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/

Life After Inpatient Drug Rehab: Maintaining Your Recovery

Life After Inpatient Drug Rehab: Maintaining Your Recovery

Many people enter rehab under the assumption that it’s the solution to all of their problems. You took that hard first step. You went through the detox process. You put your whole life on hold. You did it. 

You got through rehab, even though it felt utterly impossible just a few weeks before you went. So what now?

The reality of the matter is that your true recovery is only just beginning. It was easy to make the right choices in rehab. All the temptations were gone, everyone there helped to hold you accountable, and the entire environment was centered around sobriety. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like that. 

Leaving rehab is the first step to true and meaningful recovery, and now your job is to apply all the things you’ve learned so you can keep your success going. 

Go Over What You Learned in Therapy

You discussed a lot of things with your therapist at inpatient treatment. You identified the way a lot of things make you feel. You’ve been over your strengths and weaknesses, your achievements and failures. 

You learned a lot about personal accountability, maintaining healthy relationships, and setting goals. 

Your therapist cannot apply what you’ve learned on your behalf. He or she only helped you to create a map for achieving the things you want. You’re now left to your own devices to follow those steps and take that journey to your destination. 

To make the things you’ve discussed a reality, you need to begin making changes in your life. Your old life is exactly where you left it, and that’s not you anymore. That life involved doing drugs, hurting the people that you loved, and damaging your body. It was the biggest obstacle between you and everything you’ve ever wanted or deserved. 

Dismantling that life as you build a new one will set you up for success. The old has to truly be out before the new can come in.

Changing Your Life Accordingly

You gained a lot of things you needed in rehab. Now you have to lose the things you don’t need outside of rehab. 

Friendships that were built around drugs, places where you would go to use, and a daily routine built around keeping yourself in a steady supply of your substance of choice are no longer an option. The other people in those situations did not take the steps you took or put in the effort to change their lives for the better. If you turn back to them, you’ll only be letting yourself down.

It might be time to move to a different apartment in a different part of town. Solidifying your new start with a complete change of scenery will help to reinforce the idea that your life is new now. You don’t need constant reminders of the bad choices you made or the harm you caused yourself through drug use. You deserve to leave that behind you. It’s no longer a part of your identity. 

You might also want to look into a new career, or schooling or vocational training that will help you settle in a career you’ve always wanted. Many drug addicts don’t work. You can’t accomplish anything under the influence, employers often drug test, and your preoccupation with the drug likely kept you from pursuing a new job once your old one was out the window. 

One of the most important steps to independence is establishing your own income. Personal responsibility is getting up every morning, putting on the suit or the uniform, and showing up to do what you signed up to do. At the end of the day, you make your budget and pay your bills. 

This change in priorities and sense of responsibility can help to keep you focused. You made commitments that you’re in complete control of. You have to answer for yourself. You’re getting the things you want, and you’re holding onto them by doing all the things you said you would do. 

Keeping Yourself Accountable

Many people continue to go to outpatient treatment or see a therapist after they’ve left rehab. This isn’t a crutch — it’s a vital accountability tool. 

While you were in rehab, the group you spoke with and the therapist you saw helped to realign your perspective and change your priorities. They didn’t follow you outside of treatment. The moment you went back out into the world, things became radically different. You didn’t know how you would react or what it would feel like until you were left to your own devices again. 

Therapists and outpatient groups can help you with your transition to independence. Most recovering addicts and alcohol users in outpatient groups have had the same experience you have. 

They went through their inpatient program, came back out into the world, and realized they still needed empathy and companionship from others who understood the struggle. Some recovered addicts continue to attend outpatient groups for decades to help them maintain their sobriety. 

Continuing to work with a therapist is the most effective way to deal with thoughts and feelings as they come up. There are so many things you can’t address at inpatient because you don’t know they’re going to happen. You have no idea how you’re going to feel, and you can’t preemptively work through these mystery feelings. 

Regularly scheduled therapy appointments will help you navigate your feelings day by day without ever feeling overwhelmed. If you see a therapist once a week, things won’t have time to pile up until they feel insurmountable. 

Let it all out as it comes so you can effectively move past it or develop new coping skills to help you deal with intense feelings you experience out in the world. 

Striving for Goals and Using Healthy Outlets

When you felt down, you used drugs. Your only real goal was to find more drugs to use, even if you had an entire incredible life planned for yourself before you succumbed to your addiction. 

Things have changed, and you need to direct the same amount of attention and effort you directed to your addiction to healthy outlets and productive goals

As long as there is nothing inherently harmful about your goals or outlets, everything is on the table. 

You don’t need to have lofty or overly ambitious goals. Very few people save the world or cure a disease. If the goal you’ve set for yourself is to knit a scarf that’s 25 miles long, many people aren’t going to take you seriously. That doesn’t matter — they can mind their own business. 

If it means a lot to you and it’s not harming you or the people around you, it’s a good goal. You can easily measure your progress and strategize for its completion, and you’re keeping yourself busy. 

You’ll also want to begin utilizing healthy outlets. Many people go blow off steam on the weekends. They go to bars or clubs, or other places where alcohol and drugs are easy to find. Some of those people are addicts, and some of them aren’t. You know you belong to column A, and these environments are no longer suited to your needs.

A healthy outlet is any activity that grants you satisfaction and relaxation without causing any undue harm. Martial arts is a healthy outlet. It’s a great workout that teaches discipline and self defense, and there’s a class somewhere almost every night. Yoga is very similar in that regard, and it’s a little less intense or intimidating than a martial art. 

Yoga is healthy for your body and your mind. One of the biggest benefits of yoga as a healthy outlet is that it teaches mindfulness, a practice you can easily apply when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Practicing mindfulness might help you avoid giving into the temptation to relapse.

Having the Right Support System

Think about all those people you knew before rehab. You had nicknames for them. You had inside jokes, and you saw them every day. Those people aren’t your friends. 

You were bound together by addiction, and that is something you don’t want to have in common with anyone anymore. You need a support system full of people who make better choices and care about your sobriety just as much as you do. 

Hobbies and healthy outlets are a great place to meet quality people and form friendships, but these friendships won’t happen overnight. You might need to lean on your family or sober friends from your past a little bit in the beginning — just until you’re done establishing your new life. 

Your sister might have been angry with you for calling her at 3 AM and asking for money for drugs. She’ll probably be a lot less angry with you if you call her at 3 AM and tell her you’re having a difficult time and you don’t want to end up using. 

From the beginning, establish who you can and cannot call for support. People are allowed to set their own boundaries and manage their own responsibilities however they see fit. If you work with your family and sober friends to establish a support system according to the terms that work for them, you’ll be saving yourself some dark hours that may have otherwise ended badly. 

It may also be helpful to join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups are both dedicated to one main mission: help people get out of and stay out of addiction. You can be as minimally involved as attending an occasional meeting or as deeply involved as helping someone else out of their addiction. Being able to be with others who have gone through or are going through a similar journey can help you stay on track, and you may find that something that helps you stay sober is helping others get there, too. 

Conclusion

You cannot allow yourself to entertain the notion that relapsing is an option, even if you have to radically alter every single aspect of your life to prevent a relapse from happening. 

You need to be proactive and responsible in your recovery. You need to follow through. Accepting a sense of personal responsibility and doing the things you said you would will keep you from reverting to bad habits, and you will be so happy and thankful for it in the long-run.

Maintaining your recovery is the final stage of recovery, and Starbridge Recovery can help keep it that way. Contact us today about our recovery aftercare planning programs

Sources:

https://www.actionforhappiness.org/take-action/set-your-goals-and-make-them-happen

https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/what-is-personal-accountability/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-respect-other-peoples-boundaries/

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

The Benefits of Long Term Addiction Recovery Care

The Benefits of Long Term Addiction Recovery Care

There are many addicts who know they need help. They want that help, but they’re afraid of everything it entails. Minimizing the process doesn’t make it easier for anyone. 

Addicts should enter into recovery knowing that it is a comprehensive process that requires constant maintenance. Many addicts spend the rest of their life focused on maintaining their recovery, where they might have instead spent the remainder of their lives focused on surviving their addiction.

For maintained success, recovery needs to remain a lifelong mindset. Long term addiction recovery care helps addicts keep their addictions in the past. 

If you’re ready to begin the process of rehabilitation, you need to know how to make every move count. Plan to make recovery a cornerstone of your wellbeing and healthy lifestyle from every day here on out. The benefits are endless.

The Process Starts With Admitting You Need to Recover

Recovery creates a drastically positive new future for addicts. It reshapes the entire trajectory of their lives. It changes everything they know and encourages them to become an entirely new person. 

Even though all the change is positive and necessary for a happy, healthy, productive life, change is still a scary thing. When you don’t know what the future looks like, it’s hard to take that plunge.

If you’re waiting for a glimpse into the way your life will play out after recovery, you’ll be waiting forever. You need to accept that there are a lot of unknowns at the end of the tunnel, but that you’ll undoubtedly be better for them. 

If you’ve been an addict long enough, you know that any other life would be a lot easier and a lot more peaceful than what you’ve had to endure. Be eager to accept the potential for something wonderful. 

The Most Physically Demanding Step is Detoxification

The first thing you’ll do in a rehabilitation program is detoxify from the substance or substances you’ve become dependent on

This process can be scary and uncomfortable. A lot of addicts have reservations about pursuing recovery simply because it’s against human nature to run towards known discomfort. Like you don’t look forward to having a rotting tooth pulled out even if it’ll benefit you in the long run, you may not be eager to go through the process of detoxing. 

If you’ve ever had a hard time obtaining your drug of choice, you already have a glimpse of what detoxing might feel like. You know the way your mind and body react when they’ve been without the substance for too long, and you know that completely stopping will only amplify that feeling. 

Detoxing isn’t a result of your body being deprived of something it needs — not in the traditional sense. Your body isn’t going haywire and making you sick because it desperately wants the drug. It’s going off the rails to make you better. In a lot of ways, detoxing is the closest thing to human reanimation you’ll ever experience. 

Drugs or alcohol can affect your brain’s ability to regulate its own chemicals and properly supply your body with the hormones it generates to make your body work perfectly. When the substance is gone, everything begins to kick back on. Your body floods with adrenaline and frantically works to re-establish the proper chemical balance in your brain. The symptoms of withdrawal are the side effects of coming back to life.

Even though withdrawal is scary, it’s a very good thing. It’s the first step in reclaiming your mind and your body. 

Medical professionals at your inpatient care facility will be with you to monitor you through every step of the process, assuring that you’re coming back around safely and that your body is properly nourished and hydrated throughout the process.

The best case scenario is that you’ll only ever have to put yourself through this process one time. It’s a lot to overcome, and it’s never any easier if you relapse or develop an addiction to a new substance. You don’t ever want to tax your system that way again, and long term addiction recovery care can prevent you from going through the same ordeal twice.

Inpatient Recovery Gives You The Groundwork You Need

Detoxification might be a crucially important step, but it’s only just the beginning. If you detox and go back home, you haven’t actually solved anything. There’s nothing to stop you from going back to the drug or drink in place of a proper coping mechanism. 

People with immaculate willpower and nothing to escape generally don’t become addicts or alcoholics. Many people use drugs as a coping mechanism. If you love every single moment of your life and everything is wonderful, you wouldn’t feel the need to alter your mind just to catch a break. 

There are things you deserve to deal with, and you are worth the work. Things that stress you out. Things that make you sad. Stories you’ve never told anyone. Heartbreak, grief, disappointment, depression, and feelings of failure. 

You’re carrying those around with you all the time, and you shouldn’t have to. When you don’t know how to resolve negative feelings on your own, you’re more likely to drown them out with your substance of choice. 

Learning to open up is hard. Not in the same physically demanding way that detoxing is hard, but difficult on a completely new level. It requires emotional vulnerability, something that inspires fear in a lot of people. Unless and until you can break down that wall, you may never resolve the source of your addiction. 

Inpatient facilities arrange group therapy for participants, and this is one of the most helpful tools for developing the groundwork you need. 

When you’re in group therapy, you’re surrounded by perfect strangers that you have immeasurable things in common with. They all feel the same way you do. Maybe their life experiences and circumstances were different, but they still found themselves in the same place. 

They’re not here to judge you, and you’re not here to judge them. 

Individual therapy sessions will give you a safe and comfortable space to discuss things you’d rather keep private. Your individual therapist will work with you to identify your negative coping mechanisms, discover the root of your feelings, and help you create a new roadmap for your life. 

Getting this roadmap and navigating this roadmap are two completely different things, and what’s why long term aftercare is important.

What Happens When You Return to the Outside World?

Inpatient rehabilitation is a sheltered and insulated space. It needs to be. Recovering addicts need to be kept safe. They need temptations out of their line of sight. They need access to doctors and mental health professionals to help them through one of the most difficult times in their life. 

When the patient and the provider both decide it’s time to return to the outside world, the real journey is only just beginning.

You’ll spend some time talking with your mental health professional about what your plans are for exiting rehab. You likely realize that the places you used to go and people you used to be around will only provide a source of negative inspiration. They can undo all the progress you’ve made. 

That’s why so many people relapse when they leave rehab. They have all these great ideas and great intentions. They have a desire to live a healthy, happy, and productive life. But they don’t know how to begin. All they know is the life they left. That’s why long term addiction recovery care is necessary — to prevent slips that can set back the course of the new life you’ve worked so hard to start.

What Long Term Addiction Recovery Care Does

The moment you’re out in the world, a lot of familiar feelings, people, and places are going to come back. These will likely create strong associations in your mind with using. Your mental health professional told you this would happen, but you won’t really understand the extent of how it feels until you find yourself faced with those feelings or situations.

Your former inclination would have been to use. Your new inclination needs to be to talk to someone. 

When you find yourself struggling to stay on track or make the right choices, the best thing you can do is talk to an addiction specialist or a mental health professional. You’ll have fresh instances in your mind that you can describe to that professional, and he or she will be able to help you work through them. 

Turning to therapy will keep you from turning to drugs, as long as you’re diligent about your visits and applying the professional advice you’ve been given. As long as you’re willing to acknowledge problematic feelings or urges and act on them responsibly, you’re far less likely to revert to your old unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Conclusion

Long term recovery is something that is self managed. After you leave your rehabilitation facility, you’re in charge of the decisions you make. 

Nobody can follow you around and give you real time guidance. That’s why you need a long term recovery plan. You need to know what to do when things get tough. You need to have a professional you can turn to for further guidance. 

Having a system of resources at your disposal is important. When you know how to do the right thing, it’s so much easier not to do the wrong thing. 

It’s a long journey ahead, and everything we discussed is at the very end. If you’re ready to start at the very beginning, explore your treatment options with Starbridge Recovery today. 

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2017/03/impacts-drugs-neurotransmission

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-surprising-ways-to-make-the-most-of-therapy/

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

How Long Does Detox Take?

How Long Does Detox Take?

Detoxification, the process of the body ridding itself of toxins, can range from uncomfortable to severe depending on a person’s addiction. After a sudden halt in a person’s usage of drugs or alcohol, withdrawal symptoms may start to appear within 6 to 24 hours and can become extremely serious which is why medical assistance is recommended.

Detoxification is the first step in the recovery process, but it is a means to an end and must be followed up with treatment, as it builds the foundation for the rest of the program. Withdrawal can be the most unpleasant part of recovery, but you don’t need to go through it alone. 

What Factors Impact the Length of Detox?

The entire process of detoxification can last days or months, again depending on the severity of the addiction. 

The length of time depends on multiple factors, including:

  • Which substance, and how many substances, were used
  • How often the substance was used
  • How much of the substance was used
  • Underlying mental health conditions
  • Medical history
  • Age
  • Gender

The way that these factors do or do not occur in combination is essentially what determines the length of detoxification. Withdrawal symptoms may peak at 72 hours after the last usage, but moderate symptoms can continue for extended periods of time after this three-day timeframe. Medical monitoring and assistance is the safest way to approach your detox.

One unexpected factor which can result in a lengthened timeframe for detoxification is a medical emergency. This can include sudden changes in blood pressure, breathing, or heart rate, and medical intervention should take place so that the person can be monitored and stabilized. 

What Does Detoxification Treatment Look Like?

Upon arrival at Starbridge Recovery, you will be evaluated so that the best course of action can be planned out for you. 

When a mental health condition co-occurs with drug addiction, known as Dual-Diagnosis, detoxification may be lengthened, and inpatient treatment is called for where you will receive great care and individual attention. 

By assessing things like family history and co-occurring conditions, we can gain a better understanding of current physical and mental health, leading to a higher likelihood of successful treatment. 

Being honest during this assessment is vital, because leaving out details may result in a detox program that is more challenging than need be. Detox programs are comprehensive and individualized to meet the needs of each client, taking into account what drugs have been used and when, how long the addiction has lasted, and past attempts to detox. 

A person with dual diagnosis often exhibits overlapping symptoms of a mental health disorder, including:

  • Anxiety attacks
  • Depression
  • Delusional behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms will co-occur with drug and alcohol abuse, and in this case it is extremely important to seek inpatient treatment like that which is offered at Starbridge. Around-the-clock monitoring and care greatly benefits dual diagnosis clients, especially in cases where a person is in denial. Denial is common in these instances, and can result in neglecting your own needs and care due to mental illness negatively impacting your perceptions. 

Throughout detoxification, treatment will include medication, nutritional, emotional support, counseling, alternative treatments, and withdrawal supervision according to each person’s specific needs and concerns. Adjustments will be made as necessary in order to lessen discomfort, and open communication is largely encouraged. Treatment plans are unique because everyone has different needs.

After your initial consultation and assessment, you will meet with your staff and receive a tour of our facility. During your stay, you will reside in a private room in our homelike facility, and you will be given the opportunity to settle in. We want you to feel as comfortable and familiar with our treatment center as possible.

How Severe Will My Symptoms Be?

The same way that usage patterns impact the length of detoxification, they also determine the severity of symptoms. 

Common symptoms of detoxification include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating, particularly night sweats
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate

These physical symptoms are the earliest side effects of withdrawal, and they are often experienced most intensely within the first few days or first week. They can be managed with medication and it is always encouraged that detoxification takes place under medical supervision. 

At Starbridge Recovery, you will have 24/7 access to highly trained doctors, medication, and alternative treatments so that your recovery path is the best that it can be. Monitoring allows for intervention to occur when needed in order to ensure comfort, which is the key to a successful victory against your addiction. 

Mental health problems can also occur as part of the symptoms of detoxification, and these can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability/agitation
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances

These psychological side effects can last for weeks or months compared to physical symptoms. These can also be managed with medication, but a combination of medication and therapy may be used in order to more successfully ease discomfort. 

All of the items listed above are the most common symptoms, and though they can be very uncomfortable they generally do not result in life-threatening conditions or complications. 

That being said, though, there are some more serious symptoms that must be closely monitored due to their potential for permanent damage. These include:

  • Tremors – These often start a few hours after the last usage and may peak 24-48 hours later. Tremors may be accompanied by heightened blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures – It is important to note that seizures can be life-threatening.

These symptoms also vary depending on the substances in question, and close monitoring will ensure your safety and success throughout recovery. Detox can be distressing, but it is necessary and important. Effective detoxification incorporates emotional and medical support, and attempting to detox at home without such things can result in relapse.

How Do I Know If I Need Treatment?

Continued drug use can, over time, change the brain systems pertaining to reward, memory, and motivation, resulting in a higher release of chemicals associated with pleasure. 

Once these brain system changes occur, there may be a physical need for the substance in order to feel normal, leading to extreme cravings for the substance and usage of the substance in spite of the unwanted consequences. 

Signs that treatment is necessary lie in psychological and behavioral signs. These can include:

  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Increased tolerance – A person requires larger quantities of the substance in order to achieve the same desired effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms – As described above
  • Lack of control – Finding yourself unable to slow down or lessen usage, even if this is desired
  • Stealing in order to continue supporting your habit
  • Continued use of the substance despite consequences
  • Social, financial, and/or legal problems

Anyone experiencing these issues is highly encouraged to seek a residential inpatient program, and Starbridge Recovery in Los Angeles is a safe and homelike place to embark on your journey to recovery.

Our luxury inpatient detox program will ease you through the detoxification process in order to comfortably guide you through your recovery.  Everyone’s detox experience is different, and at Starbridge Recovery we can ensure that someone will always be nearby so that anything you need along the way is taken care of. 

Summary

Overall, the detoxification process can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Length and severity of symptoms experienced during detoxification vary depending on factors such as severity of substance use, family and personal health history, and co-occurring mental health conditions. 

Physical side effects of withdrawal occur within the first week, and are most intense during the first few days. Psychological side effects can last for weeks or months, and should be monitored by a professional. 

A person who is diagnosed with a mental health condition co-occurring with drug addiction should seek inpatient treatment, as this dual diagnosis can result in more severe detoxification symptoms. 

Detoxification can be distressing, but you do not have to go through it alone. 

Detoxification is the first step, and the foundation, to a successful recovery process, and is often the most unpleasant part of the journey. Once detoxification is done, the rest of your treatment program will begin, and your treatment plan will be unique to your specific needs and concerns. 

An inpatient program like ours is there to help you work towards victory over your addiction, as well as to make the journey as comfortable as possible. 

Some signs that you or a loved one may require treatment include, but are not limited to,  loss of interest in activities, loss of control, tolerance for the substance, and continued use of a substance despite consequences or despite the desire to stop usage. 

If you believe that you or a loved one require treatment, reach out to us and we can work towards a brighter, healthier future today. At Starbridge Recovery, we are here to help.

Sources:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/how-long-does-detox/

https://dualdiagnosis.org/guide-drug-detox/alcohol/how-long-does-it-take/

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/how-long-does-it-take-to-detox-from-alcohol#withdrawal-symptoms