I Want to Detox Off Alcohol, Where Do I Go?

If you’ve recently quit drinking alcohol after a period of heavy drinking, or someone you love is going through a similar situation, the idea of recovery might seem overwhelming. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and it holds millions of people hostage in the US alone. Every alcohol recovery starts with a process called detoxification or detox. However, not every detox process looks the same. If you would like help during the detox phase, you have a few different options.

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In 2015, over 15 million adults in the US had an alcohol use disorder.


Detox and Withdrawal

During detox, the alcohol exits the individual’s body. The process often starts within hours of the last drink. How long will it take to end? That depends on the person. Many alcoholics take about a week to detox, although some with more severe drinking problems may take much longer.

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Roughly half of all people who go through alcohol detox experience symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal happens because of alcohol dependence. When a person abuses alcohol for a long time, his or her body gets used to operating under the influence of the substance. The central nervous system has to work especially hard to keep the body awake and moving. When the individual stops drinking, the central nervous system keeps working overtime because it doesn’t realize that it doesn’t have to do that anymore. As a result, the individual may experience any of the problems from the list below:

  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches

In rare cases, a person may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms called Delirium Tremens, or DTs. DTs come with many of the above symptoms but also include hallucinations and other delusions, as well as the potential for seizures.

Medical vs. Home Detox

Those who are undergoing detox have two choices: medical detox or home detox. While it is possible to detox from home, this is not the recommended method. Those who do choose to detox from home should take several steps to ensure a success. First, they should make sure that they have a strong support network of friends and family so that they don’t have to deal with the symptoms alone. They should also make sure – ideally with the help of the support network – that they’ll have absolutely no access to alcohol during detox. Finally, they should have an emergency plan in mind.

About 6.7 percent of adults who had AUD in the past year received treatment.


If at all possible, a person who has stopped drinking should seek out medical detox.

Medical detox is the doctor-recommended method for several reasons. The most important is that detox can be dangerous. In case of emergency, such as a seizure, trained medical staff will be available immediately. Even during an uneventful detox, medical facilities can give patients a sense of comfort and safety during this difficult process. It’s important to research detox facilities and find the option that fits best with your circumstances and budget.


During medical detox, a doctor may also prescribe benzodiazepines to help ease withdrawal symptoms. What are benzodiazepines? Most people know them by their brand names like Xanax or Valium. These anti-anxiety medications slow down the central nervous system, effectively telling the brain and body to relax. This effect allows an alcoholic’s overworked system to realize that it’s allowed to quit working as hard as it’s been working. As a result, symptoms like anxiety, agitation, and insomnia are all reduced.

Where to Start

All of these options may seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you find a place to start. At Rehab Info, we consult with addicted people and their families so that they can find the right options.

We’ll help you navigate your options so that you can make the right choice.

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