not realize how much or how often you drink. Since alcohol is as easy to find as water, you don’t typically have to chase it down. It’s also not nearly as expensive as street drugs, so some alcohol addicts with reasonable incomes may not experience the financial strain that an opioid addict might experience when attempting to fund their habit.

Outside circumstances may not be the best way to evaluate whether or not detox is unnecessary, as problematic alcohol use typically does not involve such extreme circumstances as other addictions. 

The best way to know whether or not detox will be necessary for you is by evaluating how you feel when it’s been half a day or so since your last drink. At this point, you might begin to feel anxious, irritable, or sick. Your mind tells you that you need to drink soon to make your body feel better. This is the most obvious way to self assess an alcohol dependency.

If you’re at a point where you’re eager to get rid of alcohol, you might fight your impulses and refuse to give in. While this mindset is the correct mindset for success, it may not be safe to go it alone. 

A Timeline of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Detoxing from alcohol triggers a process called Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, or AWS. The symptoms and duration of AWS will vary from individual to individual. Usually, individuals who have partaken in regular heavy drinking for years will experience symptoms on the most extreme end of the spectrum. These symptoms may last for much longer. People who decide to take initiative to combat alcoholism soon into its beginnings may have an easier time with AWS. 

Typical withdrawal will present with symptoms like depression, insomnia, tremors, chills, irritability, anxiety, nausea, and loss of appetite. Many people also report headaches, muscle aches, mood swings, and trouble concentrating. 

Severe cases involve these symptoms plus other more significant systems that unfold over a longer timeline. Some people with severe alcoholism may experience a condition called delirium tremens (DTs) when they detoxify from alcohol. Delirium tremens is serious, and may involve seizures or hallucinations.

The Beginning

For both normal and severe cases, the same set of early symptoms will begin. They will graduate in intensity over the coming days, where the extent of the body’s dependence on alcohol will become much clearer. 

Day One

Anywhere between 12 to 24 hours into the detoxing process, severe withdrawal may begin to trigger hallucinations. These hallucinations can be visual, but more often than not, they’re subtle. The sensation of uncomfortable textures on the skin even when nothing is touching it, or hearing noises that no one else hears is a sign that you’re experiencing alcohol withdrawal induced hallucinations.

Day Two

Anywhere between day one and day two, seizures become a possibility. Anticonvulsant drugs or other anti seizure treatments may not work to combat these seizures. These seizures require constant medical monitoring to keep the patient safe. 

Day Three

At the end of day two and beyond, patients with delirium tremens may begin to experience an intense and dysphoric confusion, fevers, delusions, and intensified hallucinations. At this stage, patients may not know who they are or where they are. It is dangerous for these patients to be left alone. 

Withdrawal Symptoms That Continue After Detox

Most people will completely detoxify from alcohol within a weeks’ time. Heavy users can develop a condition called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PWS. PWS differs from AWS because it continues long after alcohol has left the body and its immediate damage stops.

People with PWS will often experience mild withdrawal symptoms, including tremors, for an extended duration. Although rare, some people live with the side effects of PWS for up to a year without experiencing full relief from the condition. Most people find that PWS resolves within weeks or months. 

Although medical monitoring can help people with PWS, it does not require the kind of constant medical supervision that AWS requires. Regular check ins with a healthcare professional are highly recommended, but daily care may not be an effective solution.

Can I Detox from Alcohol at Home?

Never, under any circumstances, attempt to detoxify from alcohol alone. If severe delirium tremens symptoms were to suddenly set in, you wouldn’t know how to get yourself help. A loved one seeking to help you may do their best or call a medical professional if you appear to be losing touch with reality or start having seizures, but any help that arrived would be late intervention. 

These severe withdrawal symptoms cannot be prevented. If the body is going to react that way, that’s simply what will happen. Symptoms can only be treated as they arise, and immediate intervention requires the round the clock supervision of a medical professional who is adequately trained in caring for patients going through alcohol withdrawal.

It’s best to start detoxing with a medical care team around you. They can provide you with the things you need to safely manage your symptoms and follow the progression of their severity. If you were to have a seizure, a delusion, an episode of severe confusion, or a significant hallucination, the medical professional who has been monitoring you is already prepared to handle that situation. 

Detoxing at an Inpatient Facility

Detoxing safely will never be an outpatient procedure. When most people make the brave decision to detox from alcohol and begin their recovery journey, they book a stay at a reputable inpatient facility. Many of them continue drinking up until the moment they arrive, in order to stave off the potential onset of withdrawal without medical supervision. 

Rehabilitation facilities are equipped to intake patients who are under the influence or not fully “clean” when they first walk through the doors. They can and will take in patients who have begun to detox independently and found that the situation was too much to handle alone at home. You are not required to be at any particular stage of sobriety or intoxication to enter an inpatient facility. You can enter as you are in this very moment if you choose to do so.

The duration of a thorough detox will vary from patient to patient. Patients with mild PWS do not need to remain in an inpatient care setting for the duration of their PWS symptoms. 

Do not be in a hurry to leave rehab as soon as you’re physically feeling better. If you don’t stay throughout the recommended duration, you may only find yourself returning.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Once you’ve fully detoxified, the other stages of recovery need to begin. Removing the alcohol from your body does not remove the reasons why you chose to use it. It doesn’t eliminate struggles with willpower or emotional battles that make turning down a drink challenging. Withdrawal isn’t the rehabilitation – therapy is. 

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities offer both group and individual therapy. Group therapy helps people to open up among their peers. Everyone in group therapy is there because they’re addicted to something. They’ve made poor choices. They’ve done things they’re embarrassed of. They face the same struggles you have faced. Sometimes, being able to speak candidly about your struggles among people who genuinely understand makes it easier to address the root of the problem.

Most people in recovery have things that they would prefer not to share in a group setting. Individual therapy provides the perfect time and place for alcohol addicts in recovery to discuss sensitive or private issues without fear of judgement or repercussion. 

Your therapist can use this one on one time to create a functional plan with you. This plan will set you up for success upon your completion of inpatient rehab, and it will always involve some kind of aftercare. Even when you go back out into the world, the support and accountability doesn’t stop. 

Conclusion

The safest way to detox from alcohol is to detox surrounded by medical professionals one time. You don’t want to have to go through detox two or three times, as the experience is intense and puts a lot of severe and unnecessary strain on the body. Detox with the full benefits of comprehensive alcohol addiction rehabilitation to prevent yourself from ever having to endure that experience again. 

Source 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1312739/

Source 2 – https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-22104

Source 3 – https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/444630/hallucinations.pdf