What is Alcohol Detox and How Does it Work?

AA Meeting and Talking


Alcohol detox is the process of removing alcohol from the body in a controlled and safe manner which is necessary for individuals who are physically dependent on alcohol and want to stop drinking. 

At Charles River Recovery, we recognize those who struggle with addiction include our neighbors, friends, and family members. Alcohol dependency can affect anyone. It leads to serious health problems, and attempting to stop drinking suddenly can be dangerous because of the potential for severe withdrawal symptoms. 

Alcohol detox is usually the first step in recovering from alcohol addiction. In this article, we will explore the process of alcohol detox and provide tips for managing the challenges of this difficult but necessary process.


What Happens During Alcohol Detox?

When an individual who is physically dependent on alcohol stops drinking, their body goes through a process of withdrawal as it adjusts to the absence of alcohol. At Charles River Recovery, our team of specialists is trained to help you and your loved ones during this process.



Addiction Graphic for Alcohol



The severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the level of alcohol dependency, but common symptoms include tremors, hallucinations, seizures, and high blood pressure. 

In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, so individuals need to undergo alcohol detox in a medically supervised setting. Our facility, located at 75 Norumbega Road in Weston, Massachusetts, is designed to help our patients detox through individualized care plans.

During alcohol detox, our medical professionals will monitor vital signs and administer medications as needed to help manage withdrawal symptoms. The goal of medical intervention during alcohol detox is to make the individual as comfortable as possible while the body processes the alcohol.

Important note: alcohol detox is not the same as addiction treatment, typically followed by additional treatment and support to help the individual recover from their addiction. At our facility, we offer both alcohol detox programs and other levels of care, such as medication-assisted recovery.


AA Meeting and Talking


How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

The duration of alcohol detox can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the individual’s alcohol dependency and overall health. We’ve found that alcohol detox takes about a week (on average) but it can take longer for some people. 

Alcohol Consumption Graphic

Factors that can influence the duration of alcohol detox include:

      • The amount of alcohol the individual was consuming: The more alcohol an individual consumed, the longer it may take for their body to process it and a complete detox.

        • The presence of other substances: If the individual was using other substances in addition to alcohol, it might take longer for their body to detox from all of the substances. At Charles River Recovery, we offer other levels of care to help with various addictions. 

          • Medical complications: If the individual has underlying health conditions exacerbated by alcohol withdrawal, detox may take longer.

        It is important to remember that alcohol detox is only the first step in recovering from alcohol addiction. After detox, the individual will likely need to participate in additional treatment and support programs in order to recover fully. At Charles River Recovery, we have an in-depth knowledge of surrounding support groups for continued recovery.

        Alcohol Detox - Talking with Professionals


        Coping with the Challenges of Alcohol Detox

        Undergoing alcohol detox can be a challenging experience, both physically and emotionally. Here are some tips for managing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and coping with the challenges of alcohol detox, which we’ve found helpful at our care center. 

        Alcohol Detox and Disorder Graphic

            • Stay hydrated: Dehydration is common during alcohol detox. Drink plenty of fluids to help flush toxins from the body.

              • Eat healthily: A healthy diet can help support the body during detox and promote overall well-being.

                • Get plenty of rest: Getting enough sleep is important for helping the body recover and rebuild during detox.

                  • Seek support: Support from family and friends can be invaluable during alcohol detox. It can also be helpful to seek support from a therapist or a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

                    • Take medications as prescribed: If you have been prescribed medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms, be sure to take them as directed.

                  Alcohol detox is an important first step in the journey to recovery. With the right support and resources, it can successfully overcome alcohol addiction and build a healthy, sober life. Our trained professionals are ready to help you realize your dreams of a sober life!


                  The Importance of Ongoing Recovery Support

                  While alcohol detox is an important first step in recovering from alcohol addiction, it is not the only step. To maintain long-term recovery, it is important to engage in ongoing treatment and support, which we help with at Charles River Recovery.


                  No Beverages and Alcohol Sign


                  Therapy can help individuals understand and address the underlying issues contributing to their alcohol use and develop coping strategies to prevent relapse. 

                  Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can provide a sense of community and accountability, as well as a wealth of recovery experience and knowledge.

                  It is also important to establish a strong support network of friends and family who can provide emotional and practical support during the recovery process. Building a sober support system can help individuals maintain their recovery and navigate the challenges that may arise.

                  Recovering from alcohol addiction is a lifelong process, and it is important to prioritize one’s recovery and seek support as needed. With the right resources and support, it is possible to build a healthy, sober life.



                  Charles River Recovery offers comprehensive treatment plans for alcohol detox and ongoing support. If you or a loved one is in need of care, please reach out to our team of qualified professionals. 



                  UMMC Grenada offers first-time inpatient substance abuse detox program. (n.d.). University of Mississippi Medical Center. https://www.umc.edu/news/News_Articles/2018/07/ummc-grenada-offers-first-time-inpatient-substance-abuse-detox-program.html

                  What is Alcohol Poisoning? | Symptoms & Signs. (n.d.). Alcohol.org. https://alcohol.org/faq/what-is-alcohol-poisoning/

                  NIAAA Publications. (n.d.). Cybercemetery.unt.edu. https://cybercemetery.unt.edu/archive/allcollections/20090131024920/http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AA76/AA76.htm

                  ‌Solan, M. (2022, January 3). Thinking of trying Dry January? Steps for success. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/thinking-of-trying-dry-january-steps-for-success-202201032662

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