Alcohol Detox

The Basis of Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Detox is the first step in recovery, and it can be a difficult and uncomfortable process. However, detox is also an essential part of recovery, and it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the right kind of help

If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use disorder. You may have already tried to quit drinking on your own but found that experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms were too difficult to manage. Thankfully, there are a number of medications that can help ease the psychological and physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and make detoxing from alcohol safer and more comfortable.

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Keep reading to learn about alcohol use disorder, some of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and why an alcohol detox might be the right choice for you or a loved one.

Alcohol Abuse – The Warning Signs

Alcohol Abuse

Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada offers all types of treatment programs, including detox for drugs and alcohol, inpatient programs, and various outpatient programs. Whatever your needs are, we’re here to help.

Alcohol dependency is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences if left untreated. There are many warning signs of alcohol addiction, but some of the most common include:

  • Binge drinking of any form of alcohol
  • Drinking more alcohol or for a longer period of time than intended
  • Repeatedly trying to quit drinking or cut back without success
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Giving up important activities in order to drink
  • Drinking heavily even when it results in problems at work, school, or home
  • Continuing alcohol use even when it causes relationship problems
  • Experiencing legal problems because of drinking too much alcohol
  • Drinking despite having health problems that are worsened by alcohol
  • An inability to stop drinking completely even though you want to

Additionally, there are four other primary symptoms of alcohol addiction, including the following.

Alcohol Cravings

Craving is an intense desire to drink. Someone struggling with alcohol use disorder will often feel as though they cannot function without alcohol.

Loss of Control over Drinking

Loss of control is when an alcoholic cannot stop drinking once they start. They may try to limit themselves to one drink but end up drinking more.

Physical Dependence on Alcohol

Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes used to alcohol and withdraws from it when there is no alcohol present. You may experience some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including shaking, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.

Increased Tolerance

Tolerance means that the person needs to drink more alcohol to feel the same effects as they did when they first started drinking.

If you are experiencing a severe form of withdrawal symptoms, it’s a good idea to seek immediate medical attention. Alcohol addiction is a serious problem, but there is hope. By attending a treatment facility, you can regain control and live a sober, fulfilling life.

The Dangers of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol dependence is a serious problem in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 28 million people in the United States had an alcohol use disorder in 2020. Long-term alcohol use takes a toll on your whole body. It can damage your liver, causing abnormal liver function, and damage your pancreas and heart.

Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

It can also weaken your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infection and disease. Alcohol substance abuse can also lead to cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, liver, and breast. If you drink heavily for a long time, you’re also at an increased risk for a stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

In addition to the physical dangers of chronic alcohol use and abuse, there are also social dangers. People with severe alcohol dependence are more likely to experience job loss and financial difficulties and have trouble with friends and family.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drinking, it’s important to seek help from our medical professionals as soon as possible. There are many resources available that can help you quit drinking for good.

Alcohol Detox Process

When you’re addicted to alcohol, giving it up is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But it’s also one of the most rewarding. If you’re ready to take that step, you need to know what to expect from detox and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The first thing you should know is that they vary from person to person. Some people experience mild withdrawal symptoms while others have severe symptoms that can be life-threatening. The most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens (DTs) are a type of more severe withdrawal symptom. Delirium Tremens can cause intense and life-threatening symptoms, including seizures and hallucinations. They typically start one to two days after a person stops drinking, but in some cases, they may start as early as a few hours after your last drink. Delirium tremens is more severe if you have a history of heavy drinking or alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Someone with DTs may experience life-threatening symptoms and should be considered a medical emergency, and you should get help from a medical professional as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of delirium tremens?

The symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Severe confusion
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever
  • Intense sweating
  • Shaking or tremor
  • Sleep problems
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch

How is delirium tremens treated?

The goal of treatment is to stop severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and manage complications. Treatment typically begins in a hospital due to the severity of symptoms and the risk for complications such as seizures. Medications may be used to help with symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, hallucinations, and delusions.

After successful detox and substance abuse treatment, it is important to stay away from alcohol completely in order to avoid having delirium tremens again in the future.

Alcohol Detox Timeline: How Long Does It Take?

There’s no definitive alcohol withdrawal timeline, as the length of alcohol detox will vary depending on several factors, including the severity of alcohol consumption, the individual’s physiology, and whether any other drug abuse is present. In general, however, most people will start to experience mild symptoms within 6-12 hours after their last drink, with peak withdrawal symptoms occurring 24-48 hours later.

Just as with the time taken to develop alcoholism, the timeline for alcohol detox is somewhat variable. The most typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, agitation, tremors, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and delirium tremens.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Here is a general alcohol withdrawal timeline that most people can expect to experience when going through alcohol detox.

Days 1-4:

The early stage of alcohol detox is often the most difficult. During this time, you may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens, anxiety, nausea, and headaches. You may also find it difficult to sleep.

Days 5-7

By day 5 or 6 of alcohol detox, most people start to feel physically and emotionally better. Energy levels increase slightly, and withdrawal symptoms begin to dissipate.

Days 8-9

By the end of the first week of alcohol detox, most people are feeling much better physically and see a decrease in withdrawal symptoms. They’re sleeping better, they have a bit more energy, and most of the more serious symptoms are almost gone.

Detoxifying from alcohol is a process that takes time. Depending on the individual’s situation, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week for the body to completely rid itself of alcohol. However, just because the physical detoxification process is over does not mean that recovery is complete. The real treatment begins after detox.

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What is the Post-Acute Withdrawal Phase of Alcohol Detox?

Many people are familiar with the acute phase of alcohol withdrawal, which is experienced in the hours to days after a person’s last drink. However, what happens after the acute phase is often not as well-known. The post-acute withdrawal phase of alcohol withdrawal refers to the prolonged symptoms that occur after the acute phase has passed. These withdrawal symptoms can last for months or even years and can be just as debilitating as the acute phase.

Symptoms of Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

The symptoms of post-acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms, often known as post-acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome, can vary from person to person, but there are some common symptoms that many people experience. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Mood Swings
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Memory and concentration problems

You might experience some of these medical complications and alcohol withdrawal symptoms while you’re still in detox, but they should start to dissipate within a few days or weeks. If they don’t, that’s when PAWS might set in. Symptoms of post-acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from mild symptoms to severe symptoms, and they can last for weeks, months, or even years in some cases.

Medications Used During Alcohol Medical Detox

Medications Used During Alcohol Medical Detox

If you are looking for drug and alcohol rehab, it is important to know the different types of medications that are used in detox and alcohol withdrawal. This will allow you to make an informed decision about which type of addiction treatment is right for you.


Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Common benzodiazepines used for alcohol withdrawal include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).

Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows down the nervous system. This can help to reduce anxiety, seizures, and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines are typically only used for a short period of time during detox because they can be addictive.


Anticonvulsants are often used to treat seizure disorders. However, they can also be effective in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Anticonvulsants work by reducing the excitability of neurons in the brain. This can help to reduce withdrawal seizures and other severe withdrawal symptoms.


Barbiturates are a type of medication that acts on the central nervous system. They are typically used as sedatives or anesthesia but can also be effective in treating alcohol withdrawal. Barbiturates work by depressing the central nervous system, which can help to reduce seizures and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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Other Mental Health Services and Treatment During Detox

When most people think of detox, they think of drug and alcohol withdrawal. However, there is much more to the detox process than abstaining from substances. In order to truly rid your body of toxins, your professional treatment team will likely consider other treatments that will address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of alcohol use disorder and detox. Here are a few common treatments during inpatient detox at our Las Vegas facilities.

Nutritional Counseling

An important aspect of detox (and substance abuse in general) is nutrition. When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, your diet is likely to suffer. Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to fatigue, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

During detox, it is important to eat a nutritious diet in order to rebuild your strength and heal your body. Nutritional counseling can help you identify which foods will help you feel your best during this time and can teach you how to prepare healthy meals.


Exercise can be another important aspect of detox. Physical activity releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Exercise can also help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and promote overall physical health. During detox, it is important to find an exercise routine that works for you and stick with it in order to stay physically and mentally healthy – even if it’s just going for a walk down the hallway.


Patients will typically participate in both individual and group therapy sessions. Individual therapy provides patients with a space to discuss their experiences and feelings with a trained counselor or certified addiction professional in a one-on-one setting. Group therapy provides an opportunity for patients to share their experiences with other people who are going through similar challenges. These groups are usually led by a counselor or therapist.

individual therapy

What Happens After Alcohol Detox?

After you’ve successfully completed alcohol withdrawal and detox, you’ll need to continue your journey to recovery by participating in a rehabilitation program. This will give you the tools and support you need to stay sober in the long term.

Rehabilitation programs vary in length and intensity, but they all share one common goal: helping you to achieve and maintain sobriety. During rehab, you’ll participate in individual and group therapy sessions, learn about addiction and recovery, and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with triggers and cravings. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop a support network of supportive people who understand what you’re going through.

After completing a rehabilitation program, you’ll need to continue working on your sobriety every day. This means attending support group meetings, participating in therapy, and making lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers and substances that can lead to relapse. Recovery is a lifelong process, but it’s one that’s worth every effort. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve sobriety and live a happy, healthy life.

Medications Used After Alcohol Detox

There are a number of effective medications that can be prescribed to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.


Antabuse is a medication that is typically used to treat alcoholism by discouraging drinking. Antabuse causes unpleasant side effects (similar to alcohol withdrawal symptoms) such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches when alcohol is consumed. These side effects make it less likely that someone will drink while taking Antabuse


Naltrexone is a medication that is typically used to treat alcoholism by reducing cravings for alcohol. It blocks the brain’s receptors for endorphins, which reduces cravings for alcohol. Naltrexone is usually taken once a day in pill form but it can also be given as a monthly injectable.


Acamprosate is a medication that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcoholism. It works by helping to restore normal brain function in people who stop drinking alcohol. It does this by reducing cravings and preventing relapse.

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How To Choose the Best Alcohol Detox Program

If you or a loved one is looking for an alcohol detox program, it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your specific situation. There are many factors to consider when making this decision, and it is important to take your time to find the right program. Consider the following when making your decision:

What Are Your Needs?

The first thing you need to do when choosing an alcohol detox program is to assess your needs. What are the reasons you are seeking out a detox program? Has your alcohol intake gotten out of control?

Maybe you were court-ordered to attend a detox program as part of your sentence for a DUI. Regardless of the reason, it’s important that you find a program that meets your specific needs.

Cost of the Detox Program

Another important factor to consider when choosing an alcohol detox program is your budget. Detox programs can vary widely in price, so it’s important to find one that fits within your budget. Some programs may be covered by insurance, while others may require payment in full upfront.

Don’t let cost be the sole deciding factor in choosing a detox program, but do make sure you are realistic about what you can afford. There are many high-quality programs available at a variety of price points, so there is no need to settle for something that is outside of your budget.

Location of the Detox Facility

Something else to consider is where the treatment centers are located. You will need to decide whether you would like to stay close to home or go away to a detox and substance abuse treatment facility.

One of the biggest benefits of staying near home for inpatient detox is that you’ll have support from your loved ones. If you’re coming from a stable, supportive environment, being close to home can provide much-needed emotional stability during a difficult time.

If you choose to stay near home for inpatient detox, you’ll also have the advantage of local knowledge. You’ll be familiar with the area and won’t have to worry about getting lost or not knowing where to go for help if you need it. This can be a big benefit if you’re feeling anxious or stressed about treatment.

Another benefit of staying close to home for inpatient detox is that it will likely be less expensive than traveling to treatment centers. If you have health insurance, your plan may only cover treatment at in-network facilities, which may be limited if you’re looking at out-of-state options. Staying local also means you won’t have to pay for travel costs like airfare or gas money.

Traveling Out of State for Detox

Traveling Out of State for Detox

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to staying close to home for detox inpatient care. One downside is that you may be tempted to leave early if your home is nearby. This is especially true if you’re dealing with triggers like old friends who still use drugs or alcohol or living in an area where drug use is prevalent. It’s important to have a solid support system in place before beginning detox so that you can successfully resist any temptation to leave treatment early.

Another potential disadvantage of staying close to home for detox is that you may not have as many options available. If there are only a few facilities nearby, you may not be able to find one that meets all of your needs (e.g., specializes in your addiction, uses a certain type of therapy, etc.). In this case, traveling for treatment can give you access to the specific program that’s right for you.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you should be able to narrow down your choices and find the alcohol detox program that is right for you.

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Contact Us Today for Help with Alcohol Detox

Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol intake, it’s important to seek help from medical professionals. Detox is the first step in treatment, and it’s crucial to detox under medical supervision.

At Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada, our team of experts will provide around-the-clock care and support to help you through the detox process. We understand how difficult this time can be, but we’ll be with you every step of the way.

We understand that addiction is a difficult and sensitive subject. We also know that seeking help is often a hard first step. That’s why we want to assure you that all phone calls to our treatment facility are completely confidential.

With our help, you can start on the road to recovery and begin rebuilding your life. Contact Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada today!