Detox, oh that dreaded word! So dreaded, in fact, that many who are in desperate need of addiction treatment will avoid getting help just to avoid going through detox. This is understandable, as alcohol detox is known for being highly unpleasant—even dangerous. But what must be understood is that without taking that first step, detox and withdrawal, the chronic, relapsing disease of alcoholism will cost much more than a week of misery going through detox.
Many individuals do not know that alcohol detox can be safely managed, with withdrawal symptoms being mitigated by medical detox personnel who will guide the individual through the process and into active treatment. A 7 day alcohol detox should never be attempted without medical supervision, as withdrawal symptoms can be severe and unpredictable.
High level professionals value their time. Time constraints can be another barrier to staking out a certain number of days for handling an alcohol problem. In addition, executives need access to their network to continue to conduct business while in treatment, and many rehabs prohibit access to cell phones. For these busy individuals, an efficient and safe detox and withdrawal process that also recognizes the need for cell phone access is the answer.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Happen?
One of the mysteries of addiction is why one individual who drinks regularly develops the alcohol dependency leading to escalating use, while another who consumes equal amounts does not. Certain risk factors may come in to play, however. These can be genetic factors, with strong family history of alcoholism, psychological factors, such as a mood disorder like anxiety or depression, starting to drink at an early age, or stressful life events.
As an individual consumes increasingly higher amounts of alcohol the brain will begin to adapt accordingly, changing the balance of neurotransmitter chemicals as it compensates for the effects of the alcohol. At some point along the continuum of alcohol abuse, a shift occurs toward a pathological craving for the alcohol as the brain and body demand more. Alcohol dependency can then result, with the emergence of withdrawal symptoms announcing this development.
Neuroscience research has identified the chemical effects of alcohol on the brain structures. Using MRI and PET imaging, scientists are able to literally see the impact of alcoholism on the human brain. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a method called event-related potentials (ERP) has allowed researchers to identify “markers that appear in the brains of alcoholics and in children of alcoholics (a population that is at high risk for developing alcoholism) (7; for a review, see 8). A marker is a distinct characteristic that can be associated with a certain group of people. Such markers may be useful for identifying people who are at risk for alcoholism.”
About the 7 Day Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal Process
When the individual is ready to get help for the alcohol dependency they must first go through the detox period. Treatment is not possible until the toxins are expelled, stabilizing the body and the mind. The detox process is difficult and uncomfortable, but manageable with medical interventions. In most cases, alcohol detox usually progresses in a three-stage fashion and lasts about a week.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Each person entering recovery will experience detox and withdrawal uniquely, based upon the severity of the addiction and the person’s overall health. Additionally, a co-occurring mental health disorder can complicate detox so this requires dual diagnosis expertise.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Profuse sweating
- Gastrointestinal distress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Mood swings
- Tremors of the hands
More serious withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Mental confusion
- Heart palpitations
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Liver and kidney dysfunction
- Delirium tremens
Developing the delirium tremens (DTs) is a rare but potentially lethal event that emerges several days into the detox timeline. The DTs is featured by extreme tremors, intense mental confusion, disorientation, tachycardia, shortness of breath, vivid hallucinations, agitation, and seizure.
Alcohol Detox Timeline
The first withdrawal symptoms usually emerge within 6-12 hours of consuming the last alcohol drink. The first phase of detox lasts two days and may feature insomnia, restlessness, tremors, fever, nausea, and anxiety. The second phases lasts 2-3 days and may feature increasing agitation, intensified tremors, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, and hallucinations. The final phase can last 2-10 days and may feature brain fog, mood swings, shakiness, depression, and nervousness.
It is important to be realistic about the lingering effects associated with alcohol detox. Depending on the acuity of the alcoholism, certain withdrawal symptoms may take months to resolve. This is referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome and includes depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disorders, lack of interest in sex, and tremors. Understanding that these symptoms may persist for a few months is a reason to consider a lengthy rehab stay if possible, to reduce the risk of relapse. Otherwise, continuing care following a 30 day program can help ease the individual through these symptoms, as they are temporary.
Medically Assisted Treatment for Alcoholism
One of the most important developments in treating alcohol dependency is the introduction of medically-assisted treatment (MAT) through drugs such as naltrexone. Naltrexone is a synthetic opioid that works as an opiate antagonist in the brain. After the individual has detoxed from alcohol, a naltrexone pellet is implanted providing a three-month continuous exposure to the effects of the drug in blocking the opioid receptors in the brain. Over time alcohol cravings will diminish and relapse risk can be significantly mitigated. Naltrexone is not intended as a permanent medication, but can be very helpful in the first 6-12 months of recovery.
Executive 7-Day Detox Provides Medically Monitored Alcohol Detox
Executive 7-Day Detox is a medical detox program located in sunny Southern California. Executive 7-Day Detox offers medical supervision throughout the stages of the detox and withdrawal timeline, keeping the client as comfortable as possible and alert to any serious withdrawal symptoms that may arise. Following the 7 day alcohol detox, the individual can segue into the luxury rehab program to receive the life-changing therapy that will provide the tools for a successful long-term recovery. For more information about our safe and effective 7-day detox program, please contact us today at (800) 381-0827.