Detox Treatment for Alcohol

What is Detoxification of Alcohol?

Detox treatment for alcohol is the professional management of the withdrawal process. A person with alcohol in their system will experience physiological and psychological effects as their body detoxifies itself from alcohol. These effects will vary depending on the person. In some cases the effects can be quite serious requiring immediate intervention.

How Long does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

The alcohol withdrawal duration can take between 4-7 days, depending on the amount of alcohol in the body and a number of other physiological factors.

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

The psychological and physiological symptoms of going through withdrawal from alcohol include some or all of the following;

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Bad Dreams
  • Foggy thinking
  • Clammy skin
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart rate

About 4% of the U.S. population, or 12 million people, are suffering from alcoholism. The health consequences from alcohol-related disorders and withdrawal are alarming Detoxing from alcohol without supervision is dangerous and potentially life-threatening, depending on the individual.

Only 10% of alcoholics seek any type of help and another 90% die prematurely without any alcohol detox treatment. When an alcoholic stops drinking alcohol, withdrawal sets in with a range of adverse physical symptoms. While detox is necessary to rid the body of toxic contaminants from alcohol abuse, it can be very difficult and should only be induced under the supervision of qualified addiction professionals at an alcohol detox center.


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Inspire Malibu: Alcohol Detox Center

When a person stops drinking after a long period of alcohol consumption, withdrawal symptoms will occur. These symptoms follow an evidence-based, predictable pattern as follows:

  • After prolonged heavy alcohol use, patients go through physiological changes which cause withdrawal symptoms
  • 4 to 8 hours after their last drink, patients will experience shakes, sweats, chills and heart rate and blood pressure will be increased; this causes severe anxiety and increases the urge to drink alcohol
  • Between 12 to 48 hours after their last drink, patients may experience a mild seizure or multiple mild seizures over a short period of time
  • 3 to 5 days after their last alcoholic drink, patients could experience delirium tremors (the DT’s), a serious conditon requiring medical attention
  • Symptoms can persist for weeks, depending on the individual, although they tend to peak in the first week of detoxification from alcohol
    The mortality rate without treatment can be very high due to these symptoms and underlying physical and mental health conditions can make the detox process worse. Because alcohol detox can be fatal, it’s imperative that the alcohol treatment center provides a safe, comfortable, professional supervised detox program. Many people want to tough out the detox process. But without professional management, brain cell death can be irreversible, so properly supervised detoxification is highly recommended.

    Neurobiology of Alcohol Use

    During alcohol use, brain activity of GABA receptors (inhibitory neurotransmitters) is enhanced and NMDA receptors (excitatory neurotransmitters) are blocked. This results in a reduction in anxiety by the alcohol abuser. Larger amounts of alcohol consumption can cause blackouts and memory impairment. Other considerations are:

    • An opposite reaction occurs during alcohol cessation, resulting in low activity of GABA and high activity of NMDA, causing high anxiety, shakes, sweats, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, seizures and delirium tremens
    • There are other neuro-receptors involved such as opiate, serotonin and other neurochemicals in the brain
    • High NMDA activity is most likely the cause of brain cell death

    Inspire Malibu uses scientific and evidence-based knowledge to appropriately detox patients from alcohol using treatment methods with proven outcomes.

    Health Consequences of Alcohol Abuse

    Chronic alcohol abuse and alcoholism affects all organ systems in the body. The most critical are the brain, the liver and the heart, as illustrated below. In the brain, memory loss, dementia, hearing voices, paranoia, severe depression and sleep disturbances can occur. In the liver, alcoholic liver diseases such as fatty liver, cirrhosis and cancer can occur. In the heart, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia and heart failure can occur.

    While alcohol detoxification doesn’t necessarily reverse all of the damage the patient has suffered while abusing alcohol, it can help to stop progression of these potential illnesses. Therapy helps the patient deal with the psychological effects of alcohol detoxification.

    Alcohol can affect all organ systems from head to toe

    Brain – memory loss, confabulation, dementia, hearing voices , paranoia, severe depression.
    Oral, neck area – high incidence of oral and neck cancers
    Esophagus, stomach – esophageal tear and cancer, gastritis and cancer
    Lungs – pulmonary hypertension
    Heart – high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, heart failure
    Liver – alcoholic liver disease( fatty liver), cirrhosis, cancer
    Pancreas -pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis leads to diabetes
    Kidney – high incidence of Glomerulonephritis can lead to kidney failure
    Intestine – high incidence of intestinal carcinoma
    Bladder – high incidence of bladder cancer
    Reproductive system – low sex hormone level, decreased libido, impotence
    Blood/ bone marrow – anemia, decreased platelet count causing easy bruising or bleeding
    Peripheral nervous system – numbness of extremities, difficulty walking, in-coordination



    Safe and Comfortable

    The most uncomfortable part of becoming sober is in the initial stages of alcohol detox. At Inspire Malibu, we take pride in providing the safest, private and most comfortable alcohol detox program available. Our alcohol treatment programs are closely monitored by addiction specialists at our sober living facility who are always available during detox for anything the patient needs.

    Still have questions? Contact us to find out what makes our alcohol detox treatment center unique.


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