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The safest place to detox from alcohol is in a professional facility. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous.
At-home detox without medical support poses potentially fatal health risks. Inpatient addiction treatment centers provide the best chance of long-term sobriety. Rarely is long-term recovery successful when someone tries to manage their addiction without professional support.
In addition to medical support services and inpatient alcohol rehab, support groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), can help with long-term recovery.
Inpatient alcohol detox offers a safe, medically supervised environment where someone addicted to alcohol can stop drinking. Participants live at the detox facility. Medical support and supervision are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Inpatient treatment has advantages and disadvantages.
The benefits of inpatient alcohol detox include:
As beneficial as inpatient detox is for many people, it’s not the best option for everyone.
The drawbacks of inpatient detox include:
Despite the downsides, many people need time away from their obligations to focus entirely on recovery. This is especially true during the initial detox phase of recovery. Relapse and medical complications are the highest at this time.
Inpatient addiction treatment is very effective. It’s the right option for people who want the best possible chance of recovery. However, it isn’t for everyone.
Inpatient addiction treatment is ideal for those who:
The primary focus of inpatient alcohol detox is to safely remove alcohol from the body and manage related withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
Additionally, inpatient alcohol detox programs include:
The first stage of detox is a medical evaluation. Medical professionals evaluate the person’s overall mental and physical health. This usually includes a blood test and screening for physical issues and co-occurring mental health disorders.
The information collected allows doctors to tailor the detox approach to the person’s individual needs.
The next step of detox is to stabilize the person. This usually includes medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms. This step can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks.
The purpose of detox is to prepare the person for rehab. As they begin this transition, the rehab team ensures they understand their options regarding therapy, support groups, and long-term treatment.
When people enter treatment, they should be prepared to:
Alcohol detox usually takes about 1 to 3 weeks.
Most people remain in inpatient rehab programs for 1 to 3 months. This not only includes detox, but also weeks of therapy, counseling, relapse prevention, and more.
Medically-assisted alcohol detox uses prescription medications to:
Alcohol detox is a dangerous and unpleasant process. People enduring alcohol detox may experience seizures, tremors, and more.
Controlling these symptoms, even when they are mild to moderate, reduces the risks associated with detox.
Medications used during alcohol detox include muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety medications, and sedatives. These medications can cause negative physical symptoms when mixed with alcohol.
Some of the most common medications prescribed during detox include:
Here are some other options for alcohol detox:
It is possible to detox from alcohol at home, but medical professionals do not recommend doing so. This is because alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous or even deadly. Symptoms include shaking, tremors, and confusion.
Ideally, anyone addicted to alcohol will have inpatient medical supervision 24 hours a day as they detox.
Inpatient programs are far safer than at-home detox.
Outpatient alcohol detox offers treatment during the day and allows participants to return home at night. These programs vary in intensity and frequency. Most require daily participation but are never 24/7.
Outpatient detox addiction treatment is preferable to inpatient programs when someone has obligations outside of treatment.
These programs can be intense and effective but offer more flexibility than inpatient programs.
PHP is a blend of inpatient and outpatient detox support. Participants spend most of their day in their program but return home in the evening.
Usually, these are not detox programs but serve as a transition between inpatient detox and outpatient recovery.
If you’re looking for a detox program for alcohol addiction, there are several things to consider.
For example, does the program:
It can be helpful to make a list of your needs so you know what you’re looking for. You can then discuss this list with a doctor or counselor.
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