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What to Expect at an Alcohol Detox Center

a group supports each other in an alcohol detox center

The terms “alcoholism” and “heavy drinking” are ambiguous and not used in clinical settings. In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), the mental health issue involving problematic alcohol use is alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, no matter which term is used to describe the struggle with alcohol addiction, overcoming it almost always starts with an alcohol detox program. Looking for an alcohol detox program in California? Contact DetoxLA today by calling 818.616.7341 or reaching out to our team online.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Addiction?

Of course, everyone knows that alcohol is a strong addictive substance that’s legal and easily accessible—unlike, for example, benzodiazepines or opioids. Before talking about what to expect at an alcohol detox center, it may be beneficial to first talk about signs of alcohol addiction.

You or someone you care about may be struggling with alcohol addiction, but you may not even be aware that the situation is happening. Alcohol is everywhere in the U.S.—it’s served at bars and restaurants, made available for purchase at groceries or convenience stores, and is a normal part of many celebrations. It’s not uncommon to see someone having two drinks or more in public or their home.

However, there are some signs of alcohol addiction—or, at least, a problem with drinking alcohol—you can watch out for, such as the following:

  • Becoming distressed at the prospect of not having alcohol access
  • Being in denial about the extent of alcohol misuse
  • Being secretive about the extent of the alcohol misuse to protect it
  • Diverting energy from relationships, responsibilities, and routines to drink alcohol
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Impaired memory and thinking
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Wanting to stop drinking alcohol but not managing to do so

When a person who regularly drinks alcohol stops drinking or significantly reduces their intake, they will also experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can arise as soon as two hours after the last drink, and as long as the person remains sober, they can continue for weeks. Symptoms can include anxiety, shaking, and strong alcohol cravings. Delirium tremens (DTs)—a severe set of withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening—include confusion, fever, and rapid heartbeat.

These withdrawal symptoms are why rehab specialists recommend that patients with AUD get admitted into alcohol detox centers to undergo medical detox. The latter makes the detox process less complicated and easier to handle for patients.

What Should You Expect from an Alcohol Detox Center?

Now that you know how to spot a developing alcohol addiction, you may wonder what you can expect at an alcohol detox center. First, detoxification alone isn’t a cure for AUD. There is no established cure for any addiction. Comprehensive addiction treatment teaches patients how to maintain their sobriety throughout their lives, which comes with learning how to manage their addictive behaviors and avoid triggers. Therefore, if you or someone you care about wants to overcome an alcohol addiction, a stint at an alcohol detox center must be followed by time spent participating in a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

Most alcohol detox centers provide services that help patients transition into programs like this after they’re stabilized and no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Some cases, though, may need continued administration of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Most severe cases of AUD require MAT during detox, as prescription medication can significantly reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms. The latter may be discomforting, painful, or even life-threatening. For many people struggling with alcohol addiction, MAT helps them stabilize and be ready for further addiction treatment faster.

When Should You Consider an Alcohol Detox Program?

If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol addiction, you should consider professional help. If the addiction is starting to disrupt relationships, responsibilities, and routines, it’s best to seek the help of professionals right away.

It’s not enough to try and go cold turkey; in many cases, it can even cause significant pain or threaten your life if you try this route. Going to an alcohol detox center is the ideal first step on an addiction recovery path. An alcohol detox program gives patients the support they need throughout the process. Being at an alcohol detox center also provides patients with safety and security during this very vulnerable time in their lives. Most alcohol detox centers also help patients with the rest of the continuum of addiction treatment they need to go through—from assessment to diagnosis, from detox to psychotherapy, and more.

Learn More About DetoxLA’s Alcohol Detox Program

If you’re searching for an alcohol detox program in California, contact DetoxLA today. Call 818.616.7341 or reach out to our team online.