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Alcohol Detox

Kirkurd House Detox Unit

Castle Craig is one of the few addiction hospitals in the UK with a medically assisted detox unit.

We understand that detox can be daunting. That is why we are here to offer medical guidance and support throughout the process so you can rest assured you are in the safest of hands.

Located close to the main hospital is our alcohol detox centre, Kirkurd House. With ten single, en-suite bedrooms, a large sitting room and a 24/7 medical centre complete with full-time medical staff, the unit follows NICE quality standards, including  QS11 Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis & management.

Alcohol Detox in a Nutshell

  • How long does it take to detox from alcohol? The detoxification process typically lasts one week. However, some psychological side effects may still be present. More.
  • Do you need to detox under medical supervision for alcoholism? Most people opt for a medical detox in order to ensure safety. However, this ultimately depends on the severity of your illness and can be answered after a short, free alcohol addiction assessment.
  • An alcohol detox on its own is often not enough to sustain long-term sobriety.
  • Withdrawal from alcohol: the effects of alcohol detox can vary, but it’s important to note that we will medically manage all symptoms within our detox facility. Typical symptoms include sweating, shaking, vomiting, diarrhoea, and seizures in some severe cases.

Do I Really Need a Detox?

Often, patients displaying mild alcohol dependence will not require an assisted detox. If you drink less than 15 units of alcohol 4-5 days a week then it’s possible that detox might not be necessary, although all people have different levels of tolerance. Patients with moderate dependence can generally be treated in a less formal setting or with a home/community detox.

See our ‘do you need a detox?’ page.

Detox is the First Step in Recovery

We offer a fully managed medical detox from alcohol and other substances. For patients, this means that we have doctors, general nurses and mental health nurses on site all day and all night to assist people with their physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from drinking.

Nearly all of our patients at Castle Craig go through detox, so you are not alone. We hope this section of the website will act as a guide to detoxing from alcohol and its role in helping you recover.

When to seek help, when is enough, enough?

Establishing Your Drinking History

To create a bespoke detox programme, our medical team first carefully establish each patient’s chemical/alcohol use history. Often people minimise how much they have been drinking, or have other substances in their bloodstream, so it is important to make a thorough assessment. 

This assessment phase is followed by blood tests, which give the medical team a more precise diagnosis. Sometimes we come across substances that haven’t been mentioned; for example, somebody has come in primarily for a problem with alcohol but has also been taking Benzodiazepines. We can treat both of these substances as part of detox.

Medical investigations carried out for patients requiring alcohol withdrawal

  • Full blood count/Urea and electrolytes
  • Calcium, phosphate, magnesium
  • Liver function tests (with albumin and GGT)
  • INR, Glucose, Breath alcohol

Comprehensive alcohol history assessment

  • AUDIT-C or full AUDIT score
  • Units consumed per drinking day/Date and time of first drink
  • Drinking pattern
  • Dependence (SADQ)
    • Mild dependence – SADQ 15 or less
    • Moderate dependence – SADQ 15-30
    • Severe dependence – SADQ over 30
  • History of fits and current Medication
  • History of complications of alcohol use (for example liver disease, GI bleeding, malnutrition, peripheral neuropathy)
  • Previous detox and withdrawal symptoms
  • Symptoms indicative of physical dependence
  • Morning drinking/Tolerance and relief drinking
  • Concurrent illicit drug use (for example, stimulants)
  • Benzodiazepine use/dependence (including illicit use)
  • Social circumstances (please raise child safeguarding if the main carer for or around children)
  • Involvement with other treatment services/History of domestic violence

What Are We Trying to Achieve?

Alcohol detox is the first step in treating alcoholism.

Addiction is a complex and chronic illness, caused by a person’s environment, life experiences, social circumstances and biological factors such as genetics. Addressing these issues takes time and detox is simply the beginning; it cannot treat the underlying cause.

However, before fully immersing a patient into therapy at Castle Craig, we concentrate on eliminating the alcohol from their body. See process.

Patients then receive the maximum benefit from our addiction treatment programme.

“We know that if the patient finds their detox too awful and does not complete the detoxification process, they are nearly always going to go straight back out and drink.”

A photo of one of our nuring staff

Withdrawing from Alcohol

Withdrawal symptoms often vary depending on the severity of your alcohol abuse and how much/how long you have been drinking. Other factors such as gender, age and physical health can also affect withdrawal symptoms. 

While in alcohol detox at Castle Craig, all patients are able to start participating in therapy sessions as soon as they are physically able to. This can be done remotely from your bed should you wish. All patients in detox have access to their focal therapists.

Detoxing From Alcohol Safely

Depending on your alcohol level and how many years you have been drinking, alcohol detox will require medical supervision to safely begin the withdrawal process before embarking on a therapeutic rehab programme.

Medically supervised alcohol detoxes take place at our dedicated facility, where alcohol-dependent patients are cared for round the clock by a detox-specialised nursing team.

Care consists of close monitoring and soothing of withdrawal symptoms and providing emotional support. In addition, patients can rest assured that a doctor oversees our alcohol detoxes. The alcohol detoxification stage typically takes about one week. More.

Why detox is important

  • Detox aims to stabilise your condition before continuing to the deeper therapeutic element of alcohol addiction treatment.
  • At Castle Craig, our detox facility is onsite, and once completed, patients can become an active part of our recovery community as soon as their condition permits.
  • It’s important to note that detoxing from certain substances (such as alcohol alongside opioid use) can be dangerous and should never be attempted alone.
  • Also, remember that detox is only the first step of a rehab programme and should be followed by treatment at our accredited alcohol rehab to support long-lasting sobriety. 

Home Detox

It is possible to detox from alcohol or drugs at a local detox facility before coming to residential treatment.

This may be useful if it is unsafe for you to travel to your residential clinic before detox takes place or if an emergency detox is required due to life-threatening medical conditions.

It is not recommended to undergo a detox programme solely; for the best chance of success, alcohol addiction treatments require an advanced level of therapy and techniques to alter addictive behaviours. See alternative detox types.

You should not do this alone

The fact remains that detoxes can be dangerous if not conducted in the right environment with medical professionals.

Here at Castle Craig, you can rest easy knowing that you will be under round-the-clock medical care when undergoing detox at our alcohol rehab.

If you are looking for a place that you can trust to help you change your life for the better, look no further. Reach out to us.

Get in touch today

If you need emergency mental health advice or medical support, please call the NHS 24 helpline as soon as possible on 111. The advice is free and could save your life.

If you need advice on accessing rehab treatment for addictions, please call our 24-hour rehab helpline on 01721 728118 to arrange a free addiction assessment or click here for more information.

You’re almost there.

Supporting organisations that help develop NICE care standards for UK detoxification.