Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to myriad health risks and increase dependence (known as alcohol use disorder or AUD). Taking more than the prescribed levels puts you at risk of cardiovascular and liver diseases, not to mention the severe consequences that arise from risky behaviors like driving under the influence, violence and aggression and promiscuity.

If you think you or someone you love has AUD, it’s critical to get help and detox in a specialized treatment center. Depending on the degree of dependence, alcoholism treatment is potentially life-threatening if managed improperly. 

Learn more about the effects of alcohol dependence on your body and brain and how medical detox can help to put you or your loved one’s life back on track.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Kentucky

You may wonder how to know whether you or your loved one needs alcohol detox and addiction treatment. Generally, you should get treated if you can’t control the amount and duration of your drinking and crave alcohol even during work hours.

If this describes you or someone you love, contact us today to discuss treatment in a supportive environment and set your life back on the path to sobriety and long-term well-being. You’re not alone — get help now.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) Phases

A 2021 study reported that 40% of emergency department visits were from AUD patients. Fifty-two percent of them presented with symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and 24% got delirium tremens (DT). Without medical care, 15% of DT patients will die. These statistics reveal the prevalence of AUD and the dangers of unmanaged alcohol withdrawal and detox attempts.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur when someone with physiological alcohol dependence reduces alcohol intake drastically or suddenly stops drinking. Withdrawal symptoms vary widely among genders, age groups and individuals. However, most people who experience AWS will experience two phases:

Alcohol Withdrawal: Stages and Timelines  

Alcohol addiction withdrawalPeople in an alcohol addiction treatment will react differently to the detox process depending on:

  • Level of physiological dependence on alcohol
  • Duration of alcohol abuse
  • Age
  • General health status
  • Genetic predisposition to alcoholism
  • Presence of comorbidities

Often, alcohol detox will follow these three stages:

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome & The Brain

Just like other mood-changing substances, alcohol changes brain activity in both the short and long term. Prolonged and/or excessive drinking can alter the brain structure permanently. The exact workings of the brain are relatively complex, but the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal reveal the extent of changes to the brain in an individual trying to detox.

Research shows that alcohol changes the release of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of the nervous system) in the short term. For example, it can disrupt protein function in the receptors and membranes of the nervous system. Initially, this causes the loss of inhibition, mild anxiety, sedation and elevated moods when a person drinks.

Prolonged alcohol use or misuse builds tolerance because the brain adapts to the new state of inebriation. Essentially, it defines a “new normal” for itself, so mild inebriation becomes the standard. This leads to functional alcoholism — needing alcohol to function normally. When someone whose brain has adapted to the presence of alcohol tries to quit cold turkey, they experience brain hyperexcitement — the barrage of symptoms we call AWS.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment: Coping With the Effects of AUD After Detox

alcohol withdrawal and detox treatment

Detox is the first and most critical stage of substance abuse treatment. By entering an alcohol addiction treatment program, you’ll get the support you need to stop drinking and detox in a safe and relatively comfortable way.

However, after alcohol detoxification comes the critical stage of examining the thoughts, behaviors and external patterns that contributed to alcohol misuse in the first place.

Your professional treatment program will help you explore your thoughts and feelings, examine your life to find the root cause and offer ways to cope after leaving the treatment center. Various approaches to relapse prevention can set you up for long-term sobriety and life after alcohol addiction. These include:

  • Inpatient/residential treatment programs: You stay at the facility during detox and after for round-the-clock support and intensive individual and group therapy.
  • Outpatient programs: After initial detox, you stay home and regularly attend individual and group therapy sessions. You’ll work on real-life applications of the lessons learned during treatment. Outpatient treatment becomes less intensive as you adapt to life outside over time.

Generally, everyone will have a personalized journey after alcohol detox. Tailored programs will help you achieve healing faster and prepare for your life outside the rehab center. This gives you the best chance to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.

Remember, it’s hard to predict how severe your alcohol withdrawal process will be. To be safe, check yourself into a treatment facility where you have 24/7 support from medical professionals through this challenging and potentially life-threatening phase of rehabilitation.

To learn more about how alcohol treatment can change your life, call Brookside Addiction Treatment Services at (866) 669-6527. One of our experienced staff members will explain the admissions process and tell you more about our alcohol treatment programs in Kentucky.

General Outpatient Therapy

No matter what stage of addiction you’re at or how long you’ve been using substances, you can overcome addiction. Call Brookside Treatment today to find out more.