What happens during alcohol detox?

Abusing alcohol consistently, to the point where a habit has materialised will result in a significant build-up. Internally, the body will involuntarily accommodate such build-up, as will the brain.

Both physical and psychological adaptations, at this point, will have occurred, causing alcohol cravings, causing an unhealthy connection, and for some, causing an addiction.

Such build-up will still be present for those without a recognisable alcohol addiction diagnosis. Traces of alcohol can remain internally, placing stress on vital organs, destabilising the production of hormones and chemicals, and increasing the need for ongoing alcohol consumption.

In the event of such build-up, an alcohol detox will be essential, to help disrupt internal accommodation while changing psychological outlooks and habits of consumption.

With the requirement to remove toxins from the body, to allow for a fresh start, alcohol detoxification will be the best step moving forward, through a safe, medically structured detox programme.

If you’re struggling with alcohol problems, with excessive consumption rates or with alcoholism, completing an alcohol detox will be encouraged, sometimes followed by alternative addiction treatment if suitable.

To help make such a step approachable, here’s our take on ‘what happens during alcohol detox?’, from the expected timeline of withdrawal to alcohol detox symptoms to consider.

At Step One Recovery, we’re here to support, offer direction and facilitate addiction treatment services, such as alcohol detoxification through our treatment centres.

Reach out to begin your withdrawal and/or addiction recovery process, usually starting with alcohol detox.


Alcohol detox as an essential step

Going cold turkey may seem like an easier way out from the build-up of alcohol. Yet, through switching off consistent consumption, there’s a high chance that both the body and brain will experience uncontrollable shock. Through such shock, excessive withdrawal symptoms are common, making it hard to remain sober.

Instead, completing an alcohol detox is in fact the easier option here, also standing as essential.

It’s easier than going it alone as it provides a medically structured programme of withdrawal, which helps to ease withdrawal symptoms, which helps to regulate normal functionality, and which helps to sustainably reduce alcohol intake.

Alcohol detox is essential in order to reduce consumption rates or to completely withdraw from alcohol. The body must go through a detoxification process to slowly adjust to lower levels of alcohol, with the aim of removing all traces.

For those on the addiction recovery journey, it’s also necessary for a clean slate to be aimed for, to improve health, to promote disconnect and to showcase how sobriety can be achieved.

An alcohol detox allows for such goals to be achieved on a physical level, fulfilling one of the battles of alcohol addiction recovery.

If you’re living with a drinking problem, believe your consumption is unhealthy or experience the signs of alcoholism, here’s all you need to know about withdrawal as we answer, ‘what happens during alcohol detox?’.


What happens during alcohol detox?

From the timeline of withdrawal to expected symptoms, here’s how to detox from alcohol alongside a specialist treatment centre.


Alcohol detox timeline

Commonly, an alcohol detox will commence any form of treatment when considering substance abuse or alcoholism. This is down to the fact that the body will firstly need to disconnect, to some degree, to focus on deeper forms of treatment.

Alcohol detox will focus on reducing and cutting off exposure to and the consumption of alcohol yet through a safe and monitored process. Usually, symptoms of withdrawal showcase themselves within the first 6-12 hours post-consumption.

As the body and brain begin to realise that usual tolerances are unfulfilled, signs of shock can amount, through the likes of anxiety, headaches, insomnia, irritability and digestive issues.

The alcohol detox timeline develops quickly, where withdrawal symptoms can advance towards hallucinogenic effects, high blood pressure and greater stress, usually experienced by the 24-hour mark.

If a significant withdrawal is taking place, over the coming days, withdrawal symptoms can heighten, where tremens, where increased anxiety, where vomiting, where irregular body temperature and heart rate, and where significant disorientation are common.

While such alcohol detox symptoms can be viewed as aggressive, through a medically structured detox programme, health will be upheld, where comfort will be aimed for through complimenting treatment services.

It’s also important to remember that withdrawal is necessary to recover, where a short experience of symptoms will increase the opportunity of recovery.


How long does alcohol detox take?

The alcohol detox process will usually take around a week to work through. Symptoms of withdrawal will usually have their greatest effect a few days in, where symptoms will then start to ease and stabilise towards the end of this timeframe.

It is very important to understand that if dealt with correctly, that withdrawal symptoms are temporary and can be manageable.

Yet without support, withdrawal symptoms can leave a permanent mark of health issues or ongoing alcohol abuse.


Alcohol detox symptoms

When answering ‘what happens during alcohol detox?’, many individuals do place concerns on the intensity of detox symptoms. We must highlight how withdrawal symptoms cannot be prompted, cannot be forecasted, and cannot be set for you.

However, it is wise to prepare for alcohol detox symptoms, understand potential side effects, and also appreciate their short-lived presence if dealt with correctly.

Symptoms can range from mild to chronic depending on the individual, their health and the degree of alcohol build-up.

Through a safe detoxification centre, working through symptoms will be possible, where alcohol detox medication may even be used to suppress symptoms and elevate recovery capabilities.


Additional addiction treatment

Completing an alcohol detox can help to promote physical disconnect. For some individuals, this will be enough to work through such build-up and reduce/stop consumption.

Yet for those with alcohol addiction, additional treatment will be necessary to work on psychological recovery and relapse prevention. Therapy will be the greatest form of treatment to work alongside a detox programme, to focus on evaluating emotional responses and changing them to reflect positive and resilient outlooks.

Within therapy, different forms can also be encountered to work through personal needs, side effects and causations. In most cases, an alcohol detox will however begin the recovery process, to reduce alcohol exposure, cravings and influences.

Whether you’re hoping to stop drinking or withdrawal is a requirement for you, we can assist through one of our affiliated treatment centres. Reach out for more information on ‘what happens during alcohol detox?’, to fully understand its value, effect and intentions on a personal level for you.

Alcohol detox should always be completed under medical supervision. Do so here at Step One Recovery.