The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. The effects of alcohol addiction or consistent, recurring alcohol abuse on the brain are significant and damaging. The more the brain becomes accustomed to the impacts of alcohol on neurotransmitters, the more it becomes dependent on alcohol to function normally. For most, the moderate consumption of alcohol is relatively harmless. However, for tens of millions of Americans, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a severe and pervasive disease with far-reaching and devastating impacts. The safest way to recover from AUD is by starting treatment at an alcohol detox center.
At Westwind Recovery®, we are familiar with the impact of AUD on individuals, families, communities, and society at large. Thankfully, though, we are also well-versed in the process of recovery from AUD and its many benefits. Contact us at 855.340.8832 to discover how you can become another person to share a story of healing and recovery.
Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Detox
After acknowledging that you have alcohol use disorder (AUD) and accepting the need for professional help, the next step is detoxing from alcohol. Most people are familiar with “quitting cold turkey,” which is commonly associated with smoking and drinking. It may be an excellent approach for smokers who have the willpower. However, quitting cold turkey can be dangerous for numerous individuals with AUD.
AUD occurs on a spectrum, from mild to severe. Thus, withdrawal symptoms will also occur on a spectrum. The withdrawal symptoms you experience will depend upon a variety of factors, such as:
- How long you have been drinking
- How much you drink at one time
- Your medical and physical health
- Your mental health
- Other substance use disorders
- The level of alcohol or other drugs in your system
- Prior detox history
Individuals with mild to moderate AUD who are otherwise healthy and don’t abuse other substances might be able to safely detox from alcohol at home with input and supervision from their doctor. However, suppose you have a long history of alcohol abuse or addiction. In that case, you likely have other physical and mental health conditions that make detoxing from alcohol at home a danger to your health.
What You Can Expect From an Alcohol Detox Center
Going through withdrawal is physically and psychologically challenging and uncomfortable. The fear of withdrawal is the most commonly reported obstacle for people who want to overcome their addictions. At Westwind Recovery®, we will not tell you that detoxing from alcohol and other drugs will be easy. We will be honest about what you can expect from the process. As such, our evaluation will be based on the information you give us about your history. We will provide 24-hour medical, physical, emotional, and psychological support to encourage you to make your way through the detox process safely and securely.
Based on our years of expertise and research in the field, the following is what you can expect from alcohol detox:
- Six to eight hours from the last drink (mild) – Considered a hangover, symptoms can include headache, dehydration, sweating, increased heart rate, and anxiety.
- 12 to 48 hours from the last drink (moderate) – Mild symptoms continue. Rapid or abnormal breathing, increased blood pressure, confusion, and mild hypothermia may also happen. Seizures can occur with severe addiction.
- 72 hours from the last drink (severe) – Moderate symptoms continue, with possible seizures, delirium tremens (DTs), auditory or visual hallucinations, and disorientation.
- One week to several months (lasting) – Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom (PAWS) can include sleep and mood disorders.
Without professional treatment from an alcohol detox center, some people can rapidly progress through these stages. Unfortunately, this poses a threat to their health while detoxing from alcohol at home. The dangers of the alcohol detox process increase when individuals suffer an addiction to other substances as well. Co-occurring mental health disorders also present a challenge to the recovery process.
Choose Westwind Recovery®’s Alcohol Detox Center
Once you or your loved one has decided it is time to begin the journey to recovery, finding the best drug and alcohol detox center starts by calling Westwind Recovery® at 855.340.8832. Our caring, experienced addiction and mental health experts will be by your side from intake through aftercare.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.