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How to Detox From Alcohol Safely – The Alcohol Detox Process

Stop drinking and detox using our trusted rehab service.

A drinking problem can be one of the most daunting things to overcome in life, especially if it is at a level that is life-threatening. However, the first step in treatment of any withdrawal syndrome is to first admit that there is a problem. Lying to yourself won’t do you any good and it will only prolong the issue, resulting in symptoms that can be challenging to live with. Withdrawal syndrome can also be referred to as AWS.

One of the best ways to deal with an addiction is to visit an addiction treatment centre that is equipped with understanding staff and facilities that can help you conquer your alcohol use by putting you into the right alcohol detox program. Life doesn’t have to revolve around drinking when you seek professional help.

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What’s Detox?

The word detox is often mislabelled as a full treatment to process alcohol addiction. Detox is actually a cleansing step that helps you get rid of alcoholism. Usually, it takes about 72 hours to get clean of the chemicals you are used to.

What is the Alcohol Detox Process?

Detox shouldn’t be confused with completely getting rid of the addiction. If you stop alcohol without treatment in an attempt to quit your alcohol use, the effects of dependence will start to sink in around an hour after you have stopped drinking. 72 hours later, you may be in recovery – or you may be in hospital, fighting for your life. That is what makes detoxing from alcohol a challenge.

During detox treatment, the alcohol is completely flushed from your system, meaning that it will likely trigger alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can last long term if they aren’t dealt with completely.

Do I Need a Detox from Alcohol?

One of the easiest ways to tell if you need an alcohol detox is to see how much time you can pass without drinking. If you don’t “feel right” without drinking, then you may have developed a dependency on it. People often think that treatment for a drinking problem is all about willpower, but the reality is that there are chemical changes in your system that have adapted to the constant intake of alcohol.

As a result, alcohol abuse is a real issue that isn’t just about willpower. You will crave alcohol if you regularly use it. In fact, going cold turkey without treatment and suffering from withdrawal symptoms can put your life at risk. The first 24 hours is often the most crucial in medical terms.

Seeking out treatment means all your rights are reserved, particularly if you are at home in England or Wales. You will have your rights reserved even if you accidentally overdose – in the UK, rehab treatment is possible no matter what stage your mental health, or how much medical care and medical advice that you may need while going through alcohol withdrawal.

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What are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Alcohol withdrawal is the term used to describe the symptoms experienced when a heavy drinker decides to stop alcohol use or reduces their intake. It’s caused by the alcohol in your system changing your central nervous system to account for the extra alcohol intake. Your body works harder in order to keep functioning normally when it detects a heavy amount of alcohol. If it gets used to this sensation, then your brain will continue to operate as if there’s alcohol in your system even when you don’t drink as much.

This eventually creates a dependence on alcohol and you can experience withdrawal symptoms. The key to a successful recovery, therefore, is to stop alcohol in a medical facility within the correct medical conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be mild or severe depending on how long you were a heavy drinker for. In most cases, the common symptoms of withdrawal are as follows:

  • Feeling of anxiety
  • Hand tremors
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Frequent nightmares
  • High blood pressure

These are considered mild symptoms that will likely appear a few hours after your last drink. If you only experience these symptoms, then your body is likely in a state where quick recovery is possible. However, there are also severe symptoms that you might experience if you’ve been a heavy drinker long term.

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Severe Symptoms

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DT) (If you believe you are experiencing the Delerium Tremens effect, it’s important to call us immediately and we can advise)

If you experience any of these symptoms after stopping or reducing your alcohol consumption, it’s important to contact help as soon as possible. Remember, seeking recovery treatment from alcoholism and drug use sees your rights reserved.

Withdrawal Symptoms continued: What is Delirium Tremens?

Often referred to as DT, delirium tremens is a severe form of confusion that is often caused by alcohol withdrawal. It’s a rare condition that only affects around 5% of people that suffer from the symptoms of withdrawal and often starts around two to three days after your loved one’s last drink. This is one of the most dangerous conditions once you go cold turkey from any drug, hence the importance of seeking treatment before you decide to quit.

Detoxing from Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of these common symptoms may appear when detoxing, during detoxing you will receive alcohol withdrawal treatment and this can include prescribed medicine, this would be determined after you have been medically reviewed :

  • Intense tremors
  • Vivid hallucinations
  • Rapid mood changes
  • A feeling of impending doom
  • Sudden severe confusion
  • Deep sleeps that last over 18 hours

If you experience these symptoms after cutting your alcohol abuse for two to three days, seek medical attention immediately as this can be life threatening. (This includes Delirium Tremens)

What happens to your appearance when you stop drinking?

The good news is that after a week of stopping alcohol many people will start to see an improvement in their skin, look more youthful and gain a glow in their skin too. This can take longer depending on how much you drink.

What Does Alcohol Detox Involve?

Detoxing and recovery support from alcohol programs are fairly straightforward. It often involves an intake exam so that your doctor or detox team can examine the current state of your body to see what kind of support is required. This may include taking a blood sample and discussions about your dependency so that the team can get a better understanding of your time spent unwell and recovery needs.

Next, you’ll often receive support for your alcohol detox. This includes specialised medicine to help cope with the withdrawal symptoms and other health conditions that may be detected by the intake exam. Your detox team will primarily focus on trying to handle the mental and physical issues associated with detox withdrawal, and you may have to get your blood pressure and heart rate checked on a regular basis to anticipate what withdrawal symptoms may manifest throughout your recovery.

Finally, detox programs will ultimately help you quit by examining the reasons why you drink, how to cope with your issues and also how to avoid relapse in the future. There are other more detailed aspects of an alcohol detox, but they will depend on the type of treatment that you pick, so if you need more information, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and contact us for more advice.

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How do you Cleanse your Body from Alcohol?

Alcohol detox will be the first step to getting help towards your recovery, this includes alcohol withdrawal treatment. Alcoholism often starts due to complicated problems in one’s life which pushes them to drink heavily as a mental refuge. Identifying and admitting these effects is often the second step.

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Can your body recover if you stop drinking?

It can! Your body will start to heal the moment that you quit your substance abuse. Sometimes it takes under a week for your body to be clean, but people can also be several weeks or even months before withdrawal symptoms are reviewed. You will find it useful to include medications helpful for controlling effects in rehab.

How Long Does it Take to Reset my Body from Alcohol?

You may find that relapsing into serious alcohol addiction is easy even after a successful detox. This is why it’s important to stay in touch with people that encourage sobriety. You should also stay on top of your general health if you stop alcohol abuse, so that your body can get back to normal.

Feel free to give us a call if you’d like some information on how you or your loved one can stay off alcohol after a detox program. A healthy person can reduce recovery to only a few months.

What Can I Expect if I Quit Drinking?

There are often two types of detox treatments people can go through. outpatient care and inpatient care. Below, we have more information on each.

The first is outpatient treatment. This usually involves day treatments mixed with medications to provide relief for your withdrawal symptoms. Outpatients detox programs are recommended for those with light to mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms, who are in good health. This is best for people who only have a slight issue and are healthy both mentally and physically, if you suffer from seizures or have suffered from seizures in the past private home detoxes are not recommended. It can only happen if your home environment is safe enough to help you stop and your health is considered good enough. You should also have someone to care for you, while you recover, and the situation should be reviewed if this changes.

Inpatients, on the other hand, usually involve staying at a hospital, clinic, or rehab centre. A person will live at the location for several weeks or months and will receive help at all times to reduce symptoms and boost recovery. This is preferred for people whose home factors are affecting their alcohol issues, or if your withdrawal symptoms are proving to be difficult to manage or handle at home. Inpatient addiction treatment is often more effective because you will be monitored for most of the day and you will have access to potent medications that won’t be available if you detox at home.

How Long Will Detoxing from Alcohol Take?

Alcohol detox starts within hours of your last drink. However, without professional assistance and medications, people find it easy to relapse. The duration of a full program will depend on how severe your withdrawal symptoms are.

Factors that could affect your alcohol detox and rehab treatment timeline include:

  • How serious your alcohol consumption?
  • How long you have been abusing alcohol.
  • How often you drink.
  • Other substances taken while drinking.
  • The weight and age of a person.
  • Mental health concerns.

It’s important to remember that detox is just the first step to serious detoxing from alcohol and it can take several weeks and months or multiple tries in order to fully rid yourself of a drinking problem.

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Where Can I Go And Find Professional Help?

There’s plenty of help available and various treatment options to help you beat your dependency problem. If you feel that you or a loved one needs rehab treatment for alcoholism, then call us on 0203 955 7700 24 hours a day for advice on the process to combat it. Calls are completely free, and you’ll be put through to a friendly non-judgemental and professional person that you can call and speak to anonymously for help regarding your situation. It is time to get your life back and start living again, call now.

CALL 0203 955 7700 OR REQUEST A CALLBACK

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)


    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.