Early treatment of alcohol addiction has shown to be the most effective. The longer someone stays in addiction, the harder it is to stop. However, even long-term addictions can be successfully treated. The effects of alcohol addiction can have severe consequences. Yet people have a hard time quitting, even when they want to. One reason is fear of withdrawal symptoms. At Believe Detox Center we offer safe and effective alcohol detox in Los Angeles, California.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a disease that is characterized by uncontrolled drinking and a preoccupation with alcohol. AUD includes conditions commonly referred to as alcohol abuse/misuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the familiar term, alcoholism.

Considered a brain disorder, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the level of misuse. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.5 million people ages 12 and over had alcohol use disorder.

No one sets out to become addicted to any substance. However, because alcohol is legal and easily accessible, people sometimes develop dependence before they realize it. Alcohol use disorder is suspected when someone has the overwhelming compulsion to consume alcohol, in spite of negative consequences.

man addicted to alcohol

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Occasional and moderate alcohol use is relatively harmless. However, sometimes even moderate use can move on to alcohol abuse and dependence. As with other substances of abuse, tolerance to alcohol causes someone to need to consume larger amounts and more frequently to achieve the same effect.

People who abuse alcohol, including binge drinking, will begin to show physical, and behavioral signs and symptoms of addiction as alcohol slowly takes over their lives. 

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased alcohol tolerance
  • Hangovers
  • Memory loss and blackouts
  • Malnutrition
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor hygiene
  • Increased lethargy 
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Denial that alcohol is a problem
  • Defensiveness
  • Drinking alone or in secrecy
  • Personality changes
  • Impulsive decisions
  • Risky behavior
  • Increased quantity and frequency of use
  • Alcohol-related legal problems
  • Difficulty with obligations and responsibilities
  • Relationship problems
  • Depression or other emotional issues

woman with depression from alcohol abuse

The Dangers of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the world and greatly impacts public health. Severe alcohol addiction is associated with the most dangerous consequences. However, even mild to moderate alcohol addiction and misuse can cause substantial damage to individuals, their families, and their community. 

Heavy drinkers increase their chances of dying from motor vehicles and other types of accidents, as well as homicide, and suicide. Even though men are much more likely than women to develop alcohol use disorder, women’s health suffers more, even at lower levels of consumption. Additionally, alcohol consumption can have a major effect on mental health and can even make some mental health disorders worse.

Alcohol addiction doesn’t just hurt the individual. As a consequence, others can be injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents and assaults. Heavy drinking may expose spouses and children to family violence, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and psychological damage. Women who drink during pregnancy risk serious harm to their fetuses. Furthermore, alcohol misuse causes many health problems for the user, both short and long-term.

Short-Term Health Risks

  • Injuries, such as car accidents, falls, burns, drowning
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky behaviors
  • Violence including sexual assault, homicide, and domestic violence

Long-Term Health Risks

  • Physical dependence
  • Mental health problems including depression, anxiety, psychosis
  • Higher cancer risks
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure and stroke
  • Digestive problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Liver disease
  • Dementia

doctor discusses health issues of alcohol use

What Does Alcohol Withdrawal Look Like?

A substance use disorder happens when someone has lost reasonable control of their alcohol use. They may be unwilling and unable to stop drinking on their own. In addition to the psychological addiction to alcohol, physical dependence occurs. As a result, if they cut back or abstain from alcohol, they will experience unpleasant and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This condition is known as Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS).

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range in severity from mild to life-threatening based on many factors. Because of this, it is always advisable to receive professional alcohol detox and supervision during this vital first step in the recovery process. Detoxification cleanses the body of drugs or alcohol that the body has become accustomed to having. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Severe craving
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium Tremens (DTs)

man lies awake due to withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox

What to Expect During Alcohol Detox in Los Angeles, CA

At Believe Detox Center we provide a safe, comfortable, and effective detox with a focus on long-term stability and relapse prevention. The begins with a detailed evaluation of each client. This assessment allows our team of addiction specialists to design an individualized treatment plan based on each client’s specific needs. 

The first step in healing from the physical, mental, and emotional impacts of alcohol addiction is detoxification. The detox process rids the body of alcohol entirely. Once alcohol is completely removed, the body begins to heal and adjust without it.

We provide the highest quality support, supervision, and management of withdrawal symptoms at our center for alcohol detox in Los Angeles, California. During detox, clients may be given medications to help them withdraw from alcohol safely and more comfortably.

Medications may include:

  • Benzodiazepines (like diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, oxazepam, or lorazepam)
  • Anticonvulsants (like carbamazepine, gabapentin, or topiramate)
  • Antipsychotics (like haloperidol)
  • Vivitrol (naltrexone)
  • Campral (acamprosate)
  • Antabuse (disulfiram)

Timeline of Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

The timeline and withdrawal symptoms that each person experiences depend on a variety of individual factors. While the most severe physical symptoms generally last between three and seven days, some can last up to two weeks. Also, alcohol detox often produces intense mental health symptoms. These symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, may last for weeks or months.

A typical timeline may look like the following:

  • First eight hours: For most people, mild symptoms begin gradually within the first eight hours.
  • 12 to 24 hours: Symptoms may still be mild or may begin to increase in severity.
  • 24 to 72 hours: During this time frame withdrawal symptoms usually peak. This is the time of severe symptoms that pose a risk.
  • Next few weeks: Withdrawal symptoms usually begin to subside after 72 hours. However, the first few weeks after detox is when the risk is highest for relapse.

woman meets with counselor during alcohol detox los angeles

Overcome Alcohol Abuse With Alcohol Detox in Los Angeles, CA

Making the decision to stop drinking alcohol is a big step. The fear of withdrawal symptoms may be daunting or even prevent people from seeking treatment. Believe Detox Center is committed to helping clients receive a safe, comfortable, and effective alcohol detox in Los Angeles, California. Once detox is complete, clients can then transition to an addiction treatment program that includes therapy, addiction education, and support to maintain long-term sobriety.

If you or someone you love is ready to take that first step on the path to recovery, please reach out to us today.

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