Addiction & Criminology

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.

Opinion Article - Addiction & Criminology (2024) Volume 7, Issue 2

What to expect during alcohol detox the road to recovery.

Patricia Donovan *

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Patricia Donovan
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, USA

Received: 02-Apr -2024, Manuscript No. AARA-24-132267; Editor assigned: 03-Apr-2024, PreQC No. AARA-24-132267 (PQ); Reviewed:17Apr-2024, QC No. AARA-24-132267; Revised:22-Apr-2024, Manuscript No. AARA-24-132267 (R); Published:29-Apr-2024, DOI:10.35841/aara-7.2.197

Citation: Donovan P, What to expect during alcohol detox the road to recovery. Addict Criminol. 2024;7(2):197

Visit for more related articles at Addiction & Criminology


Embarking on the journey of alcohol detoxification is a courageous step towards reclaiming one's health and well-being. However, it's essential to understand what to expect during this process and the road to recovery that follows. In this article, we will explore the stages of alcohol detox, the challenges individuals may encounter, and the path to long-term sobriety [1].

Alcohol detoxification, commonly referred to as detox, is the initial phase of recovery from alcohol addiction. During detox, the body eliminates alcohol toxins accumulated from prolonged use, leading to withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to functioning without alcohol. While detox is a necessary step, it can be physically and emotionally challenging, requiring medical supervision and support [2].

The detox process typically begins with a comprehensive assessment by healthcare professionals to evaluate the individual's physical health, mental state, and level of alcohol dependence. This assessment helps determine the most appropriate detox approach and level of care needed [3].

Once the assessment is complete, individuals may undergo stabilization, during which medical interventions, such as medications to manage withdrawal symptoms, are initiated to ensure their safety and comfort. Stabilization aims to minimize the severity of withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications [4].

As the body adjusts to the absence of alcohol, individuals may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, tremors, sweating, anxiety, insomnia, and hallucinations. These symptoms can vary in intensity and duration, depending on factors such as the severity of alcohol dependence and individual physiology [5].

Throughout the detox process, individuals are closely monitored by healthcare professionals to assess their progress, manage symptoms, and address any complications that may arise. Monitoring may involve regular medical check-ups, vital sign monitoring, and mental health assessments [6].

Physical withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, sweating, and tremors, can be uncomfortable and distressing for individuals undergoing detox. These symptoms typically peak within the first few days of detox and gradually subside over time [7].

In addition to physical symptoms, individuals may experience psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings. These symptoms can be intense and may require additional support and counseling to manage effectively [8].

Psychological cravings for alcohol are common during detox and can be triggered by environmental cues, stress, or emotional triggers. Managing cravings requires coping strategies, such as distraction techniques, relaxation exercises, and seeking support from peers or professionals. While detox marks the beginning of the recovery journey, the road to long-term sobriety extends beyond the initial detoxification phase. Recovery is a lifelong process that requires ongoing commitment, support, and self-care. Here are some key elements of the road to recovery: Following detox, individuals are encouraged to engage in aftercare programs and services to support their ongoing recovery journey [9].

Aftercare may include counseling, therapy, support groups, sober living arrangements, and relapse prevention planning. Building a strong support network of family, friends, peers, and professionals is crucial for maintaining sobriety post-detox. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques can help individuals maintain physical and emotional well-being in recovery. Developing healthy coping strategies for managing stress, cravings, and triggers is essential for long-term sobriety. These strategies may include mindfulness practices, relaxation techniques, and engaging in hobbies and activities [10].


Alcohol detox is the first step on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction. While detox can be challenging, with proper medical supervision and support, individuals can safely navigate the process and begin their journey towards long-term sobriety. By understanding what to expect during detox and embracing the road to recovery with determination, support, and self-care, individuals can build a fulfilling life free from alcohol dependence.


  1. Chachula KM. A comprehensive review of compassion fatigue in pre-licensure health students: antecedents, attributes, and consequences. Curr Psychol. 2022;41(9):6275-87.
  2. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  3. Allan C, Smith I, Mellin M. Detoxification from alcohol: a comparison of home detoxification and hospital-based day patient care. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2000;35(1):66-9.
  4. Indexed at, Google Scholar

  5. Rizk HG, Lee JA, Liu YF, Endriukaitis L, Isaac JL, Bullington WM. Drug?Induced Ototoxicity: A Comprehensive Review and Reference Guide. Pharmacotherapy: J Human Pharmacol Drug Ther. 2020;40(12):1265-75.
  6. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  7. Helander A, Böttcher M, Fehr C, Dahmen N, Beck O. Detection times for urinary ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate in heavy drinkers during alcohol detoxification. Alcohol & Alcoholism. 2009;44(1):55-61.
  8. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref   

  9. McKay JR. Continuing care research: What we have learned and where we are going. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2009;36(2):131-45.
  10. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  11. Volkow ND, Li TK. Drug addiction: the neurobiology of behaviour gone awry. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004;5(12):963-70.
  12. Indexed at, Google Scholar

  13. Soyka M, Horak M. Outpatient alcohol detoxification: implementation efficacy and outcome effectiveness of a model project. European addiction research. 2004;10(4):180-7.
  14. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  15. Schilling RF, El-Bassel N, Finch JB, Roman RJ, Hanson M. Motivational interviewing to encourage self-help participation following alcohol detoxification. Research on Social Work Practice. 2002;12(6):711-30.
  16. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  17. Azuar J, Questel F, Hispard E, Scott J, Vorspan F, Bellivier F. Hospital stay and engagement in outpatient follow?up after alcohol emergency detox: a 1?year comparison study. Alcohol.: Clin Exp Res. 2016;40(2):418-21.
  18. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  19. Loeber S, Duka T, Welzel H, Nakovics H, Heinz A, Flor H, Mann K. Impairment of cognitive abilities and decision making after chronic use of alcohol: the impact of multiple detoxifications. Alcohol & Alcoholism. 2009;44(4):372-81.
  20. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Get the App