Rehab 4 Addiction

In order to defeat your alcohol addiction, you need to admit that you have a problem in the first place. If you are in denial about your addiction, then it’s unlikely that any form of treatment will succeed. We do not recommend you embark upon treatment unless you are utterly committed to stopping your drinking.

Once you are able to overcome denial and admit help is needed, your treatment will begin with a medically supervised alcohol detox. The detox treats the body, but it does not treat the mind. For this reason, you will begin to benefit from therapy sessions during the course of your rehabilitation programme.

Before therapy can begin, it’s important to allow the detox process to take place. During this time, all alcohol toxins will be removed from your system and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will be carefully monitored and treated.

It’s vitally important to undergo a medically supervised detox. Detoxing without this assistance is inadvisable because it could result in serious medical complications such as a seizure, a stroke or a heart attack. The key aim of your detox will be to ensure your withdrawal symptoms are sufficiently treated using medications and a range of food supplements.

Understanding alcohol withdrawal

Alcohol is classified as a depressant. This is because it is a central nervous system suppressant. Once alcohol enters your bloodstream, it is transported across to your brain where it releases chemicals that are responsible for depressing your nervous system. The speed in which alcohol is metabolised is determined by your age, sex, weight, and size.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms affect people who regularly abuse alcohol. Excessive drinking fundamentally alters chemicals in the brain. It’s these chemical changes that account for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Over time, you will become more and more tolerant to alcohol’s effects. If you are alcohol dependent, this means you will require greater and greater quantities of alcohol in order to nullify withdrawal symptoms.

In short, your body will crave alcohol in order to maintain this chaotic, unstable, and wholly unnatural chemical state. This perpetual desire for ever greater quantities of alcohol may only safely be calmed via a medically assisted detoxification.

If you are alcohol dependent, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within 7-10 hours after you drank your last alcoholic drink. You will begin to feel anxious. Your body will physically crave alcohol. You will then begin to experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as the shakes.

These symptoms are collectively known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This syndrome is a medical emergency. It’s recommended that you attend your local NHS hospital without delay if you begin to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms are severe in nature. You may experience an increased heart rate. In some instances, you could even experience a seizure or a stroke. Thousands of lives are needlessly lost in this manner each year due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

One of the acutest alcohol withdrawal symptoms is known as delirium tremens (DT). DTs is a potentially fatal disorder if not treated promptly. Symptoms of DTs include hallucinations, seizures, cardiac arrest, and shock.

What are the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms result from the chemical alterations in the brain that arise from long-term exposure to alcohol. When blood alcohol levels begin to drop, the brain’s chemicals begin to re-adjust. If this re-adjustment is immediate, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will arise.

In a clinical setting, you will be given an alcohol substitute. This substitute is ingested in tablet form. Doctors and other medical professionals will be able to taper down your dosage of this substitute drug slowly, thus allowing you to avoid many alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

At Rehab 4 Addiction, we recommend you undergo an alcohol detox at a residential rehab clinic. Here, you will receive all the care and support you could possibly need. For more information about an alcohol detox in your local area, contact our free helpline today on 0800 140 4690.

Diagnosing alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is diagnosed by monitoring your state of health once you stop drinking alcohol. When you begin your detox, a medical professional will monitor you for the signs of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The severity of symptoms you experience will dictate the quantity of medication you are given. As a rule of thumb, the greater your symptoms, the more medication you will be given.

The scale and severity of alcohol withdrawal syndrome is measured using guidance published by the Clinical Institute of Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA). This 10-item scale scores a variety of factors independently. Each score is aggregated. This aggregated figure determines the severity of your withdrawal symptoms, with 67 being the highest possible score.

If you score above 20 on the CIWA’s scale, your alcohol withdrawal syndrome is considered severe. Anything between 16-20 is considered moderate alcohol withdrawal syndrome. A score below 15 is considered mild alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Below, we list each factor symptoms that scored in the CIWA’s scale:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Tactile disturbances
  • Visual disturbances
  • Auditory disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Orientation

CIWA’s guidance instructs medical professionals to be on particular lookout for delirium tremens when a patient’s score exceeds 20. Many UK alcohol rehab clinics make use of CIWA’s scale because it allows them to accurately determine the severity of a client’s withdrawal symptoms. This allows medical professionals the ability to tailor your alcohol detox programme to match your medical needs.

What are the key causes of delirium tremens?

Delirium tremens (DTs) arisen when you abruptly stop drinking alcohol. If you are alcohol dependant, this abrupt cessation will jolt your nervous system resulting in severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. When you undergo detox in clinical settings, you will be given medication that slows down these changes caused by ceasing to drink alcohol.

Alcohol rehab clinics are experts at recognising the signs of DTs. Fortunately, you will be given the right amount of care and medications to prevent DTs from arising in the first place.

Some of the symptoms of DTs include:

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Severe tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Extreme anxiety and panic attacks

Whilst alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear within 5-10 hours after you drank your last drink, symptoms of DTs may not appear until the third day after drinking. In some instances, symptoms of DTs may not appear until 10 days after you stopped drinking alcohol.

The benefits of going to rehab to treat alcoholism

If you have read the above carefully, then you will agree that undergoing an alcohol detox without medical assistance truly is not an option that can ever be recommended due to the grave medical consequences this could entail.

If you do attempt to detox without medical supervision, then do not hesitate to visit your local NHS hospital if you begin to experience any of the symptoms we outlined above. If you begin to experience any of the more serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms, medically trained professionals will be on hand to immediately assist.

During a medically assisted detox, you will be given medications that block opioid receptors in the brain. This helps to control alcohol cravings. You will also be given benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are essentially an alcohol-substitution but in pill-form. These drugs help to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.

The central benefit of undergoing detox from an alcohol rehab clinic is that you will receive specially designed prescription medications that help you avoid these withdrawal symptoms. These medications significantly take the edge off alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The rehab clinic will also give you vitamins and minerals. When you abuse alcohol, you are also likely to neglect your basic dietary requirements. Consuming vitamins and minerals during your detox gives you the energy you will need to make a full recovery.

It’s important to note that these medications do not guarantee to eliminate all withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is important to have on hand medical practitioners during your detox. Doing so affords you the maximum amount of safety whilst you undergo alcohol detox.

Understanding the alcohol detox process

Before your alcohol detox begins, you will undergo a medical examination with a doctor. The doctor will seek to determine your overall health. This assessment helps the doctor decide which particular safeguards need to be built into your alcohol detox programme. When you detox begins, you will be given medications and vitamins. These medications will help to promote your comfort and prevent many alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

During your detox, you will be closely monitored by the rehab clinic’s medical staff members. These medical professionals will be on the lookout for potential complications before they are allowed to fully develop.

Withdrawal symptoms peak within the first three days of your detox. Symptoms will completely subside within 5-10 days. Once your detox is completed, you may either return home or stay on to complete a full rehabilitation programme. The latter option is recommended because a detox on its own does not address the underlying mental causes of alcohol addiction.

What happens once your detox has completed

Once your detox is complete, you will then be able to transition into a full rehabilitation programme. here, you will be given the tools needed to make a full recovery. An individual recovery plan will be created to ensure your needs are met during this process. During your rehab programme, you will benefit from many therapies including group counselling, one-to-one therapy, educational workshops and holistic therapies.

Once your rehab programme concludes, you will then be given help to transition back into your life outside the rehab clinic. This help also includes weekly aftercare sessions during which you return to the rehab clinic in order to receive follow-up treatment. This helps to prevent relapse and to promote long-term recovery.

Locating the most suitable treatment

Locating a suitable detox clinic is not always easy. With our help, we are able to help you locate a detox clinic in your local area that’s ideally suited to helping you through the alcohol detox process. Undertaking a detox is crucial for improving your long-term health.

It’s important to note that all detox clinics we recommend also offer a highly structured rehabilitation programme. This programme also includes a lengthy outpatient treatment plan.

Whilst a detox addresses the physical aspect of addiction, it entirely fails to address the emotional and spiritual aspects. These items are addressed when you attend a longer-term rehab programme. It’s generally agreed that 28-days is the minimum amount of time you must spend in a rehab clinic in order to implement lasting change.

The dangers of detoxing from home

Alcoholism is a spectrum disorder. This means the severity of alcoholism will vary between sufferers. This also means the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms will also vary depending upon the severity of your alcoholism. This fact means it is difficult to diagnose the severity of symptoms until an alcohol detox is attempted.

The unpredictability of alcohol withdrawal symptoms means it is never a good idea to undertake a detox from your own home. To do so would mean you are fully exposed to potentially lethal alcohol withdrawal symptoms with no medical assistance whatsoever.

If you do insist on undertaking a detox, please ensure your local GP is aware of the situation. He or she may be able to arrange for a registered nurse to visit you whilst you do so. It’s worth noting that NHS GPs have become more and more reluctant to entertain this arrangement in recent years because of the risks involved.

When you undergo a detox from home, you are also much more likely to relapse. Sometimes, the temptation to drink is just too overwhelming. To avoid this risk, ensure you are eating well. Doing so will help restore the right amount of nutrients in your system that will be needed to make a full recovery.

Before you begin your home detox, it’s important to remove all alcohol from your home. It is also a good idea to enlist the support of a family member or close friend. This person will be on hand to raise the alarm if you begin to experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens.

What are my treatment options?

It’s best to seek out treatment as soon as you recognise the symptoms of alcoholism. Delaying your treatment could be fatal. Many people die from alcoholism unexpectedly. You underestimate the dangers of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol at your peril. Many people inflicted with alcoholism delay treatment until they have hit rock-bottom. This practice is positively dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Instead, seek out addiction treatment before it is too late. If you feel you cannot control your drinking, then now is the time to seek out treatment. You can discover your drinking options by contacting our free helpline today on 0800 140 4690.

Your treatment needs are best served at an inpatient alcohol rehab clinic. You will be able to continue your treatment over a longer period of time via an outpatient programme. The amount of time you require in a residential clinic is dictated by the severity of your addiction and any possible dual-diagnosis issues you are experiencing.


Tim has written about recovery and addiction for well over a decade. He is currently writing a book about exercise and recovery. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cookie and spending time with his wife, children and three dogs.