Steps to Detox From Alcohol

Taking that initial step toward freedom from an alcohol use disorder is a game changer.  The fact that you are considering taking that step indicates your commitment to changing your life for the better by getting sober and learning to live without booze.  

Admittedly, this first step is dreaded by all who contemplate it—detox’s reputation for producing dreadful withdrawal symptoms preceding it.  The brave souls who have conquered that first benchmark in recovery have lived to tell the tale. But no matter how much discomfort is experienced during the steps to detox from alcohol, that pales in comparison to the future declines in health and wellbeing, and the mounting losses of everything valued if alcohol abuse is continued.

Once you have wrapped your head around the detox and withdrawal hurdle that lies ahead, it helps to have a basic understanding of what the alcohol detox process entails.  Although the basic steps to detox from alcohol are fairly consistent and predictable, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms will correlate with the history and acuity of the alcohol addiction.  

What Happens During Detox?

Alcohol abuse can take a devastating toll on the body and the brain.  Over time it sets up a physiological state where the brain no longer produces dopamine after consistent consumption of alcohol has altered brain chemistry over a prolonged period.  When someone who has a history of heavy alcohol use attempts to quit drinking, the body reacts within hours, producing very unpleasant physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification involves purging the toxins associated with the alcohol from the body, allowing the individual to stabilize over a period of a week to ten days.  Because addiction treatment will follow detox, it is necessary to begin the treatment with a clear head so the recovery tools and therapeutic process can be absorbed.  Detox can help set the stage for the therapy to sink in and resonate.

During the detox phase, the body goes through three distinct stages as it rids itself of the toxins and chemicals related to alcohol.  Various factors, such as length of alcohol addiction, amount of alcohol regularly consumed, genetics, age, general health, and the existence of a co-occurring mental health disorder all influence the severity of the withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Mood swings
  • Foggy thinking and mental confusion
  • Irritability
  • Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Seizure

Why Can Alcohol Detox Be Dangerous?

It is always recommended that alcohol detox and withdrawal be undergone at a dedicated facility with a detox clinician and nurse available.  Attempting to go through alcohol detox alone at home is misguided and potentially dangerous, as serious withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge, constituting a medical emergency that can result in death.

In a relatively small number of individuals undergoing alcohol detox a serious medical complication can emerge on days 3-4 of detox, called delirium tremens (DTs).  According statistics provided by the New England journal of Medicine, the DTs occur in 3%-5% of individuals going through detoxification.  The DTs come on rapidly and without warning and can lead to hallucinations, psychosis, grand mal convulsions, and severe confusion.

With a medically monitored detox, the individual will be guided through the process and offered various medications and interventions to minimize discomfort.  Any withdrawal symptoms that appear to be escalating will be treated swiftly and appropriately. Detox specialists also provide the important emotional support that helps encourage them to stay the course when they may consider giving up.

What are the Steps to Detox From Alcohol?

Alcohol detox begins with evaluation and assessment of the degree of an individual’s alcohol use disorder, and then segues into stabilization during the 5-10 days of detox when withdrawal symptoms cause physical and mental distress.  Although the severity will differ, the detox process follows a predictable pattern of three stages:

Stage 1:  Withdrawal symptoms commence about 6-8 hours after the last drink.  During this stage fatigue, heart palpitations, nausea and vomiting, tremors, foggy thinking, and anxiety are common.

Stage 2:  This stage occurs 1-3 days after the last alcoholic beverage.  During this stage symptoms of irregular heart rate, mental confusion, profuse sweating, irritability, mood disturbances, increased blood pressure and respiration, and fever emerge.

Stage 3:  This stage can occur between 3-7 days after the last alcoholic drink.  During this stage many of the symptoms in stage 2 will begin to subside, however serious complications can occur, including serious psychological effects or the sudden occurrence of the DTs.

During the medical detox, medications will be provided to ease symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, anxiety, insomnia, and fever.

What is PAWS?

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) are the lingering physical, psychological symptoms or mood disorders that can follow the initial detox and withdrawal process in individuals who have a long history of heavy alcohol abuse.  PAWS symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months after undergoing treatment for alcohol dependency, but will eventually subside. PAWS can include such symptoms as:

  • Tremors
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Intense craving
  • Lingering rapid heart rate, sweating, and nausea

Why Detox is Not Enough

As important as detox is to launching recovery, it is not a stand-alone treatment for addiction.  Detox sets up the mind and body for active participation in the therapy that will follow, during which new behavior responses will be learned to help manage triggers or stressors.  Treatment programs for alcohol addiction can be as short as one month and may last up to 6-12 months depending on the severity of the alcohol dependence.

Without participating in active treatment the disordered thought patterns that drive addictive behaviors will not have been changed.  As soon as the individual confronts a trigger, they will likely relapse into drinking without any new coping skills or stress management techniques to draw upon.  Detox and withdrawal are the first necessary step in addiction recovery, but certainly not the last.

Quest 2 Recovery Offers Medical Detox for Alcohol Dependency

Quest 2 Recovery is a holistically oriented drug and alcohol treatment center located in Los Angeles County.  Carefully guiding clients through the steps to detox from alcohol in a medically supervised setting, our detox specialists will ensure the highest degree of comfort and support.  The family style addiction treatment program that follows detox is evidence-based, compassionate, and highly effective. For more information about beating alcohol addiction, contact Quest 2 Recovery today at  (888) 453-9396.

Family Style Personalized Rehab for Chronic Relapser

For people in early recovery, some have beginner’s luck.  They may go through detox and withdrawal, successfully complete a 30-90 day rehab program, and then manage their recovery in such a way that the stars align and they do not relapse.  For others, the third time might be the charm. They find themselves stumble a couple of times in early recovery, but stabilized after a few short-lived relapses. Still others, however, may find that sustained recovery eludes them.  These individuals repeatedly concede to triggers and find themselves chronic relapsers.

Treatment and rehab for chronic relapser needs to be fine-tuned to address the factors at play with the repetitive relapses.  The treatment plan designed at a rehab for chronic relapsers should encompass strategic plans that target points of weakness, help develop better coping skills, and take a deeper look at underlying psychological issues that are still unresolved.  

What Causes Chronic Relapsing?

Chronic relapsing involves the repeated occurrence of falling back into drug or alcohol use following the successful completion of a treatment program.  There is usually no dearth of knowledge about addiction for the chronic relapser, as many of them have completed rehab more than once. They have been thoroughly schooled about how addiction impacts brain chemistry.  They have developed relapse prevention plans more than once. They may regularly attend 12-step meetings and truly desire to remain clean and sober.

However, for the individuals who find themselves once again actively using drugs or alcohol there is something missing.  Something just didn’t click, even with all that treatment. There are many possible reasons to point to regarding why someone continues to relapse.  Some of them include:

  • Insufficient length of stay at rehab.  Someone with a long history of addiction may need upwards of 3-12 months in treatment before they have been able to break down the old thought and behavior patterns and successfully replace them with new ones.  It may take that long for brain chemistry and brain pathways to be restored. Sobriety takes practice, so for many individuals a 30-day program is insufficient to create lasting change.
  • Underlying emotional issues or past traumas were not fully examined or resolved.  If the source of pain is not dealt with adequately chances are the addictive behaviors will return when the first trigger appears.  Rehabs need to place greater emphasis on this segment of the recovery process.
  • Individual experiences significant life events that trigger the need for the crutch of addiction.  This could involve child custody battles, sudden death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce—even a positive event that is stress-inducing can spark the need for the substance.
  • Not making adequate changes in lifestyle and environment.  Upon completion of a treatment program, it is helpful to make lifestyle changes that will help reinforce sobriety rather than skipping this step and triggering a relapse.  Ridding the home of substances, getting the family on board as a support system, making superficial changes in the living space so it doesn’t provoke memories of using or drinking, changing the group of people one surrounds themselves with, and avoiding situations that can be triggering are just some of the lifestyle changes that should be made.
  • Many chronic relapsers do not honestly believe they can stop using long-term, even though they desire this.  They may believe they are beyond repair, and harbor feelings of hopelessness, which can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • A coexisting mental health disorder that was not adequately treated in rehab.  A mood disorder can undermine recovery. Those with a co-occurring disorder should be treated at a rehab that specializes in dual diagnosis.  If the mood disorder is not medicated or managed, dependence on the substance to help ameliorate the symptoms will resume.
  • Although the individual has completed one or more treatment programs and is well educated about the disease of addiction, they may not have an adequate understanding of how to actually implement what they have learned into real life.
  • Chronic relapsers may be ambivalent about sobriety.  They know they should want to be clean and sober, that their lives would improve in all areas.  However, on some level they still desire the substance and have an internal battle between that desire and the desire for sobriety.

Rehab for Chronic Relapser

When faced with a chronic relapse the treatment plan must be extremely specialized.  Chronic relapsers are often manipulative, charming, passionate, and intelligent people who may be adept at working the therapists.  This individual needs at least 6 months in treatment if they are to overcome the addiction and avoid future relapses. They need a highly structured schedule and strict boundaries.  Family therapy is important as well, as family dysfunction and enabling behaviors must be treated as well. Chronic relapsers must be held accountable and treatment should focus on their actions, not just their feelings.

Doubling back and revisiting the gaps in prior treatment should be a top priority in rehab for chronic relapsers.  This would include:

  • Identifying the underlying sources of emotional pain, and processing those feelings through therapy to achieve resolution
  • Teaching more effective coping skills to improve resilience when exposed to triggers
  • Identify the reasons surrounding each relapse and learn a different approach for managing recovery
  • Use journaling to help identify thoughts and feelings that can be useful in bolstering recovery.  Jotting down reasons to be grateful for recovery, how it has or will benefit their life helps them not take recovery for granted. List goals in recovery.
  • Medically manage a co-occurring mental health disorder that was possibly overlooked or under-treated before.

Quest 2 Recovery Personalizes Rehab for Chronic Relapser

Quest 2 Recovery offers an intimate family-style approach to addiction recovery in a secluded, tranquil setting.  The treatment team fully understands the obstacles that can trip up even the most promising recovery, and can design a personalized treatment plan for the individual who relapses repeatedly.  Using a compassionate and evidence-based approach to overcoming chronic relapsing, the treatment team at Quest will zero in on the areas that can be further refined for a lasting recovery. For more information about rehab for chronic relapser and treatment programs, contact our admissions office today at (888) 453-9396.

Private and Secluded Drug Rehab Los Angeles

Human beings are like big onions, with layers and layers representing the various aspects of our beings that make us each unique.  Understanding the complex nature of each person is at the heart of a holistic approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Simply slapping a diagnostic label on someone and then pulling out a boilerplate treatment plan simply won’t work.  By addressing the whole picture—the interplay of mind, body and spirit—addiction treatment at a holistic drug rehab Los Angeles can provide long-lasting recovery results.

Why Individualized Addiction Treatment is Important

Each of us has our own unique life journey, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows.  When someone has developed a dependence on drugs or alcohol, it is often in response to a deeply painful event or trauma or a chronic mood disorder, using the substance to self-medicate.  Addicts don’t only become addicts because of careless recreational substance abuse. Complex factors contribute to acquiring an addiction, and these must be addressed, one by one, for the best treatment outcome.

Treating each individual person seeking recovery with a one-size-fits-all model will likely yield unsuccessful results.  Nothing will stick if treatment isn’t relevant to the individual’s own specific needs. Only through a thorough assessment, interview process, and review of the addiction and mental health history can a customized treatment plan be designed to address the unique needs of the individual seeking help.  

How Holistic Addiction Treatment Works

Rehabs typically have a general treatment framework that guides the process, hopefully consisting of evidence-based treatment methods that have been clinically proven to help individuals overcome addiction.  These basic elements might include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, contingency management interventions, and motivational enhancement therapy. These are all excellent options in creating the “bones” of the treatment program.

But some treatment programs miss an opportunity to delve that much deeper into the sources of what may be fueling the addictive behaviors.  By adding the holistic treatment aspect to the traditional therapies, the chances for success are greatly increased. Why? Because these experiential and holistic therapies can reveal past traumas, abuse, neglect, grief and loss, and mental health conditions that lie at the foundation of the addiction.

Holistic therapy addresses:

  • Mind.  Working in tandem with the traditional talk therapy, both individual and group therapy, activities such as art therapy, journaling, and mindfulness training enhance the effects of the psychotherapy.  These activities can open up new avenues for exploring and processing thoughts that might not happen in a counseling session.
  • Body.  Addiction takes a toll on the human body.  Immune systems become depleted, nutritional deficiencies, and out of shape bodies can result.  By focusing attention on the needs of the body, building strength, confidence, and renewed health through exercise and nutritious meals, the individual will become stronger and experience improved mood.
  • Spirit.  The sense of hopelessness and despair that accompany addiction are symptoms of diminished spiritual health.  This can encompass state of being, traditional religion, or a universal spiritual belief system. By adding meditation or prayer, yoga, and peer support groups to the treatment plan, spiritual health is renewed.

By recognizing how each of these aspects of the human person—mind, body, and spirit—interrelate and support each other the holistic treatment program offers a step up in care and a better long-term recovery result.

What to Expect in a Private and Secluded Rehab

A residential (or inpatient) drug rehab Los Angeles will provide a safe, nurturing environment where the individual will reside for a specified period of time.  That time period will be dictated by the severity of the addiction, the specific substance of abuse, whether there is a co-occurring mental health disorder, and the client’s insurance coverage and resources.  Generally, the detox and withdrawal phase will last about one week, followed by a minimum of three weeks in treatment. Some clients, however, might need additional time in treatment, even up to a year if necessary for a successful recovery result.

Residential rehabs can be large, clinical facilities and some might be small, secluded home settings, with many options in between.  The more intimate the setting, the higher the staff to client ratio seems to be, providing for more individualized care and support. A secluded setting can also add to the ambiance of the overall rehab experience, as these tend to be situated in geographically pleasant places.

Residential treatment programs have defined daily schedules so clients know what to expect each day and can be engaged and prepared.  These full schedules also help clients to avoid experiencing boredom. A menu of daily therapy sessions (group and /or individual), participation in support group meetings, classes, and holistic activities round out a typical day at the private rehab.

Continuing Care After Drug Rehab Los Angeles

Recovery from addiction does not have an end point.  Understanding that the process of recovery is lifelong explains the need for a continuing care plan as part of the overall treatment plan.  This is because returning to one’s regular life can re-introduce many of the same stressors or triggers that led to addictive behaviors, so ongoing support is needed for at least several months after the program ends.  It takes time to acquire new healthy habits and to reinforce the various skills learned in treatment.

Continuing care, or aftercare, can include:

  • Sober living housing
  • Weekly therapy sessions
  • Ongoing addiction and relapse prevention education
  • Participation in a 12-step or non 12-step recovery program

These continuing care options can make all the difference for successful achieving and maintaining the lifelong recovery desired.

Quest 2 Recovery Private Holistic Drug Rehab Los Angeles

Quest 2 Recovery is an intimate, secluded private drug rehabilitation program that features a holistic approach to recovery.  The philosophy of our program is based upon the belief that all aspects of an individual need to be examined and healed before a lasting recovery can result.  With a comfortable home setting, a small client load, and personalized treatment, Quest 2 Recovery offers a unique treatment experience. Begin your quest to recovery and contact us today at (888) 453-9396.