alcohol detox in arizona

Alcohol Detox in Arizona

If you have decided to put down that drink and get clean, you have taken a crucial step on your path to sobriety.  Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, Arizona, is here to walk with you on that journey to clean living and freedom from alcohol dependency.

How Long Does It Take to Detox

The process of ridding the body of toxins, such as alcohol, is called detox.  For people with mild to moderate alcoholism, the detoxification process typically starts within eight hours after the last drink but can last up to seven days.  For those battling severe addiction, withdrawal can last for two weeks or more.

The length of alcohol detox depends on many factors, including the severity of the individual’s alcoholism.  The more severe the alcohol use disorder, the longer the detox process will take.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

When you are going through detox from alcohol abuse, withdrawal symptoms are expected, and you should be prepared for them.  Withdrawal symptoms happen when a person has been drinking too much alcohol regularly and then suddenly stops.  Alcohol withdrawal happens more in adults but can occur in teenagers or children.  If you have existing medical conditions, this can cause the withdrawal symptoms to be more severe.

Symptoms can occur as soon as 8 hours after the last drink but can appear days later.  They usually peak during the first 24 to 72 hours but can last for weeks.

Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Anxiety ( nervousness)
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness ( Shakiness)
  • Mood Swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly

Some other symptoms you may experience are:

  • Sweating ( clammy skin)
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pallor
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

A more severe form of alcohol withdrawal is called, delirium tremens.  It occurs in about 5% or 1 out of every 20 people that experience withdrawal symptoms.  In delirium tremens, the brain has difficulty readjusting its chemistry after alcohol is stopped.  This results in a state of temporary confusion and leads to dangerous changes in the way the brain regulates circulation and breathing.  Vital signs, such as heart rate or blood pressure, can change unexpectedly, creating a risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.  Symptoms of delirium tremens are:

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Severe Confusion

Diagnosing

There are no specific tests that are used to diagnose alcohol withdrawal.   The evidence of withdrawal symptoms after heavy habitual drinking has been stopped is easy to identify.  Individuals that have a history of withdrawal symptoms, then you are likely to experience them again if you began drinking heavily again and stopped.

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse, then you may have also caused damaged to other organs.  You should schedule an appointment with your doctor to do blood tests and check for alcohol-related damage to your liver, heart, the nerves in your feet, blood cell counts, and gastrointestinal tract. Poor nutrition is typical in an individual with alcohol dependence, so your doctor will probably check your diet and any vitamin deficiencies.  Supplements, a healthy diet, and a regular sleep schedule may improve withdrawal side effects and help the body heal faster.

Being honest about how much alcohol you have been consuming can be hard when battling alcoholism, but it is crucial in getting the right treatment for your withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of your alcohol dependency and withdrawal symptoms, some treatment options are:

  • Medical Detox
  • Weaning ( Alcohol Use Reduction)
  • Hospital Treatment
  • Group and Individual Therapy Sessions

Monitoring and controlling the physical symptoms to reach a stable point is usually the first step in the detoxification process.  Medical detox is often used to accomplish this.  It uses medications to treat symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, seizures, and insomnia.

Sometimes alcohol use is slowly reduced over a period of time through a detailed tapering schedule that should be set up and supervised by your doctor or another medical professional.  In this method, the patient is weaned off of alcohol in a controlled manner to avoid more severe withdrawal side effects.  Your doctor may also go over medications that can help to lessen alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

As previously stated, alcohol abusers tend to have a shortage of several vitamins and minerals.  Nutritional supplements can help with this deficiency.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, or delirium tremens, you should look into hospital treatment.  Treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) may is often required for delirium tremens, because your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing need to be monitored closely.

The physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are just part of the detoxification process. You may also experience the more emotional side effects of withdrawal.  Medications, coupled with therapy and counseling sessions, are used to treat anxiety, depression, and potential suicidal ideation.  One of the main goals of any alcohol detox center is to prevent relapse.  Group sessions like 12-step groups and individual therapy can serve as continued support through this stage and beyond.

Seeking Help

Arizona has rehabilitation centers and clinics for alcohol detox right at your fingertips.

All you have to do is click here to start your search for alcohol recovery.  Remember that being honest about your alcohol consumption and the severity of your symptoms is key in getting the right treatment for your condition.  We have specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare that can talk you or your loved one through this process and get you started on your way to clean living.  Call us at 1-877-389-0412 or go online to speak with someone today.

References:

The Evolutionary Foundation of Movement, and its Efficacy in Treating Substance Use Disorder

More Effective Than Any Protocol

Over the last twenty years increasing amounts of research has been done showing the link between exercise and a reduction in all sorts of symptomatic disorders.  It has long been known that exercise is beneficial for reduction in cardiac problems, diabetes, obesity, etc.  What we are now just beginning to understand is how exercise affects the brain.  Recent studies show that exercise is more effective than any other protocol at treating things such as depression, ADHD, PTSD, Alzheimer’s.  Diseases and conditions of the brain.  Much of this research has been done or inspired by the work of John Ratey.  In his groundbreaking book Spark! How Exercise Will Improve the Performance of Your Brain Dr. Ratey showed a link between a regular program and exercise and increased cognition in school children (among many other groundbreaking facts).  In this article I will briefly introduce these topics to the reader, as well as, highlight how Recover Strong takes advantage of this new science in our work of treating substance use disorder and other behavioral health challenges in our patients.  In the header of this article is a short interview of Dr. Ratey that can serve as an introduction to the Dr and his work.  If like me you find the science fascinating I have included at the bottom a much longer discourse on the science given by Dr Ratey at Google headquarters.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Over the tens of thousands of years of our species evolution natural selection favored those in the population who were most active.  Some experts estimate that during our evolutionary period the average human ran ten to twelve miles per day.  If you were quick and could run far you ate, if you couldn’t you didn’t.  These simple facts charted a course for our species. Our brains developed along with our bodies and so for millenia have been adapted by and for movement.  Since the beginning of the industrial revolution (an incredibly short time period in evolutionary terms) human beings have been moving less and less, this has never been more true than in our contemporary western culture.  As movement has become less central to our daily lives we have seen an increase in the rates of all sorts of negative physical and mental phenomena.  As an example, currently between 35-40% of all adult Americans are obese.  Many of these phenomena, including obesity, have reached epidemic proportions.

How The Brain Is Effected By Exercise On Multiple Levels

The work of Dr Ratey has shown that exercise affects the brain in three primary ways.  The functioning of the brains systems, from a cellular level, and in terms of stimulation new cell growth.  We will look at each in turn.  When we speak of brain systems we are speaking about things like the attention system, the brain’s ability to pay attention to a task.  The memory system which is the mechanism that determines the brain’s ability to retain and recall information, and the motivation system which determines how much motivation we feel for a task.  These are not the only systems in the brain but should give the reader a good general idea of what we mean by systems.  Dr Ratey states, every study that has ever been done on the subject shows that exercise creates increased activity in the parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling these systems.  Second exercise causes a release of neurotransmitters and neurotrophins into the brain.  These brain chemicals are responsible for cell repair, and creating an environment within the brain which inoculates our brain cells from the ravages of stress, and time.  Dr Ratey , calls this “soup” of chemicals Miracle Grow for the brain.  Just as Miracle Grow fertilizes soil to encourage plant growth so to does the soup of neurotransmitters and neurotrophins encourage brain cell repair and growth.  The newest research (and by far the most exciting to me) shows that exercise creates neurogenesis, or the birthing and growth of new brain cells.  We have the ability through exercise to not only repair our brain but to actual improve our brain.   As exciting as these findings are the most amazing conclusion of the research is this, researchers have found nothing that contributes to the repair and creation of new brain cells than exercise.  Current research shows that exercise is a more effective treatment for depression than medications.  These are just two examples of the far reaching implications of this research.  

The Results By The Numbers

Much of the research done in this area has focused on two magic numbers, 45 minutes and 75% of max heart rate.  These are the dual objectives of any program designed to create neuroregeneration.  When an individual operates for 45 minutes or more at or around 75% of their max heart rate they are able to create within themselves a brain environment which is ripe for neuroregeneration and increased levels of neuroplasticity for a period of 2-3 hours.  This means for 2-3 hours post exercise they are able to learn more effectively, and in effect rewire their brains.  With our Recover Strong program on of our primary aims is to take advantage of this time period.  We begin the day with a work out that lasts from 45 minutes to an hour.  Immediately after the work out we engage in a process group, and then into other therapies which are determined from an individual clinical level.  The emotional and stress reducing impacts of the exercise last throughout the day, which is great.  We are on a daily basis, in effect, engaged in a process of rewiring our own brains.  Combining the controlled exercise experience with more traditional therapies has enabled our patients to engage in wholesale transformations.  The results, in many cases, are so profound that they need to be seen to be believed.  As we continue to develop this one of a kind therapeutic model we are planning to include nutritional elements, and additional cognitive methods to encourage neuroregeneration.  At Granite Mountain we are not try to teach our patients new skills alone.  Rather we are engaged in a process that allows our patients to heal their own brains, and transform their lives.  

 

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications and Market Development


If you or somebody you love is in need of help for substance use disorder, contact us today.

What To Expect During The Alcohol Detox Process

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

We have received many questions lately through our website, social media, and intake line related to the process of alcohol detox. As a result I thought I would write an article laying out the detox process as it relates to alcohol use disorder. I will endeavor to cover the stages of detox, the symptoms associated with each, and some tips on how to make the process easier. 

I would like to start by stating some facts which are germain to the topic.

  1. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.  Almost 90,000 people a year die of alcohol related deaths in this country

  2. 1 out of every 3 emergency room visits in the United States is related to alcohol use

  3. More than 17.6 million Americans suffer from some form of Alcohol use disorder

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

The above statistics make clear the scope and nature of the social problem that alcohol use disorder presents. It affects every community in our country, and many families. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol use disorder know that you are not alone, and that help is available if you want it.

When an individual who has been drinking excessively decides that it is time to stop drinking it is seldom wise to undertake this process alone.  Rather it is advisable to place yourself under the care of a doctor or other medical professional.  It is perhaps because of the wide acceptance of drinking in our society that many underestimate the severity of the alcohol withdrawal process, thinking it “won’t be that bad”. Conversely the alcohol detox process can be one of the most challenging both mentally and medically speaking.  The withdrawal process from alcohol is most often characterized as having three distinct phases. They are:

  • Phase 1 typically begins from 6 hours to 24 hours after an individual last consumes alcohol.  The severity of the the symptoms during this phase will be determined by how long and how much alcohol a person has been consuming.  The typical symptoms of the first phase of withdrawal can include; nervousness, anxiety, headache, nausea, vomiting, tremors, loss of appetite, tremors, and mood swings.

The first phase of withdrawal can last for anywhere between 24 and 72 hours. 

  • Phase 2 typically sets in from 24 to 72 hours after an individual last consumed alcohol.  The typical symptoms of this phase can include; increased levels of mental confusion, irregular heart rate, difficulty breathing, muscle rigidity, increased blood pressure, and in some cases hallucinations.  It ought to be clear that this phase is potentially much more dangerous to an individual, and often requires one be under the care of trained medical staff.

  • About one out of three people enter into phase 3 of withdrawal from alcohol.  This phase is called Delirium Tremens (DT).  A person can enter DT anywhere from 3 days after cessation of drinking to as long as 2 weeks after last consuming alcohol.  This phase of withdrawal is the most dangerous and absolutely requires an individual to be in some form of inpatient treatment.  Some of the symptoms include; disorientation, dissociation, hallucination, Grand Mal seizures, and in some cases death.

If you or a loved one are considering cessation of drinking, consult with a medical professional and seek treatment. There are many medications available to help ease the symptoms of detox from alcohol, and a trained medical professional can help you to make sound decisions as to their potential to help. 

The withdrawal process from alcohol can be dangerous and the decision to undertake the process can be frightening.  However, if you or a loved one is in a position where life is becoming impossible it is important not to let the fear of detox keep you from transforming your life.  Many of us have been through it and when we look back believe it was the most important decision we have ever made.  It is my hope that this short article has answered many of the questions the reader may have regarding the process of detox.  If after reading this you still have questions or concerns please reach out to our team.  We are happy to help whether you utilize our services or not.  The most important thing to us is that you or your loved one gets the help they need.

 

Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell

VP of Communications & Market Development


If you would like to speak to a professional about treatment for you or your loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!


1. CDC, Fact Sheets: Alcohol Use and Your Health (2018), https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm.

2. Lisa Mahapatra, 1 out of 3 ER Visits Are Alcohol Related (IBT: 2013), http://www.ibtimes.com/1-out-3-er-visits-are-alcohol-related-heres-what-patients-drank-charts-1395699.

3. NCADD, Facts About Alcohol (2015), https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol.