We all encounter difficult challenges that we must overcome at various points throughout our lives. For many, one of the most daunting is the struggle with alcohol dependence and addiction as part of an Alcohol Use Disorder. It is a condition that stealthily creeps into lives, often unnoticed at first then gradually tightening its grip, becoming a major concern and affecting health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Alcohol Use Disorder is not just a habit; it is a complex health issue that involves psychological, physical, and social factors. The journey to overcome this begins with a critical and challenging first step: detox and withdrawal.

Alcohol detox is the process of purging the body of alcohol and managing the withdrawal symptoms that follow when you quit drinking. This is a necessary phase and a foundational step on the road to reclaiming one’s life from alcohol. It is not merely about stopping alcohol consumptionit is about safely navigating alcohol withdrawal, which can be as perilous as it is pivotal.

Whether you or a loved one is facing this challenge, understanding the intricacies of alcohol detox—the timeline, the various alcohol addiction treatment methods, and the journey toward recovery—can be empowering and help lead to long-term success.

Finding the Right Alcohol Detox Program For You

There are several different types of alcohol detox treatment programs, each suited to different levels of dependence, addiction, and personal circumstances. Each method varies in terms of the level of medical intervention, support, and environment in which the alcohol detox occurs. Choosing the right type of detox is crucial, as it can significantly impact the individual's comfort and safety during the withdrawal process, as well as the likelihood of successful recovery.

Self-Detox: Abruptly discontinuing alcohol consumption can lead to significant discomfort and serious health risks. Individuals who do not perceive their drinking to be excessive can face alcohol withdrawal seizures upon sudden cessation. Attempts to gradually decrease alcohol intake over a period often fail, as the discomfort during this tapering process is usually too severe. Patients attempting to detoxify on their own without medical assistance may suffer from symptoms like confusion, agitation, hallucinations, tremors, or even Delirium Tremens (DTs). Additional risks include hyperthermia, cardiac arrhythmias, and complications from concurrent medical or psychological conditions. Seeking professional medical assistance is crucial to mitigate these risks.

Inpatient Detoxification: This process is conducted in a hospital or drug rehabilitation center and typically spans 4 to 10 days, varying from patient to patient. During inpatient detox, medications such as benzodiazepines are administered to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures. However, inpatient detoxification can be costly and disruptive to everyday life. Additionally, health insurance may not always cover the entire duration needed for a patient to fully recover.

Outpatient Detoxification with The Coleman Method: Our innovative alcohol detox method offers a comfortable and effective outpatient detoxification alternative. Patients appreciate the ability to undergo detox in the comfort of their home or hotel, away from the clinical atmosphere of a hospital. We utilize Phenobarbital and other medications to safely and comfortably detoxify patients, often within just three days. Phenobarbital is particularly effective for detox due to its targeted action on the brain and its long-lasting effects, which aid in a smoother transition to recovery. Our patients are monitored daily, and medication dosages are adjusted to ensure comfort without excessive sedation.


Typical Timeline for Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

The timeline for alcohol detox can vary depending on the individual's level of alcohol dependence, physical health, and other factors. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of the alcohol detox timeline when using the Coleman Method:

Before the Detox Begins: Patients have a telephone screening evaluation by a physician or nurse practitioner. The patient is usually advised to discontinue alcohol use at midnight before the day of their scheduled detoxification.

Day 1: This is the patient’s longest day in the office. Patients arrive around 8:00 am and have a thorough history and physical examination. Blood work is drawn, an EKG is obtained, other labs are taken as necessary, and an intravenous line is started if needed. Vital signs are measured, a breathalyzer is recorded, and the level of withdrawal is assessed. Phenobarbital and other medicines are given according to the clinical need. Patients are monitored very closely throughout the day. The patient is typically in the clinic for 6-8 hours.

Intermediate Day(s): The Coleman Method alcohol detox process typically takes 3-4 days. After the first day, patients attend the clinic daily and continue oral Phenobarbital medications along with their other comfort medicines. Doses of medicines are reviewed daily and adjusted. Patients also meet with our case manager to develop a plan for long-term recovery.

Final Day: By the final day of the detox, the patient’s body is completely free of alcohol. We review and agree on a comprehensive treatment plan for long-term recovery. We administer long-acting Naltrexone, and the patient can be discharged. Plans for follow-up medical care are established.

What Is Naltrexone Therapy for Alcohol?

After finishing your detox, we use Naltrexone Therapy as part of the Coleman Method to help patients sustain their momentum as they make the transition to post-detox recovery.

Naltrexone, a non-addictive medication, binds to the opiate receptors in the brain that are associated with the rewarding sensations experienced during alcohol consumption. By blocking these receptors, Naltrexone reduces the craving for alcohol and diminishes the enjoyment derived from drinking.

At the Coleman Institute, our unique formulation of Naltrexone is designed to slowly release the medication over a period of eight weeks through a pellet-sized implant that is inserted under the skin. We typically recommend patients remain on Naltrexone Therapy for at least one year following detox to provide time for the brain and body to heal, to establish strong support systems, and to develop new, healthier habits to help ensure recovery success.

Make the Choice to Get Help Today

Following detox with the Coleman Institute, many of our patients in long-term recovery say the same thing—they wish they decided to detox sooner.

There is no better time than now to start the process of reclaiming your life from alcohol dependence and addiction, and we are here to help you detox safely, comfortably, and as quickly as possible, with sustained support, resources, and addiction medicine expertise.

Contact our home office in Richmond, VA, or one of our nationwide clinics near you and take the first step toward overcoming Alcohol Use Disorder and creating a brighter future for you and the ones you love.