Alcohol Detox & Withdrawal

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 3rd July 2023 | All Sources


Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

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All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Last Reviewed: 2nd February 2023

While you may understand that alcohol rehab is a place to recover, you may wonder what an alcohol detox actually consists of. Here you can put any worries to rest and get to understand what alcohol detox feels like, how it begins and ends and the benefits of a medical detox process too.


What is an Alcohol Detox?

An alcohol detox is a process in which somebody who is addicted to alcohol utilises a rehab programme to safely withdraw from alcohol and manage the symptoms that come along with the withdrawal process.

Doing this within a safe space, designed with addiction treatment in mind is the best way to ensure success overall. An alcohol detox can be intimidating, particularly if you don’t know what to expect; this is why we have this guide to help you understand and prepare for a medical detox process at Cassiobury Court.

For most alcoholics, detoxification and withdrawal is the only option to completely remove alcohol from their life – call us on 01923 369 161 or text HELP To 83222.


Where to Get an Alcohol Detox

Residential Alcohol Detox Treatment at Cassiobury Court

Fortunately, Cassiobury Court offers comprehensive alcohol detox as the first stage of an alcohol rehab programme. Before embarking on a range of therapies and a comprehensive rehab programme, a detox from alcohol will be the first step.

Opting for an alcohol detoxification within a rehab is the safest option, it ensures that your symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are managed with the right team around you. This kind of assistance within a rehab like Cassiobury Court is often referred to as a ‘medically assisted alcohol detox’ so what does this actually mean?



Medically Assisted Detox and Withdrawal

Most alcoholics will experience ‘withdrawal symptoms’ when quitting alcohol, whether it be mild symptoms or severe withdrawal symptoms, which is why being within the care of medical professionals is the safest place to be.

Due to the effects of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms being potentially life-threatening, it is strongly advised that medical supervision is given throughout the duration of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary, particularly if the alcohol addiction is alongside a drug addiction too. For this reason, during admission into Cassiobury Court, you receive a psychiatric examination to determine whether you are in the correct mental state to undertake detoxification as the process can be quite distressing to some individuals.

Prescription medications can be provided during alcohol detox, this is dependent on the severity of your physical or physiological state during the withdrawal phase. We will talk some more about how we administer medication to ease these withdrawal symptoms next.


The Severity of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Certain alcohol withdrawal symptoms are more severe than others, and if you are experiencing any withdrawal symptoms you must always seek the guidance of a professional.

Detoxification from alcohol can be very dangerous and the following categorisation of symptoms serves the purpose of an educational guide only and should not be substituted for medical guidelines from professionals.

Moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking hands, arms and legs
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Muscle pain
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Autonomic disturbances

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:


 Alcohol Detox Process Timeline

Alcohol detox isn’t pleasant, we won’t sugar coat it but – it can certainly be managed much more effectively with our help. That being said, so that you know what to expect in some capacity, this is the typical timeline of an alcohol detox and some of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience.

Day 1-2: Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 6-24 hours after you stop drinking. Early symptoms may include, but aren’t limited to, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, individuals may experience hallucinations.

Day 3-5: This is often considered the peak of withdrawal symptoms. During this period, individuals may experience more severe symptoms such as tremors (known as alcohol shakes), increased heart rate, high blood pressure, confusion, irritability, and in some cases, seizures (known as alcohol withdrawal seizures).

Day 6-7: By this point, the acute withdrawal symptoms usually begin to subside. However, some individuals may continue to experience milder symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia.

Week 2-4: During this stage, the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal tend to improve significantly. However, psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability, and cravings may persist. Sleep disturbances and difficulty concentrating can also continue.

Once the first month is through, recovery from alcohol addiction is an ongoing process. The intensity and frequency of cravings may reduce further, but some individuals may still experience occasional triggers or cravings. Long-term recovery often involves therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes to maintain sobriety.


Medications Used to Assist Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol detox, as you’ll now be aware can be intimidating and to stop drinking, it is simply something that must be done. But, we are here to put your mind at ease and to show you why you have the capability to overcome withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and live a sober life.

We help you do this by administering prescription medication during your alcohol detox to ease withdrawal symptoms and help you through the most significant stage of addiction treatment. These will help suppress the overwhelming alcohol cravings and puts severe reactions at bay as much as possible.

Some medications include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Benzodiazepines: These medications are frequently prescribed to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines such as diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, or lorazepam help to reduce anxiety, prevent seizures, and promote sleep.
  • Anticonvulsants: Medications like carbamazepine or gabapentin may be used as an alternative or adjunct to benzodiazepines to prevent seizures during alcohol withdrawal.
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): Alcohol dependence can lead to thiamine deficiency, which can cause a serious condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. To prevent this, thiamine supplements are often provided during alcohol detox.
  • Antidepressants: If individuals experience depressive symptoms during withdrawal or have a history of depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other antidepressants may be prescribed to manage these symptoms.
  • Clonidine: This medication is sometimes used to reduce symptoms such as high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and anxiety during alcohol withdrawal.

These can help you to detox from alcohol in a way that won’t feel as overwhelming. Don’t forget that during your addiction treatment you’ll always be assisted by a medical professional whose expertise lie in treating alcoholism and substance misuse.


Why choose detox through Cassiobury Court?

Why Choose Our Alcohol Detox Programme?

As we offer private alcohol detox and rehab treatment, admissions into our clinic can be fast with no long waiting lists.

We provide rehabilitation over a period of four weeks in a residential environment, although shorter stays can be offered.

Residential treatment is the most widely recommended method for treating alcohol addictions. We strongly believe that treating you away from your home environment helps to fully address any issues that may be contributing to the addiction you are battling. In turn, once you go home you are able to approach life with a new attitude. You are also equipped with the skills needed to remain in recovery for the rest of your life.

Treatment methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy and one to one counselling are utilised as a part of the alcohol rehab process upon successful completion of alcohol detox.

These methods help give you the best possible chance of recovery with no exceptions as they aim to mentally prepare your mind to notice any potential triggers and how best to deal with them to prevent any risk of a relapse. Our trained specialists are available to treat the cause of your addiction as well as the symptoms.

Alongside your alcohol detox and rehab treatment, we also provide an onsite chef who will prepare your food throughout the day and a laundry service. This ensures that everything is taken care of so you are able to focus all efforts on tackling alcohol addiction with complete focus.


Contact Our Admissions Team Today

To find out more about alcohol detox and withdrawal as well as our full rehabilitation programmes, contact us on 01923 369 161. We will talk you through our different treatment options and make you feel at ease about your alcohol dependency – we have been proving medically assisted detox and withdrawals for substance abuse disorders for almost a decade and know how to make you feel comfortable about them.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you are concerned about the amount of alcohol you or a family member are consuming and believe that you will benefit from learning more about detoxing from alcohol, then you may find our answers to some of our most frequently asked questions very useful.

If you quit drinking after prolonged alcohol abuse, it will be unlikely that you won't experience any of these withdrawal symptoms as part of detox.

These symptoms can be divided into two different categories:

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Hand tremors
  • Nausea and/ vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Minor to moderate seizures

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

Delirium Tremens is defined as a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation.

Common symptoms which are associated with DTs include:

  • Nightmares
  • Hallucination
  • Fever
  • Perspiration
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Heightened heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Increased blood pressure

Yes it is rare, but Delirium Tremens can be fatal.

This is why it is important to undergo detox in a medically supervised environment, as detoxing from alcohol without supervision can be dangerous.

Usually this is not possible. If your body has been dependent on alcohol for a while then you will almost certainly experience withdrawal symptoms when undertaking detox.

Symptoms from a substance abuse detox normally peak by 24 hours to 48 hours – but if you are a heavy drinker – usually, it will take 7 to 10 days to fully detox from alcohol. The detox process usually varies depending on the drinker.

John Gillen

John Gillen - Author Last updated: 3rd July 2023

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner) - Medical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 2nd February 2023

Dr. Olalekan Otulana MBChB, DRCOG, MRCGP, DFSRH, FRSPH, MBA (Cantab)

 Dr Otulana is a highly experienced GP and Addiction Physician. He has a specialist interest in Substance Misuse Management and he has a wide range of experience in the assessment, management (including detoxification) and residential rehabilitation of clients with various drug and substance addiction problems.  His main aim is to comprehensively assess patients with addiction problems and determine their treatment needs for medical detoxification treatments and psychological interventions. He is also experienced in managing patients who require dual drug and alcohol detoxification treatments.

A strong healthcare services professional with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Cambridge University Judge Business School.