New Jersey Alcohol Detox
The Sobering Truth About Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol dependence, abuse, and addiction—often referred to simply as alcoholism—is a serious and complex disease affecting thousands of people in the United States. However, many people with alcohol abuse disorder are able to successfully detox and recover from a life of alcohol dependence. The first step in the recovery process is having the strength and courage to recognize one’s alcohol abuse.
If you believe you may be struggling to control your drinking, or if you are concerned about a loved one, know that simply recognizing that there may be a problem is an important and commendable step. You should also know that recovery is possible. With SOBA New Jersey, you can navigate the alcohol detox process safely and effectively before going on to continue your recovery with our customizable alcohol addiction treatment programs.
Contact us online or call (888) 229-7989 today to speak to one of our compassionate and knowledgeable admissions specialists.
You might think that quitting entirely (“cold turkey”) is the safest thing to do. While it’s true that chronic drinkers should stop, they might need medical supervision in the process. In some cases, suddenly stopping all drinking could lead to negative or potentially life-threatening complications.
A recent article published by USA Today highlights the fact that quitting alcohol can be deadly. Hundreds of people die each day from alcohol abuse, and that doesn’t come as a surprise. Yet, of the 16 million Americans with alcohol use disorder, hundreds die each year when they quit drinking.
Let’s take a closer look at what alcohol addiction is, what alcohol withdrawal syndrome is, what the symptoms are, and how to survive detox and get sober.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When someone who drinks alcohol regularly and is dependent on it suddenly stops, they may develop withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may look like a regular hangover, but they’re much more serious.
Within 6 to 24 hours after their last drink, the alcohol-dependent person will likely begin to experience some of the following symptoms:
- Emotional/mood disturbances such as anxiety, mood swings, and agitation
- High blood pressure, elevated body temperature, and increased sweating
- Sleep disturbances or insomnia
- Pain in the abdomen
- Heart palpitations or alterations in heart rate
- Disorientation, confusion, or fogginess
- Fever (mild or high temperature)
- Disorientation, deliriousness, and hallucinations
Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal?
Yes, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be fatal to someone who has used and abused alcohol over a long period. The symptoms are far worse than what a social drinker might experience after having too many drinks on rare occasions.
The most severe and deadliest symptoms include:
- Uncontrolled vomiting
- Delirium tremens (DT’s)
- Dangerously high heart rate and blood pressure
- Severe dehydration
Even after the acute withdrawal period, alcohol abuse can lead to long-term health problems that can be life-threatening. Pancreatitis is a painful condition that can be fatal if not treated. Symptoms can include severe stomach pain and vomiting.
Alcohol abuse has also been implicated in some cancers. Alcohol use accounts for about 6% of all cancers and 4% of all cancer deaths in the United States.
Chronic alcohol use can also cause significant legal issues. Every day, 29 people in the U.S. die in car crashes involving drunk drivers, and 1.5 million people are arrested every year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How to Withdraw from Alcohol Safely
Safely withdrawing from alcohol is crucial. The safest way to withdraw is under the care of medical or professional rehabilitation staff. These individuals are experienced in dealing with all levels of withdrawal symptoms and will be able to offer medical or emotional support during uncomfortable moments. They will also be there to respond immediately should a medical emergency arise.
Inpatient Alcohol Detox
So, what happens during alcohol detox? The first step is an initial evaluation. A staff member will take the patient’s blood pressure, check for signs of dehydration, and test for the presence of alcohol in the blood and urine. The patient will also be asked a series of questions to determine their alcohol use. This information will help medical personnel evaluate the patient’s level of dependency and the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
While every patient is different, the alcohol detox and withdrawal process generally lasts for three to seven days. The patient will be closely monitored to make sure they don’t experience life-threatening seizures or convulsions. A doctor may prescribe medications to prevent the most serious complications and help the patient feel more comfortable during the process.
Some of these medications may include:
- Benzodiazepines: A class of anti-anxiety medications that are used to prevent seizures, convulsions, and DTs; common names include Librium and Ativan
- Anticonvulsants: May also be prescribed to prevent seizures
- Antipsychotics: Used to prevent delusions and hallucinations
Someone with alcohol dependency issues should understand that medical detox is only the first step in the treatment process. Once you have completed detox, it is important that you continue with an alcohol addiction treatment program.
What Happens After Alcohol Detox?
Once an individual has successfully completed alcohol detox, the next step is to participate in residential rehab and/or an outpatient program. In some cases, residential (inpatient) treatment is recommended. This is often appropriate when an individual is struggling with severe addiction or dependency issues and has the means to live fulltime in a treatment facility. This allows the individual to receive the intensive care and support they need, as well as 24-hour access to medical professionals, addiction specialists, and clinicians.
Once an individual has completed short-term residential rehab, or when inpatient care is not recommended/appropriate, the next step is attending an outpatient program. With an outpatient program, the individual continues to live (and sleep) at home. However, they are required to attend a certain number of treatments and therapy sessions for several hours a day, multiple times a week at a treatment facility. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) require individuals to undergo more hours of treatment each week than standard outpatient programs (SOPs).
The exact type of inpatient and/or outpatient care you will need to successfully recover from alcohol addiction depends on numerous factors, including the severity of the addiction, the amount of alcohol consumed, your personal health history, and more. At SOBA New Jersey, we personalize our New Jersey alcohol detox and treatment programs to suit the specific needs of each individual client. Our addiction specialists can tailor your treatment and set you up for long-term sobriety.
Helping You on the Path to Healing
The ultimate goal of alcohol detox and treatment is to help people struggling with alcohol abuse, dependency, and addiction achieve lasting sobriety so that they can go on to lead full, happy, and healthy lives. At SOBA New Jersey, we strive to provide each and every client with the tools, resources, and support they need to build a solid foundation in their recovery. We even provide free transportation for those within a five-hour drive of our alcohol detox facility in New Brunswick, NJ who cannot find transportation.
If you want to detox from alcohol or know someone with alcohol withdrawal symptoms, we can help. SOBA New Jersey is an alcohol rehabilitation center providing comprehensive addiction treatment and mental health services.
Getting the care you deserve makes all the difference in your recovery; call us today at (888) 229-7989 or contact us online today to learn more. We are available 24/7 to assist you.
Recognizing & Treating Alcohol Dependence
Alcohol dependence truly is a disease, and sometimes it can be hard to recognize.
There are many indicators that you or a loved one may be suffering from alcoholism, including:
- Frequently drinking more alcohol than you had initially planned to drink
- Consuming alcohol during work hours or during the day
- Hiding the amount of alcohol you are consuming or the frequency of consumption
- Losing your memory or experiencing blackouts due to drinking
- Experiencing feelings of unease or discomfort when you are around alcohol
- Suffering emotional, financial, or legal difficulties due to excessive drinking
- Not being able to take a break from drinking alcohol
- Suffering from tremors and shakes when you are not under the influence of alcohol
- Constantly or excessively thinking about alcohol
- Drinking while driving or operating machinery
- Feeling guilty about the amount of alcohol you consume
- Experiencing physical symptoms, such as gastrointestinal issues due to drinking
- Drinking alone
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of alcohol dependence symptoms, these are some of the signs that someone may be suffering from alcohol addiction. Turning to a treatment center is a great way to begin working through your alcohol dependency and begin taking control of your life.
At times, you can feel lost and confused when struggling with addiction or mental health. Our team understands what you are going through and works with you to reclaim the life you deserve.