Medical Detox for Alcohol at Vista Taos Rehabilitation Center

Learn more about the benefits of medical detox for alcohol and how to find a treatment center near you.

Medical Detox for Alcohol

What is Medical Detox for Alcohol?

Medical detox for alcohol is a process used to help people overcome physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. It is the process of removing toxins from the body under the supervision of medical professionals. Detox is the first step in a substance abuse treatment program. Medical detox for alcohol is a process that helps individuals safely and comfortably withdraw from drugs or alcohol.

Withdrawal During Detox

Individuals may receive medication to manage withdrawal symptoms during medical detox for alcohol to prevent potential complications. Some of these complications include seizures or dehydration.

Where Does Detox Happen?

Medical detox for alcohol may occur in a hospital or specialized detox center where patients receive around-the-clock care and monitoring.

What Happens After Medical Detox for Alcohol?

When detoxification is complete, people can transition to further treatment.

These other treatments will help to address the underlying causes of addiction. It will also enable the person to learn strategies to maintain long-term recovery.

Symptoms of Medical Detox for Alcohol

Alcohol detox can produce a range of physical and psychological symptoms. The severity and duration of symptoms can vary depending on the individual’s level of alcohol dependence.

Mild Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

Some of the mild symptoms of alcohol detox include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Sweating or clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Fatigue or weakness

When Do These Symptoms Occur?

These symptoms usually occur within 6-12 hours after the last drink and can last several days. 

Although they may be uncomfortable, they are typically not life-threatening hence the need to go to a recovery center.

Important Note About Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

It is vital to note that even mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms should be taken seriously. They can be a sign of alcohol dependence. Without proper support, there is a risk of developing more severe withdrawal symptoms.

What to Do if You’re Experiencing Symptoms

If you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended that you seek medical advice and support from a healthcare professional or a specialized detox program.

They can help you manage your symptoms and provide the necessary care to ensure your safety and well-being.

Severe Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

Some of the severe symptoms of alcohol detox include:1

  • Tremors
  • Seizures, confusion, and hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Profound agitation or irritability
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
  • High fever

These symptoms typically occur within 48-72 hours after the last drink. It often requires immediate medical attention at a facility such as Vista Taos Rehabilitation Center.

Dangers of Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens is a medical emergency and can be fatal if left untreated. These severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms tend to occur in people who have been heavy drinkers for a long time.

They may also have a history of seizures or DTs, or have other medical conditions.

Medical vs. At-Home Detox

Medical detox for alcohol can occur at a facility or at home. Both have pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider which is right for you.

What is At-Home Detox?

At-home detox involves individuals attempting to detoxify from substances in their own homes without medical supervision. 

It usually involves self-guided withdrawal without the presence of healthcare professionals.

At-Home Detox Considerations

Here are some considerations for at-home detox:

  • Self-Management: During at home detox, the individual manages their withdrawal symptoms and detox without medical supervision.
  • Limited Medical Support: The individual may consult their primary care physician or addiction specialist for guidance. They consult their addiction specialist to possibly receive medication prescriptions to assist with detox.
  • Potential Risks: At-home detox carries a higher risk of complications, especially for individuals with severe dependence. It is also not advisable for individuals with a history of complicated withdrawals.
  • Lack of Immediate Medical Interventions: In case of severe withdrawal symptoms or medical emergencies, immediate medical care may not be readily available.

Choosing At-Home Detox

At-home detox suits individuals with a supportive environment and mild substance dependence. But, it is vital to note that professional medical support and guidance are vital for minimizing risks during detox.

According to a study in 1994, at 60 days, 45% of home detox individuals and 31% of day hospital individuals showed improvement during detox.2

The choice between at-home and medical detox depends on the individual’s recommendations by healthcare professionals.

Why is Medical Detox for Alcohol a Better Option?

Medical detox for alcohol involves a controlled environment such as Vista Taos Rehabilitation Center where the patient can receive professional medical care 24/7. This type of detox is for those with severe addictions.

Medical detox for alcohol offers structure and guidance to help those in recovery stay on track and avoid relapse. It is best for individuals with a history of complicated withdrawals. These individuals require close medical intervention and monitoring for a smooth detox.

Some critical aspects of medical detox for alcohol will be detailed below.

Medical Supervision

Healthcare professionals closely monitor the individual’s vital signs and provide medication when necessary. They also ensure their safety throughout the detox process.

Medication Management

Medications may be prescribed by professionals at Vista Taos Rehabilitation Center to:

  • Alleviate withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduce cravings
  • Prevent complications

Emotional Support

In addition to medical care, individuals may have access to counseling or therapy. Counseling and therapy help address the psychological aspects of addiction.

Safety Measures

There will be access to immediate medical interventions for severe withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens.

Risks of Medical Detox

While medical detox for alcohol is generally considered safe and effective, some potential risks and side effects remain.

Here are some of the most common risks associated with medical detox for alcohol.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Individuals may still experience withdrawal symptoms even with medical intervention. Some may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Adverse Reactions to Medications

Medications used in detox may cause adverse reactions. These reactions may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic reactions

Electrolyte Imbalances

Heavy or prolonged substance use can disrupt the body’s electrolyte balance. Detoxification can exacerbate these electrolyte imbalances. 

Electrolyte imbalances can lead to heart problems, seizures, or other complications.

Increased Risk of Falls or Accidents

Detoxification can cause physical weakness, dizziness, or confusion. This increases the risk of accidents.

Medical Complications

Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart and liver disease, may experience complications during detoxification.


Individuals may be at risk of overdose if they relapse shortly after detoxification when their tolerance has decreased.

Benefits of Medical Detox

Medical detox offers several benefits for individuals who are struggling with substance abuse.

Here are some of the main benefits of medical detox for alcohol or other substances:

Safe and Effective Detoxification

Medical detox at Vista Taos Renewal Center provides a safe and effective way to manage withdrawal symptoms. 

It ensures that individuals can detox from substances in a controlled environment with medical supervision.

Access to Medical Care

Individuals in medical detox have access to medical professionals. These individuals can monitor their vital signs and manage any withdrawal symptoms. They also provide medication when necessary.

Reduced Risk of Complications

Medical detox for alcohol helps to reduce the risk of complications during the withdrawal process. 

It is best for individuals with a history of severe withdrawal symptoms or underlying medical conditions.


Individualized Treatment

In medical detox, the medical practitioner tailors the treatment to the individual’s needs. Their treatment needs often depend on:

  • Their substance of choice
  • The severity of addiction
  • Medical history

Supportive Environment

Medical detox can provide an environment where individuals can receive emotional support. 

Here, the individuals also receive counseling and practical support in preparing for ongoing addiction treatment.

Increased Likelihood of Successful Recovery

Detoxification is often the first step in addiction treatment. Medical detox increases the chances of successful recovery. 

It helps individuals manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal and prepare them for ongoing treatment.

Long-Term Effects of Medical Detox for Alcohol

The long-term effects of medical detox for alcohol depend on the individual. Some people may experience a complete recovery and no further issues related to their alcoholism. But, others may require continued support or treatment for an extended period.

Research has found that individuals who receive medical care during detox are more likely to abstain from alcohol in the long term successfully. Some physical effects of medical detox from alcohol are vital sign monitoring and nutritional support.

Participation in a medically supervised detox program can lead to the effects below.

Reduced Risk of Relapse

Medical detox can help individuals overcome physical alcohol dependence. This can reduce the risk of relapse and increase the chances of long-term sobriety.

Improved Physical Health

Alcohol abuse can significantly negatively affect physical health. It can lead to:

  • Liver damage
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems


Medical detox for alcohol can help individuals begin to recover from these health issues. The ongoing treatment can provide additional support for managing long-term physical health concerns.


Improved Mental Health

Alcohol misuse can also contribute to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. 

Medical detox can support managing mental health issues and improving overall psychological well-being.

Psychological Effects of Medical Detox for Alcohol

The psychological effects of medical detox for alcohol can be positive and negative.

On the positive side, those undergoing detox may have improved mental clarity, reduced cravings, and a renewed sense of purpose in life.

However, individuals in medical detox for alcohol may feel intense anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues due to the treatment.

Why is it Important to Seek Additional Treatment After Detox?

Detox is only the first step in a long and successful journey to sobriety. But, it doesn’t address the psychological aspects of addiction. 

Additional treatment is vital to provide guidance, resources, and support to ensure long-term sobriety.

Treatment programs such as therapy, group counseling, and 12-Step programs can help address the underlying causes of addiction. Additional treatment also helps individuals transition back into society.

Types of Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for alcohol use disorder.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing patterns of behavior and thought that lead to addiction. It helps individuals identify triggers and develop coping strategies to prevent relapse.

CBT could help treat patients coping with substance dependency.3

12-Step Programs

12-Step programs provide a supportive community of peers in recovery and encourage abstinence from alcohol.

Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies can help people manage stress. This includes:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation


It improves the individual’s overall well-being and complements other types of treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs allow patients to receive treatment at home. It may include individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and other services.

Medication-Assisted treatment (MAT)

MAT involves using medication such as naltrexone and disulfiram. These medications help to manage alcohol cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.4

MAT is often used with other therapies, such as therapy or counseling.

Benefits of Sobriety

There are a variety of benefits to achieving sobriety. These will be discussed further below.

Improved Physical Health

Substance abuse can significantly negatively impact a person’s physical health. Achieving sobriety can improve your physical health and lead to a longer life.


Improved Mental Health

Substance use disorder (SUD) can also negatively impact a person’s mental health. 

Achieving sobriety can improve mental health outcomes and reduce symptoms of mental health disorders. It leads to an improved sense of emotional well-being.

Improved Relationships

Substance misuse can strain relationships with family members, friends, and loved ones. 

Achieving sobriety can help repair these relationships and build new, healthy relationships with supportive individuals.

Improved Self-Esteem

Substance misuse can lead to guilt, shame, and low self-esteem. Achieving sobriety can improve self-esteem and lead to a greater sense of self-worth.

Increased Productivity

SUD can reduce productivity at work, school, and in other areas of life. Achieving sobriety can increase productivity, better performance, and improve career prospects.

What Treatments Does Vista Taos Offer?

Vista Taos offers several treatment programs that help to address and treat addictive behaviors. These treatment programs provide individuals with a long-lasting recovery.

The medical treatment center supports the individual’s mind, spirit, and body. Vista Taos provides fully individualized and evidence-based treatment plans to aid recovery.

Available Treatment Programs at Vista Taos

Some of the treatment plans offered at Vista Taos include:

  • Dual diagnosis support
  • Holistic healing practices
  • Individual and group therapy sessions
  • 12-Step recovery program
  • Aftercare planning and support services
  • Family therapy and education programs
  • Recreational and life skills activities
  • Access to onsite medical care as needed

Receive Medical Detox for Alcohol at Vista Taos Recovery Center

At Vista Taos Renewal Center, we offer holistic addiction treatment programs to help with recovery.

Our healthcare professionals tailor the treatment programs according to the individual’s needs. We also provide our patients with an aftercare program that enables them to integrate into society after treatment.

Reach out to Vista Taos today at (575) 613-4810.

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Ready to Renew Your Life and Well-Being?

Reach out to Vista Taos Renewal Center today and let us guide you toward sustainable recovery. We will help you heal from the addictions and substance use challenges that hinder you from leading your most fulfilled life through personalized, whole-person treatment.