Is It Safe to Detox in an Alcohol Treatment Center?

Alcohol abuse is a profound problem in the U.S., and we need only look to a study published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to appreciate the extent to which this is the case. The study found that roughly 15 million people in the U.S. aged 12 and over had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2019. Individuals who did not have a full-on AUD were said to engage in binge drinking or high-intensity drinking, a type of drinking whereby individuals consume 2 to 3 times the amount of alcohol ordinarily consumed in an average binge-drinking episode. Generally speaking, this works out to about 10 to 15 drinks.

Many people who drink excessively suffer significant consequences due to doing so, some of which include being involved in traffic accidents, contracting a sexually-transmitted disease (STD), suffering from alcohol poisoning, and being the victim of physical violence. As unsettling as all of this is, there is some good news insofar as individuals who have experienced these problems, and many who want to avoid them, are turning to licensed rehab facilities to get the help they need to end their relationship with alcohol.

How Rehab Facilities Help Individuals With an Alcohol Problem

The first and most critical step necessary to overcome an alcohol use disorder entails going through detox. The same applies if an individual has a severe high-intensity or binge drinking problem. It’s all about depriving the body of the substance it has grown accustomed to receiving on a regular or semi-regular basis. For those unfamiliar with alcohol detox, it is a naturally-occurring process that happens when someone stops drinking. Within 6 to 12 hours after an individual has consumed their last drink, their body begins ridding itself of alcohol and other harmful contaminants. This process, while essential, kicks off a barrage of unpleasant symptoms. Some of these symptoms include the following:

  • An inability to focus
  • Anxiety
  • Arrhythmia
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Mild hyperthermia
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tremors
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations

Along with these symptoms, some individuals will experience a phenomenon known as delirium tremens while detoxing from alcohol. Delirium tremens, while rare, can trigger severe seizures and can be fatal if an individual does not receive immediate medical care.

Is It Safe to Go Through Detox in Rehab?

Going through alcohol detox in a rehab facility is safe and very much recommended. Most rehab facilities offer medication-assisted detox to help individuals cope with the severe withdrawal symptoms that stem from abrupt alcohol cessation. So that everyone is on the same page, medication-assisted detox includes round-the-clock monitoring by a licensed physician or nurse and the use of FDA-approved medications, some of which include

  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram

In cases where someone experiences delirium tremens while going through detox, the physician or nurse at a rehab facility will provide that individual with benzodiazepines. The most popular and commonly prescribed ones include Valium, Ativan, Librium, and Serax. Round-the-clock monitoring by licensed healthcare providers and access to FDA-approved medications, if needed, can keep individuals physically safe.

But it does not end there; the therapists in these facilities offer a wide range of psychotherapy sessions to help individuals cope with the psychological aspects of quitting alcohol, not to mention everything else that comes with trying to get and remain sober. Whether it be in an inpatient or outpatient program, therapists in most rehab facilities offer the following types of psychotherapy to individuals seeking to end their relationship with alcohol:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Marital and family counseling

Bottom Line

In summary, going through detox in a licensed rehab facility is safe and, in the case of delirium tremens, could save one’s life. That said, if you have an alcohol use disorder or struggle with binge or high-intensity drinking, our compassionate and knowledgeable associates can help you find a quality rehab facility in your area. Consider speaking with one of them today at 833-497-3812.