Inpatient Alcohol Detox Programs

Inpatient alcohol detoxification programs are often the first step toward recovering from alcohol abuse and include treatments to combat withdrawal symptoms and keep people comfortable. Further treatment may be needed after detox to address alcohol or drug addiction.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Inpatient alcohol detox is usually the first step in inpatient alcohol treatment programs. Detox programs offer a place where people with an alcohol use disorder can “get clean” in a safe and comfortable environment.

Everyone’s alcohol detox process looks different. The detox treatments used will depend on the level of care needed and how strong a person’s alcohol dependence is.

What Is Inpatient Detox?

Inpatient detox means that a person who has been struggling with alcohol abuse will go through detox at a rehab center.

Inpatient treatment facilities that offer alcohol detox programs are set up to care for all of a person’s needs during this difficult phase of the recovery process.

Behavioral health, physical comfort, and medical needs are all addressed and taken care of within an inpatient detox program.

Detox is the first step to recovery, and it will usually be followed by further rehab programs. Oftentimes after inpatient detox, people will complete an inpatient alcohol rehab program, followed by outpatient treatment.

What Types Of Treatments Are Offered During Inpatient Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when someone stops drinking after prolonged alcohol abuse. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage, and even life-threatening.

Treatment at an inpatient alcohol detox center focuses on keeping the client comfortable and stable during this difficult process.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol detox is commonly used at drug treatment centers.

Benzodiazepines are one of the most common types of drugs used during alcohol detox. These drugs can help to prevent seizures, which are possible during severe alcohol withdrawal, also called Delirium Tremens.

Benzodiazepine drugs can also help by acting as mood stabilizers and stress relievers, as they are known to be calming to the central nervous system.

Later in alcohol treatment, other drugs like disulfiram and naltrexone might be used to prevent relapse and reduce cravings for alcohol.

Nutritional Aids

Nutrition is a critically important part of alcohol detox. A proper diet supplemented with appropriate vitamins and minerals helps bring the body into balance during detox.

Some foods to eat during alcohol detox include:

  • lean proteins like fish and chicken breast which promote vitality and health without adding too much unhealthy fat
  • fruits and vegetables which contain essential vitamins and nutrients as well as fiber which promotes gut health
  • probiotic foods like yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi that promote gut health
  • foods high in vitamin B such as poultry, leafy greens, and lentils
  • foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts, and chia

In addition to healthy foods, the following vitamins and supplements can help support the body and its functions during detox:

  • vitamin b
  • vitamin c
  • zinc supplements
  • magnesium supplements
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • protein
  • herbal supplements

Find out the best supplements to take during alcohol detox.

Other Medications

Inpatient programs for detox are completed in a healthcare environment, because of the complications that can arise during alcohol withdrawal. This is why inpatient detox is often called ‘medical detox’.

Sometimes, other medications are used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Treatment providers might introduce medications to manage such symptoms as:

  • high blood pressure
  • fast heart rate or heart palpitations
  • insomnia
  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • anxiety

There are multiple medications that might be chosen to address each of the above symptoms.

How Long Does Inpatient Alcohol Detox Take?

The alcohol detox process is different for everyone. Detox often lasts longer for people who have been drinking heavily over a prolonged period of time.

The presence of other drug addictions or substance use disorders can also make detox last longer. Physical and mental health conditions can extend the process further.

People who are overweight tend to detox for longer. The same goes for older people and people who are generally unhealthy.

Usually, alcohol detox lasts for a week or more with withdrawal beginning within six to 12 hours after the last drink. The most intense symptoms tend to subside within seven to 10 days.

Side Effects Of Alcohol Withdrawal Addressed During Alcohol Detox

Alcohol withdrawal is a painful and difficult process. Many factors can influence what side effects someone will experience during withdrawal.

Any of the following side effects can be felt during alcohol withdrawal:

  • anxiety
  • tremors
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • mood changes
  • stomach issues
  • heart palpitations
  • raised blood pressure and/or heart rate
  • hallucinations
  • rapid and abnormal breathing
  • seizures
  • hyperthermia

Detox programs work to address each of these symptoms as they arise and simultaneously to ensure your continuous safety.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Alcohol Detox Programs

You should always consult with a healthcare professional before choosing inpatient vs. outpatient programs for alcohol detox.

In general, outpatient alcohol detox programs include less medical care and are best for people who have a stable and supportive home environment and are unlikely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Medical professionals are always on-hand in inpatient detox programs. This adds a layer of safety and support that some people need during detox.

Treatment Programs For Alcohol Addiction

If you or a loved one has an alcohol addiction, there are treatment options available to you.

Never try to tackle addiction alone. Alcohol and drug addiction treatment can help you discover the path to recovery.

Alcohol treatment programs are available for every level of addiction to alcohol. It is never too early or too late to start your recovery journey.

Find Addiction Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center is one of the east coast’s top addiction treatment centers.

Our treatment plans include personalized attention to detail and aftercare planning to support your goal to have long-term success in your recovery.

Call our helpline today to learn more about our alcohol treatment options.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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