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The road to recovery begins with detoxification. Whether you are addicted to drugs or to alcohol, those toxic chemicals can linger in your body for hours or even days, and they can continue to impact your body and mind—making true sobriety impossible. Simply put: You can’t pursue sobriety if you are still drinking or doing drugs!

For those who are addicted to alcohol, then, detox is a necessary step to free your body and mind from addiction’s hold. As you consider detox, however, it’s important to have the right expectations.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

The first thing to consider is the timeline. While detox begins shortly after you finish your last drink, it can take a few days for the detox process to be complete. In fact, most individuals will need to allot seven to 10 days for alcohol detox.

Of course, detox is just the first step in the journey to sobriety; after those seven to 10 days, you’ll need to pursue residential care, which can last from 30 to 90 days. The timeline for your detox and recovery will vary, depending on such factors as your specific addiction, your addiction history, and the severity of your addiction.

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Detox?

Those who go through alcohol detox can expect some withdrawal pains. Some of the immediate symptoms include sweating, nausea, vomiting, and even seizures. Once you’re out of the acute withdrawal stage, your symptoms may lessen to include poor sleep, a negative mood, and some cravings.

Again, the symptoms can vary from one person to the next, and they depend on the level and type of your addiction, plus any co-occurring conditions you may have. As you head into the detox process, however, it is important to anticipate at least some withdrawal pain.

Is Home or Clinical Detox Best?

Because withdrawal pain can be intense, home detox is generally not recommended. Trying to detox all on your own may cause you, in a moment of anguish, to reach for more alcohol—undoing all your hard work and putting you at risk of overdosing.

In a clinical detox setting, you’re carefully monitored to ensure health and safety. What’s more, non-addictive medications can be used to minimize your withdrawal pains, and to make the detox process as smooth and as comfortable as possible.

Is Detox Enough to Ensure Sobriety?

While detox is an important first step toward sobriety, it’s not sufficient in and of itself. Once you complete the detox process, it’s important to pursue some combination of residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, a partial hospitalization program, transitional living, and aftercare.

These programs will help you develop the coping skills you need to maintain your recovery, even during seasons of stress or anxiety. They will strengthen you against cravings, and help you put a relapse prevention plan into place. While detox sets the stage for these important skills, it’s only meant to be the first step in your recovery journey.

Pursuing Detox from Experience Recovery

For those who long to be free from their alcohol addiction, detox is a crucial first step—and while it isn’t always easy, it does bring you closer to the sobriety you crave.

Experience Recovery is proud to deliver customized addiction treatment programs for our clients in Orange County—and that includes alcohol detox. The first step is reaching out to speak with a counselor, and determine which program is best for you or your loved one. Start that conversation today. Connect with Experience Recovery and ask us about alcohol detox.