Alcohol Detox the First Step to Recovery

If you or your loved one have serious drinking problems, your first step to recovery will be alcohol detox.

Detox programs provide the help you need to stop drinking and reach initial sobriety.

Detox will help prepare you for a lasting recovery from alcohol problems. Our inpatient programs is a common option for alcohol detox.

Our detox centers are 24/7 facilities staffed by doctors and other treatment professionals.

Inpatient detox will provide the help you need to deal with even the most severe effects of alcohol withdrawal.

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Defining Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox will provide the care you need as you rid your body of alcohol.

The exact nature of that care varies from person to person.

At Pathfinders alcohol detox programs we have three main goals.

These goals are:

  • Keeping you safe as you go through alcohol withdrawal
  • Using the most humane methods possible during the detox process
  • Leaving you alcohol-free and ready to participate in a follow-up treatment program

So, why does withdrawal occur? If you’re addicted to alcohol, your brain has undergone certain long-term changes in how it functions.

These changes cause your brain to treat heavy drinking as a normal fact of life. When your drinking comes to a halt, this “normal” situation is disrupted.

Withdrawal symptoms are the result of this disruption. For most people, these symptoms include things like:

  • Feeling jumpy, shaky or generally irritable
  • Experiencing rapid changes in mood
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling tired for no reason
  • Losing the ability to think clearly or make decisions

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Depending on your circumstances, you may also:

  • Have nightmares
  • Lose your appetite
  • Develop hand tremors or body tremors
  • Develop headaches
  • Experience bouts of insomnia
  • Have unusually sweaty or clammy skin
  • Develop unusually pale skin
  • Feel nauseous
  • Vomit
  • Develop a rapid heartbeat

In addition to these typical symptoms, a small percentage of people experience much more severe problems. Such problems may include hallucinations or seizures.

They may also include something called delirium tremens or DTs. Along with experiencing hallucinations and seizures, people with the DTs may:

  • Become extremely confused
  • Develop high fevers
  • Experience extreme states of agitation

If you experience seizures or delirium tremens, you can potentially die without immediate medical help.

For this reason, doctors treat such problems as emergencies.

What Happens at Alcohol Detox Centers

To achieve their goals, alcohol detox programs rely largely on supportive care. This is the term for care that sustains your general well-being as you go through withdrawal.

Common forms of supportive help during detox include:

  • A nutritious, well-balanced diet
  • Intravenous fluids for people who are dehydrated
  • Correction of any electrolyte imbalances
  • Use of vitamins to prevent certain complications of alcoholism

A significant number of people going through alcohol withdrawal need to be sedated. Doctors rely on medications called benzodiazepines for this purpose.

Several kinds of benzodiazepines may be used. Common options include oxazepam (Serax), lorazepam (Ativan) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).

Other types of medication are also sometimes used to treat alcohol detox symptoms. The list of these treatments includes antiseizure medications.

It also includes Baclofen, which helps your brain correct the harmful changes caused by heavy drinking.

Alcohol Detox - A man is propped up against his toilet with an bottle of wine in his hand. He looks like he is drunk and about to pass out. He needs to go to alcohol detox so he can start rehab.

Who Needs to Go to an Alcohol Detox Center

As a rule, people who enter alcohol detox have diagnosable symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Doctors use the AUD diagnosis for cases of alcoholism. They also use it for cases of serious, non-addicted alcohol abuse. Some of the symptoms of AUD are closely associated with alcoholism.

These include:

  • Not being able to control how much or how often your drink alcohol
  • Not being able to follow through on your desire to quit or reduce your intake
  • Spending much of your day drinking or getting over earlier bouts of drinking
  • Continuing to drink at levels that you know cause damage to your health
  • Needing to drink in increasing amounts to feel any noticeable effects
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms if you don’t drink for even a short period of time

You may experience all of these problems. However, you can receive an AUD diagnosis if you have just two of them.

You can also receive a diagnosis if you have combined symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

People with a long history of heavy drinking are especially in need of medical detox. That is true because these people usually have the most severe AUD symptoms.

They also have the highest chances of developing life-threatening withdrawal complications.

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Best Alcohol Detox Options

Some people can go through alcohol detox in an outpatient setting. This might be true for you if you have relatively mild drinking problems.

However, a significant number of people withdrawing from alcohol enroll in inpatient or residential rehab programs.

Only an inpatient program can provide round-the-clock monitoring of your condition. In addition, only these kinds of programs can protect you from the effects of severe alcohol withdrawal.

You can go through residential alcohol detox in a standalone treatment center. You can also find programs that are set up in larger health facilities.

Your doctor can help you decide which option works best for your situation.

How Long Will Alcohol Detox Take

The most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will appear six to 12 hours after you stop drinking. Severe symptoms usually take longer to develop.

For example, hallucinations can begin 12 hours to a day after you stop consuming alcohol. Seizures can begin with one to two days.

Finally, the delirium tremens or DTs can appear with two to three days. Most people do not go through severe withdrawal. In these cases, detox may not take long to complete.

Some people make it through the process in as little as five days. However, others take longer. Your doctor can help determine how long it will take in your case.

Alcohol Detox - A man who has just started alcohol detox lays in bed as he starts to feel the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Cost of Alcohol Detox

The cost of alcohol detox programs varies from person to person. Some people have insurance plans that keep their personal expenses to a minimum.

However, not all plans cover detox. In addition, not all people who need detoxification have insurance. Still, lack of insurance does not necessarily mean a lack of treatment options.

We have programs that make detox available to all through personalized payment agreements.

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Alcohol detox is a medical process required for the safe treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

Most people experience relatively mild withdrawal symptoms. However, others face severe or even life-threatening problems.

Supportive care is the most common treatment in detox programs. To address your symptoms, your program may also use benzodiazepines or other medications.

It may only take you a few days to complete detox. However, it can take much longer for your withdrawal symptoms to fully resolve. At the end of detox, you’ll be ready to enroll in a primary program for alcohol treatment.

People with mild forms of alcoholism may do well in an outpatient detox program. However, inpatient care is needed to fully address all potential withdrawal symptoms.

Medical assistance is available around the clock in inpatient programs.

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Alcohol Detox at Pathfinders Recovery Center

Your insurance may pay all of the out-of-pocket costs of alcohol detox. To be sure call or fill out our insurance verification form and we will do all of the work to let you know exactly what to expect.

If insurance is not an option for you, we have detox payment plans that allow you to make payment arrangements.

To find out more about alcohol detox programs just contact us today.

Our team of specialists can answer your questions and help you find the right treatment options for you.

No matter your current situation, you can recover from serious alcohol problems.


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7


  • 2953 S Peoria St. Suite 230 Aurora, CO 80014
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7

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