Alcohol detox

One of the reasons that alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is so difficult to overcome is that trying to stop drinking can cause withdrawal symptoms.

When you drink a lot for a long time, your body adapts to the continuous presence of alcohol in your system. When you then try to stop or significantly reduce the amount of your drinking, your body will react with a variety of symptoms which are collectively referred to as alcohol withdrawal.

What is an alcohol detox?

An alcohol detox is a medically supervised programme that can help you to stop drinking with minimal medical risk.

Depending upon your history with alcohol, the first withdrawal symptoms can begin to occur within a few hours of your last drink, and the entire process can last more than a week.

The severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and the knowledge that they can be eliminated merely by once again drinking alcohol, can quickly overwhelm even the strongest desire to stop drinking. Also, if you have a long history of chronic heavy alcohol misuse, attempting to stop drinking without professional help can actually put your health at risk.

What happens during an alcohol detox?

Priory’s alcohol detoxification programme occurs in a safe, comfortable and closely monitored environment. Experienced medical and nursing staff members are available around the clock, so you never need to worry about having access to care.

Depending upon the nature and severity of your withdrawal symptoms, you may be given prescription medications to alleviate discomfort and prevent serious withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. For alcohol withdrawal, we typically prescribe, reducing doses of diazepam or oxazepam, which are from the benzodiazepine category of medications.

While you are still in detox with Priory, you will also be able to start participating in group therapy. With the guidance of an experienced therapist, groups allow you to learn from the experiences of others who are in a similar stage of their recovery, share your thoughts and insights and form healthy, productive and sober relationships.

As your detox from alcohol progresses, you will feel yourself growing stronger in both body and mind. Your improved physical strength and increased mental clarity will serve you well as you transition to the next phase of treatment.

Benefits of alcohol detox at Priory

The safety and security, the ability to work with experienced professionals and the opportunity to start group therapy while still in detox can provide significant short and long-term benefits.

However, the benefits of completing detox at Priory are not limited to the time that you spend in our detox programme.

While in residential care, you will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of therapeutic activities and receive highly personalised services, including exercise programmes, yoga, relaxation, swimming and equine therapy. This intensive experience will help you to address the issues that contributed to your alcohol misuse, and will also help you to develop healthier coping strategies and effective relapse-prevention skills.

Priory actively encourages the involvement of families in the programme. With your agreement, family members will provide a collateral letter about their experiences of your drinking and will be invited to attend a day of your inpatient treatment, to help them to become part of your recovery. 

For patients who have particularly severe addictions we may ask them to consider further residential treatment in a 'secondary care' facility. This can be for between 3-6 months at a Priory facility in the UK or South Africa.

After discharge we encourage attendance at weekly evening aftercare meetings; these are free for 12 months following addiction treatment. Where appropriate, we advise continued therapy with an experienced 1:1 therapist. We also encourage attendance at appropriate fellowship meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Cocaine Anonymous (CA). 

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding the signs and symptoms of addiction, please call 0800 840 3219. Or complete our free addiction assessment. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here.