Table of Contents
Alcohol Dependence | Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome | Detox Timeline | Detox Medications | Post-Detox | Dallas Detox
Alcohol Detox Center in Dallas
Alcoholism, known as Alcohol Use Disorder in the medical community, is a progressive disease that worsens with time. Given enough time, alcohol usage can destroy the body and build up a chemical dependency to it.
Once a person becomes dependent, they will start to experience withdrawals — known as Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS). Complications of AWS can worsen already damaged circumstances an alcohol abuser may already be going through due to their usage.
For this reason, Riverwalk Ranch dedicates its Addiction Treatment Center to the citizens of Texas with a full-spectrum Detox Service. Our Alcohol Detox Center in Dallas is equipped with everything a person needs to handle withdrawal symptoms and smooth out the process.
Every person with alcoholism who wants to get better needs to go through an alcohol detox and quit their usage. For an alcoholic, it’s the most difficult yet crucial part of recovery.
Alcohol Detox: The First Step in Treating Alcoholism
The first step in any recovery is a detox. In an alcohol detox, the body naturally rids itself of toxins and metabolites that accompany alcohol dependence. Because of the dangerous side effects that come with alcohol withdrawals, it’s risky to detox alone.
Doctors and addiction specialists at our Dallas Alcohol Detox Center can perform what is called a Medical Detox where medications and other treatments can properly address health complications. The medical detox is often paired with counseling and therapy to help one cope through the uncomfortable process.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and sedates its users. So, when a person drinks alcohol, the neurons in their brain begin to function incorrectly.
This is quite noticeable when someone has been binge drinking. They may be incapable of walking in a straight line, they might stumble, or they might slur their words.
With heavy use over time, the brain adjusts to the changes by producing more stimulating chemicals than it normally would. When the user suddenly stops drinking after long-term usage, their body cannot easily adapt to the lack of alcohol and quickly adjust these chemicals accordingly. With an excess of these stimulating chemicals and no alcohol, they will begin to experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
This heavy usage is defined by the CDC as drinking more than 15 drinks in a week for male adults. This number is 8 drinks for female adults. One drink is equivalent to a 12 oz can of 5% beer, 5 oz of wine, or roughly one shot of hard alcohol.
If you’re surprised by those numbers, it’s likely due to the fact that many people binge drink in social settings. Binge drinking for males is defined as consuming five or more drinks within two hours. For females, it’s four or more drinks.
Even if you don’t drink every single day, you may be building a chemical dependency to alcohol. And as this dependency strengthens, symptoms of withdrawal will become increasingly more severe.
Long Term Health Side Effects
Untreated alcoholism can result in severe health issues and even death. High blood pressure, Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Alcoholic Hepatitis, and Cirrhosis of the liver are caused by alcohol abuse. It can lead to injury or death from:
- Car accidents
Not only is the drinker at risk for progressive health decline, but their loved ones are affected as well. Though most drinkers are aware they’re causing harm, it may still be difficult to control their ways.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, known as Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, can start affecting a person within as little as six hours and last as long as six weeks. Not every person will experience withdrawal exactly the same and each person will have a different degree of alcohol dependence.
These symptoms are both physically and mentally exhausting. Not only that — Alcohol is one of the few abused substances where the addict can experience life-threatening side effects during detox and withdrawal. Even with the help of medicine from our Alcohol Detox Center, the process can be brutal.
There are different stages to detox and withdrawal, all with varying side effects.
The most concerning side effects of alcohol withdrawal syndrome include:
- Delirium Tremens: This condition describes the dangerous breathing pattern alcohol withdrawal syndrome can induce. It typically peaks around day four of withdrawal. It comes with severe cognitive impairment due to dramatically heightened brain activity paired with decreased blood flow to the brain.
- Hallucinations: After a day of the last drink, an alcoholic might see or feel things that aren’t there. It’s common for people to perceive multiple patternistic moving objects such as crawling bugs.
- Seizures: Peak risk for seizures start around the 24 hour mark. They can last several hours and be extremely damaging to the person going through withdrawal.
- Tremors: Also known as shakes, tremors can start as early as six hours after the last drink and are an early sign in withdrawal that a person is severely dependent on alcohol.
Other potential uncomfortable side effects may include:
- Heart Palpitations
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Emotional Distress
- Hypersensitivity to Stimulus
- Intense Agitation
Alcohol Detox Timeline: How Long Does it Take?
Detox is never pleasant, but with the help of trained medical professionals at our Dallas Alcohol Detox Center, it can be safe. As it was said above, everyone experiences withdrawals a bit differently due to varying dependency.
Though, if you’d like a typical timeline to follow, read below.
Stage 1: The Dangerous Part
Hour 5 to 10: Tremors (Shakes) start
Hour 6 to 8: The body starts panicking, though the worst is still to come. Anxiety sets in, shaking worsens, headache develops, and sweating starts.
Hour 6 to 48: Seizures may start. They affect roughly 5% of those with alcohol withdrawal syndrome and can sometimes be fatal. An alcoholic may go through life-threatening “grand mal seizures” in which the person loses consciousness as their body goes through violent muscle contractions. Some people may experience multiple seizures within a few hours.
Hour 12 to 24: “Alcoholic hallucinosis” may start. The senses are over stimulated, resulting in sensory experiences that aren’t real. Only the severely dependent will experience this for about 24 to 48 hours. Though, hallucinations have been reported to last up to six days for the extremely addicted.
Hour 48: Delirium tremens (DT) — the most life-threatening part of alcohol withdrawal syndrome with mortality rate of up to 37% for those without medical treatment. It can last up to five days, but typically lasts three. Those who experienced seizures in the earlier hours are at a higher risk for DT.
Stage 2: Early Recovery
After the dangerous and brutal stage of detox is done, the body is relatively back to normal, though a person may still experience “post-acute withdrawal syndrome” (PAWS). Post-acute withdrawals can last months, potentially up to a year.
PAWS has been seen to include:
- Mood shifts
- Irritability and frustration
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of libido
- Aches and pains
- Cognitive problems
Treating Alcohol Withdrawal With Medicine
Thankfully, detoxing from alcohol doesn’t need to be as scary and threatening as described above. Medications can safely address the dangerous systemic side effects and even ease symptoms of anxiety or depression.
In a medical detox, addiction specialists and medical doctors carefully assess patients and adjust their medicinal approach as needed. It’s common for a combination of these drugs to be used simultaneously.
These medications have been seen to include:
- Benzodiazepines — another class of anticonvulsants that are FDA-approved to manage acute AWS. Some may consider them the “gold standard” for treatment of AWS. Chlordiazepoxide and diazepam are most commonly used in this application.
- Gabapentin — an anticonvulsant used off-label that can address seizure symptoms and other nerve issues.
- Acamprosate — reduces the desire to drink and can balance chemicals in the brain.
- Clonidine and beta blockers — which addresses hypertension and blood pressure during alcohol withdrawal syndrome caused by heightened stimulating chemicals produced by the body.
- Antipsychotics — if co-occurring psychotic disorders are present. These may be used very cautiously as some antipsychotics lower the seizure threshold.
As the patient moves through the stages of withdrawal and detox, other medications may be used to address urges and other mental issues that occur in the months that follow.
Post Detox: What Happens Next
After medical detox at our treatment center in Dallas, there are a few options to choose from in terms of continuing care. The right choice for an alcoholic depends on their level of intake, drinking history, mental status, personality, and schedule of availability.
When making decisions about recovery, it is crucial to consult a knowledgeable substance abuse therapist or counselor. The last thing you want is to start the addiction cycle over again. So, you should talk to an addiction specialist about relapse prevention.
We provide programs such as:
Each one is unique and will help you during your recovery. To learn more, please contact Riverwalk Ranch in Dallas, and one of our staff members will speak with you about your options. Our alcohol rehab specialists are available to help you make these tough decisions. Let us help you choose the types of treatment options that are right for you or your loved one.
Safely Start Your Alcohol Detox in Dallas Today
Start your journey to recovery at our Alcohol Detox Center in Dallas, Texas. Our specialists are knowledgeable and feel passionate about helping you. Our Facility on 27-acres of Ranchland is well-equipped with everything a person needs through alcohol detox and rehabilitation.
Admitting your problem and submitting to an addiction treatment program is a difficult choice for most. Whether it's you or a loved one, remember that alcoholism is a progressive disease that worsens with time when left untreated.
For more information and advice on enrollment in an addiction treatment program, call the number below and our considerate admission specialists will help you through every step of the way.