Alcohol Detox Programs: Why They’re Necessary

People who drink heavily for a long period of time will become physically dependent on alcohol, making it very difficult to quit drinking on their own. Quitting ‘cold turkey’ can cause physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe. Without assistance and support, a person who is alcohol dependent will have a very hard time stopping drinking. That’s why alcohol detox programs are a necessary step in any recovery process.

Why is Alcohol Detox Necessary?

An alcohol detox program is necessary for two reasons. First, detoxifying the body rids the body of any substance residue. Without detoxing, alcohol can remain in the body and hinder the recovery process. Second, alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous for people who are severely dependent on alcohol. In some cases, sudden withdrawal from alcohol can lead to long-lasting psychological effects and even death. Receiving professionally supervised alcohol detox can help minimize withdrawal symptoms safely

People who engage in moderate alcohol consumption can usually perform the detoxification process at home through an outpatient program. This should not be attempted, however, without first speaking to a medical professional. Heavy drinkers and drinkers who experience severe withdrawal symptoms, hallucinations, or who abuse multiple substances, should detoxify in an inpatient alcohol detox program.

What Can I Expect During Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox usually lasts 5 to 6 weeks. Depending on the severity of your alcohol dependence, withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours after your last drink and can last for several days. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include nausea, insomnia, hand tremors, anxiety, rapid pulse and increased sweating. In cases of extreme alcohol dependence and withdrawal, medication may be used. The most common drugs for alcohol detox are benzodiazepines, specifically Chlordiazepoxide. These medications can help relieve severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens (hallucinations), convulsions, black outs, anxiety and agitation.

Another important component of alcohol detox is nutritional counseling. Alcoholics often experience some form of malnutrition. To reverse this, you’ll be placed on a special diet that’s rich in proteins, fiber and fluids. Thiamin, or Vitamin B-12, deficiencies are also common. This can also be reversed with a diet rich in thiamin and supplemental oral or intravenous B-12 doses, if necessary.

How Can I Find an Alcohol Detox Program?

With the proper medical care and supervision, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be greatly reduced and even eliminated. Undergoing alcohol detox through an alcohol rehab treatment program will put you on the fast track to a healthy recovery, regardless of how long or chronic your alcohol abuse has been. Alcohol rehab will provide a variety of treatment options, including alcohol detox, counseling, group and individual therapy, education and family involvement.

There are many different types of alcohol rehabs to choose from, but the best type of treatment program is residential treatment. Residential treatment for alcohol abuse provides a structured environment that’s free of temptations and distractions, and provides round-the-clock care and support to help the individual focus on recovery. Residential treatment programs will provide supervised detoxification from alcohol, individual and group therapy to learn new ways to cope without using drugs, and holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation and equine therapies to heal the spirit and mind as well as the body.

Start the healing process today and ask an alcohol rehab how alcohol detox can give you back your body and your life.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.