Freedom from addiction begins with alcohol detox, which is then followed by a comprehensive alcohol rehab program. At Beach House, we strive to provide the highest quality of care in the nation when it comes to this substance abuse care. Detox in our world-class facility is both safe and comfortable. Our clients thus enjoy the unique comfort and convenience of not having to go to two different locations to receive these two critical recovery services. Here alcohol detox and residential rehab treatment belong to an all-inclusive, on-site recovery package in our idyllic Florida beach setting, without the disruption of additional travel upon the completion of detox.
Alcohol Detox – and Medical Management of Withdrawal Symptoms
“Detoxification,” which is withdrawal from alcohol, is essential to finding freedom from alcoholism. And withdrawal from alcohol can be medically dangerous, even life-threatening. Symptoms can fall on a continuum: from nausea, tremors and headaches to fever, hallucinations and seizures. In the most serious cases, withdrawal symptoms can prove fatal.
Management of these symptoms is a delicate process, and in every case requires medical supervision by licensed doctors and nurses trained specifically to oversee the alcohol detox process. Roughly 95 percent of people in withdrawal from alcohol fall prey to at least moderate symptoms, after all. These include irritability, delirium tremens (also commonly known as “the shakes”), dehydration and restlessness. Of this 95 percent, roughly 15 to 20 percent face far more serious complications, such as temporary seizures or hallucinations.
Thankfully, our team of licensed doctors and nurses, including an on-site, board-certified psychiatrist, is here to help clients safely navigate the potentially rough and stormy waters of alcohol withdrawal. These caring and attentive medical professionals are available 24/7 to oversee each client’s detox. They know the nuanced ins and outs, symptoms and potential complications of detoxing both from alcohol and alcohol in combination with other drugs. They also know what sorts of alcohol withdrawal medications to prescribe in order to prevent complications like seizures and hallucinations and to ease symptoms like anxiety.
The Alcohol Detox Process
The high level of medical care we provide, in order to ensure that a client’s mental and physical withdrawal is as safe and smooth as possible, means alcohol detox can take as long as 3-5 days, depending on a client’s pattern of alcohol use, daily amounts consumed, length of time drinking and particular health profile. Alcohol used in combination with other drugs may increase the length of time needed for a safe and comfortable detox.
Nonetheless, Beach House clients can expect to undergo four basic steps in alcohol detox:
Step 1: On-site Admissions Assessment
Clients arriving here for the first time will receive a private assessment with one of our caring and knowledgeable intake specialists. This assessment consists of some questions and discussion to determine the appropriate level of care and treatment protocol for the client, as well as required paperwork to initiate treatment.
Step 2: Psychiatric Assessment
Next, an in-depth assessment administered by our on-site, addictions-certified psychiatrist helps us tailor detox and treatment to a client’s unique medical needs and health profile. This comprehensive physical and psychological evaluation will determine a client’s individualized plan of care, from detox on.
Step 3: Tapering Regimen
Tapering begins under the supervision of our on-site, licensed medical team. The length of this process will depend on the severity of the alcoholism (how long a client has been abusing alcohol and the progression of the illness), and a client’s unique medical profile (whether a client has high tolerance levels or another co-occurring mental disorder, for example).
During this step of the detox process, it’s not uncommon for patients to receive various medications to help prevent seizures and hallucinations and to reduce the anxiety that accompanies withdrawal:
- Benzodiazepines (“benzos”) are frequently prescribed because of their tranquilizing effects. These medicines include both short-acting benzos, like lorazepam (Ativan),oxazepam (Serax) and alprazolam (Xanax); they also include longer-acting benzos like Halazepam (Paxipam), clorazepate (Tranzene), diazepam (Valium), chloradiazepoxide (Librium), and clonazepam (Klonopin). Normally, such medications serve as a short-term intervention to help our clients get through the worst symptoms of detox and acclimate to their first days and weeks without alcohol in their system.
- Anticonvulsants are another helpful alcohol withdrawal medication. Sometimes, either in conjunction with a course of benzos or on its own, an anticonvulsant will be introduced to stave off seizures.
- Beta blockers like atenolol (Tenormin) and propranolol (Inderal) also can prove helpful in reducing the intensity of cravings. Our physician might pair atenolol with the short-acting benzo, oxazepam, for example, in order to reduce alcohol cravings and improve vital signs.
Step 4: Transition to Inpatient Alcohol Rehab
After a safe, medically supervised detox has cleansed the body of alcohol and/or alcohol in combination with other drug toxins, clients move into residential treatment. Here they embark on a daily clinical regimen, seven days a week, that’s shaped by our signature pledge: “People. Purpose. Passion.” Within the safe, supportive intimacy of our peer community, guided by therapists trained in evidence-based, best practices for treating addiction, clients connect with the right people and with their own purpose and passion — all towards lasting freedom from addiction. Learn more about our Inpatient Alcohol Rehab.