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Alcohol Detox in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Alcohol misuse can harm your physical and mental health and have a negative impact on your entire life. Misusing alcohol can lead to dependence, a physical condition where you need to drink to prevent withdrawal symptoms, and alcohol use disorder (AUD), the diagnosis for alcohol addiction.1

The term “alcohol misuse” can refer to binge drinking (5 or more drinks for men in around 2 hours or 4 or more drinks for women), heavy drinking (4 drinks on any single day for men or more than 3 drinks for women), or drinking in any way that is harmful to your health.1

The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that among people aged 12 and older living in Nevada:2

  • 3 million people used alcohol in the past month.
  • 636,000 people reported binge drinking in the past month.
  • 155,000 people had an AUD in the previous year.
  • 143,000 people needed but did not get treatment for alcohol use in the previous year.

If you or someone you care about are struggling with alcohol abuse, an alcohol detox program can help you stop drinking, while keeping you safe and getting you started on the path to recovery.

What is Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is often the first step in an AUD treatment program. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range in intensity and severity. Symptoms can pose serious health risks that may be fatal. It is advised that people who chronically use alcohol go through medically supervised alcohol detox because of this risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol detox programs keep a close eye on withdrawal symptoms, prescribe medicines to reduce the risk of seizures, and otherwise can help you stay both safe and as comfortable as possible.3

Most detox programs will include the following 3 elements:3

  1. An assessment of your physical and mental health that will help your care team create a treatment plan.
  2. Stabilization, which means the actual process of withdrawal as your body detoxifies and returns to an alcohol-free state. This process often involves prescription medicines.
  3. Getting ready for further treatment. After detox, many people continue their recovery in inpatient or outpatient rehab. Formal alcohol rehab treatment helps you identify the underlying issues that led to the addiction and teaches you how to prevent relapse.

What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. It depends on how much and how often you drank, your age, your overall health, and other factors.3 Withdrawal is fairly rare in people younger than 30, and the risk of severity increases along with increasing age.9

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms of mild alcohol withdrawal include:3

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Anxiety.
  • Low appetite.
  • Feeling irritable.
  • Gastrointestinal problems.
  • Shakiness (tremors).
  • Headache.

In addition to the symptoms above, moderate withdrawal may also include raised body temperature, sweating, mild confusion, rapid and shallow breathing, and a rapid heart rate.

Severe alcohol withdrawal can lead to possibly fatal seizures and, in rare cases, people may also develop a syndrome known as delirium tremens (DTs).4 DTs includes symptoms such as:3,4

  • Autonomic hyperactivity (pulse greater than 100 beats per minute, sweating, anxiety, agitation, fever).
  • Severe confusion and a diminished level of consciousness.
  • Delusions (ideas or beliefs that are not based in reality).
  • Hallucinations (seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t there.

It’s estimated that only 3% to 5% of people with alcohol withdrawal symptoms display symptoms of DTs. When left untreated, it can be fatal in up to 37% of cases.3,10

What Medicines are Used in Alcohol Detox?

Medication used for alcohol detox may help reduce withdrawal symptoms or prevent them altogether, increase your comfort, and help you stay safe. These medicines can include:3,5,7

  • Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, and lorazepam, are the preferred first-line treatment for alcohol withdrawal; they can ease withdrawal symptoms and lower the chances of seizures and delirium tremens.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. These may be used instead of benzodiazepines in certain cases to prevent seizures and delirium tremens.
  • Clonidine or beta blockers can help lower blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Antipsychotics. These medicines help control extreme agitation, hallucinations, delusions, and delirium, but must be used carefully as they can also increase your risk of seizures.
  • Multivitamins or specific vitamins, particularly thiamine (vitamin B1) may help restore depleted reserves, as excessive alcohol use can lead to vitamin deficiencies.

How Long Will It Take to Detox From Alcohol Addiction?

How much time it takes to detox from alcohol can vary according to each patient’s level of dependence and other individual characteristics. The overall health of every individual can play a significant role in the process, as people with chronic or acute physical health conditions require particular care during detoxification since the consequences of withdrawal can be dangerous or even life-threatening. Medically monitored detoxification usually lasts 2-3 days, up to a week in more severe cases. Patients are given appropriate medication to help alleviate the symptoms and prevent potentially dangerous outcomes.11

The usual timeline of the detoxification process consists of 3 main steps:11

  • Intake. During this phase, a team of experts will perform a careful evaluation of the patient’s alcohol abuse history and physical and mental health so that they can determine the most suitable detox plan for each patient.
  • Medication. Since alcohol detox symptoms can be unpleasant and dangerous, particularly for people who have abused alcohol heavily and for a long time, pharmacotherapy is used to alleviate them and to help with potentially aggravated symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders, if present.
  • Stabilization. This is the final phase of detoxification but also the beginning of the actual alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment. Addiction is not cured by simply detoxifying the body from alcohol. Instead, the causes of the addiction need to be identified and explored to achieve long-term sobriety. This is commonly done through psychotherapy or counseling, as well as a maintenance medication to reduce cravings and lower the chance of relapse.

Most unpleasant physical symptoms usually subside within the first week, while some milder ones can last longer. Dealing with psychological effects after the detox is an essential part of recovery, and each individual moves through this process at their own pace. Determining a precise timeline is difficult due to the different personal characteristics and circumstances of each patient.12

Alcohol Detox Programs in Nevada

Everyone is different, so a detox program should be tailored to your specific needs. Detox programs can vary in setting and intensity level. Your doctor can help you decide which setting and intensity is right for your treatment needs.6

Outpatient Alcohol Detox

During outpatient detox, you live at home but travel to a detox center on a regular schedule. Outpatient detox can take place in different settings, such as a doctor’s office, a freestanding addiction treatment center, or as a home health care service.3

Outpatient alcohol detox may be suitable for people with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and who do not have other risk factors that could lead to severe or complicated withdrawal.7

Medical Alcohol Detox

Medical detox involves prescription medicines and medical monitoring by licensed professionals, such as doctors and nurses. It can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. SAMHSA states that young people in good health and with no history of previous withdrawal reactions could likely go through withdrawal without medication, but generally advises medical detox for people withdrawing from alcohol for safety reasons.3

Medical alcohol detox is different from nonmedical, or social detox. Social detox often takes place in short-term treatment centers that offer room and board during withdrawal, typically relies on peer support, and may or may not involve prescription medicines.3 SAMHSA states that social detox is not advisable for people who have a history of severe withdrawals, multiple withdrawals, delirium tremens, or seizures.3

Inpatient Alcohol Detox

Inpatient alcohol detox means you live onsite at a hospital or freestanding inpatient detox clinic for the length of withdrawal. You get 24/7 medical care and support, and any complications that may arise can be addressed right away. SAMHSA advises inpatient care for people with a risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or DTs.3

If you have gone through alcohol withdrawal with moderate to severe symptoms before, your risk for more complicated or severe withdrawal greatly increases and it is likely that you will be advised to detox on an inpatient basis.

Will Insurance Cover Alcohol Detox in Nevada?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that insurance companies must offer the same coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment as they do for medical and surgical treatments.8 What your insurance will cover depends on your plan, so it’s a good idea to check your specific benefits with them by calling the number on the back of your card. You can also check this by filling out the form below. American Addiction Centers is in-network with many common insurance providers.

Finding Alcohol Detox Centers in Las Vegas, Nevada

It can be very hard, and medically dangerous in some cases, to quit drinking on your own. Alcohol detox can be a helpful first step in the recovery process. By offering medical supervision, prescription medicines, and supportive care, medical detox can help you stop drinking and safely withdraw from alcohol so that you can begin to regain control of your life. American Addiction Centers offers medical detox and supervised withdrawal management in Las Vegas and across the country to help you during the challenging period of early recovery.