Inpatient Alcohol Detox - Residential Treatment

Inpatient Alcohol Detox

Residential Alcohol Detox in an Alcohol Detox Clinic

Alcohol dependence is a significant and very misunderstood problem that affects not only the people with the addiction but their families and friends too. Inpatient alcohol detox is one of the main forms of treatment in early recovery and is, therefore, a very important step for those needing help. It usually involves a medically-supervised alcohol withdrawal plan to stop drinking and remove alcohol from the system. Due to the potential severity of the symptoms when people who are dependent stop drinking, it’s usually a good idea to have some kind of professional intervention. Also, understanding the complexities of withdrawal and the benefits of residential detox treatment is helpful for people seeking to support a loved one through this challenging journey. 

What is Inpatient Alcohol Detox?

Inpatient alcohol detox is one of he best interventions available for tackling alcohol dependence. Within residential detox clinics, clients receive round-the-clock medical care and psychological support. Within the secure confines of an alcohol detox clinic, clients are looked after by the addiciton staff and medical care team. This support network is essential for managing the physical and psychological challenges that occur during the detoxification process.

Supervised Medical Care: The main idea of inpatient detox is the provision of supervised medical care. As noted by the National Health Service (NHS), the administration of certain drugs like chlordiazepoxide (librium) and vitamins, like thiamine, becomes imperative to prevent complications such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a severe neurological disorder. This level of care continues throughout the detox process, typically for several weeks following cessation of alcohol intake.

Support and Monitoring: During residential detox there is constant support and monitoring. This is not only to manage the immediate alcohol withdrawal symptoms but also to provide psychological support. The reassurance that comes from knowing help is at hand can considerably ease the anxiety associated with detox and alcohol withdrawals.

Preventing Complications: The detoxification process can have severe health risks. Inpatient settings are equipped to promptly address any complications. This is in contrast to outpatient programs, where the client does not stay at the facility and therefore might not have immediate access to medical intervention if needed.

24-hour Care: A round-the-clock approach helps mitigate the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal, which can include seizures and delirium tremens, life-threatening conditions.

Structured Environment: The structured environment of a residential detox unit offers a routine that can aid recovery. There are no external triggers and the presence of a supportive community help foster an atmosphere conducive to recovery too.

What Happens During Alcohol Detox?

Inside a residential alcohol detox unit, a series of straightforward steps – or a programmed detox plan – takes place to ensure the safety and well-being of clients. The experience in a residential detox begins with a thorough initial assessment, progresses through personalised treatment planning, medication administration and is underpinned by continual psychological support.

Initial Assessments:

  • Medical evaluations determine the physical health of the client and the extent of alcohol dependence.
  • Psychological assessments help to identify any co-occurring mental health issues, shaping the approach to treatment.

Personalised Treatment Plans:

  • Based on initial assessments, our medical team develops a tailored treatment plan to address the specific needs of the client.
  • These plans include strategies for managing withdrawal symptoms and timelines for the detox process.


  • To help withdrawal symptoms, medications such as benzodiazepines are prescribed, such as librium or valium.
  • Thiamine supplements are given to help prevent neurological complications, with the NHS recommending its continuation for at least six weeks post-detox.

Psychological Support:

  • As well as being physically challenging; psychological support is needed to help people through the emotional aspects of recovery.
  • Counselling and therapy sessions are often available to help address the root causes of addiction and to develop coping strategies.
  • Sober coaches can help many people find the motivation to quit drinking and can provide support before, during and after alcohol detox.

Safe Environment:

  • A safe environment ensures that clients don’t have access to alcohol, reducing the risk of relapse.
  • The presence of medical staff around the clock provides reassurance and immediate response.

What Are Alcohol Withdrawals?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are the body’s reaction to the absence of alcohol after a person has developed a dependency to booze. During the detox process, people often encounter a range of withdrawal symptoms that can vary in intensity and duration depending on several factors.

Delirium Tremens (DTs): A severe form of alcohol withdrawal characterised by sudden and severe mental or neurological changes. Symptoms can include confusion, rapid heartbeat and fever. DTs require immediate medical attention as they maybe life-threatening.

Seizures: Alcohol withdrawal may provoke seizures, which typically occur within the first 24 to 48 hours after the last drink. These are also serious and warrant urgent medical intervention.

Anxiety: Many people experience heightened anxiety levels during detox. This can manifest as a pervasive sense of nervousness, worry and restlessness.

The timeline of withdrawal symptoms generally follows a pattern of:

  • 6 to 12 hours post last drink: Mild symptoms begin to show, such as anxiety, shaking, nausea and insomnia.
  • 12 to 24 hours post last drink: Symptoms can increase to include hallucinations and seizures.
  • 48 hours and onwards: The risk for Delirium Tremens increases and other symptoms may persist.

The severity of these symptoms is influenced by factors such as the length of time the person has been drinking, the amount of drunk, previous withdrawal experiences and overall physical health. According to WebMD, if a person has been drinking heavily for a long period, symptoms are more likely to be severe.

To mitigate these withdrawal symptoms, our medical professionals within these alcohol detox clinics administer medications and provide constant support. For instance, benzodiazepines help manage anxiety and reduce the risk of seizures. Thiamine is usually given to prevent complications such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and its administration should continue for up to six weeks following the withdrawal to aid in recovery.

Understanding withdrawal symptoms and their potential severity highlights the importance of seeking professional help when stopping drinking. A residential detox provides a safe and supportive environment for managing these challenging symptoms, ultimately leading to a more stable foundation for long-term recovery.

The Inpatient Detox Process

Inpatient detoxification is the very first step towards recovery from alcohol dependence. The process has a series of carefully monitored stages:

  1. Admission: Upon admission to a clinic, clients undergo a comprehensive initial medical assessment. This consultation aims to understand thehealth status, drinking history, and any co-occurring mental health conditions. The goal is to tailor a detox plan that addresses the specific needs of everyone.

  2. Monitoring and Management of Withdrawal Symptoms: As the body begins to adjust to the absence of alcohol, doctors closely monitor clients for withdrawal symptoms. This ensures the timely management of any complications that arise. Medications are administered to ease discomfort and prevent severe withdrawal effects, such as anti-anxiety medications or anticonvulsants for seizure prevention.

  3. Nutritional Support: Detoxification can strain the body, making nutritional support an important component of the process. Alcohol dependency often leads to nutritional deficiencies that need correction. Among the essential nutrients provided is thiamine, critical in preventing brain damage and aiding in recovery. Thiamine should continue even after discharge form the clinic to ensure proper ongoing neurological function.

  4. Preparation for Ongoing Treatment: Detox is not a standalone cure –  it’s really just the start of the alcohol rehabilitation process. We prepare clients for subsequent interventions, such as therapy or support groups, to maintain sobriety post-detox. This step involves educating clients on the importance of continued care and the resources available to them once they complete the detox phase.

Throughout the detox process, the emphasis lies on safety, comfort and paving the way toward sustained recovery. The provision of 24-hour care within clinics helps lower risk and provides people with the best chance to overcome alcohol dependency. As a gateway to a sober life, inpatient detox offers a structured and supportive environment essential for a successful transition away from alcohol dependence.

How Long Does Inpatient Detox Last?

The length of residential detoxification from alcohol is not a one-size-fits-all scenario and varies widely among clients. The timeline is influenced by several factors, including the severity of the alcohol dependence, the duration of alcohol abuse, and the person’s overall physical and mental health.

  • Average Timeframes: Typically, residential detox spans from a week to ten days. Most clients experience peak withdrawal symptoms within the first 24-72 hours after their last drink. After this peak, symptoms gradually begin to subside.

  • Factors Influencing Duration:

    • The extent of alcohol consumption and the length of time one has been drinking heavily directly impact detox duration. Long-term heavy drinkers may experience a more prolonged detox process.
    • Personal health and presence of co-occurring disorders can extend the detox period. Individuals with underlying medical conditions may require additional time for careful management of their withdrawal symptoms.
    • A history of previous detox attempts can also affect the timeline. Those with prior withdrawal experiences, particularly complicated ones, may face a longer detox process.
  • Gradual Reduction: To prevent the onset of severe withdrawal symptoms, such as Delirium Tremens or seizures, a gradual reduction in alcohol intake under medical supervision is often necessary. This approach, known as tapering, helps to minimise the shock to the system that sudden cessation can cause.

  • Importance of Thiamine: The administration of thiamine is an integral part of the detox process to prevent Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a severe brain disorder. As per the North Yorkshire CCG guidelines, continued supplementation of thiamine should persist for up to six weeks after cessation of alcohol to support neurological recovery.

It’s imperitive that our clients understand that alcohol detox is just the first step towards recovery. The journey to extends beyond detox and involves ongoing treatment (in whatever format) and support. See our guide on how to stay sober after detox.

Is Residential Detox A Good Choice?

When deciding to do something about drinking, inpatient detox is the best option due to its structured approach to managing withdrawal. There isn’t a better or safer option to stop drinking. We’ve detailed some pros and cons below:

Advantages of Residential Detox:

  • Medical Support: Inpatient offers continuous medical supervision. It’s important to monitor and manage withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to life-threatening.
  • Reduced Relapse Risk: The residential nature minimises access to alcohol, which reduces the chances of relapse during detox.
  • Holistic Care: As well as medical attention, residential detox usually provides comprehensive care, including psychological support such as counselling and nutritional advice.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Cost: Inpatient detox is generally more expensive than outpatient. However, it’s worth considering the long-term benefits despite being more expensive.
  • Time Commitment: Inpatient obviously requires staying at the facility for the duration of the detox which might impact personal responsibilities.
  • Emotional Challenge: For some, being away from home and in a new environment is emotionally challenging – home sickness –  despite the supportive setting.

When choosing inpatient or another treatment, clients and teatment advisors should consider their history with alcohol, the severity of their addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders. For those with a long history of heavy use or previous withdrawal complications the support of inpatient treatment can be particularly helpful.

For people with co-occurring disorders, such as drug dependency or chronic mental health issues, residential detox facilities are normally equipped to address these too, offering an integrated treatment approach.

Inpatient detox provides a supportive, medically supervised environment that can foster the first step towards recovery. The structured care and reduced risk of relapse make it a beneficial option for many seeking to overcome alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Self Assessment – Am I an alcoholic test?

For those uncertain about their drinking habits, self-assessment tools and questionnaires can offer some guidance. There are many tools available, which help in the following ways:

  • Self-Recognition: Self-assessment tools help individuals reflect on their drinking patterns and behaviours, facilitating self-recognition of potential alcohol misuse.
  • Identifying the Need for Help: These assessments can underscore the severity of one’s relationship with alcohol, highlighting the necessity for professional intervention.
  • Guiding Intervention: Based on the outcomes of self-assessment, individuals can make informed decisions about seeking further support, such as engaging with alcohol detox clinics or residential detox programmes.
  • Encouraging Honesty: Honest responses to self-assessment questions ensure accurate representation of one’s situation, which is important for taking the appropriate next steps.
  • Confidentiality: Many self-assessment tools offer a degree of anonymity, encouraging individuals to be more forthcoming about their alcohol use without fear of judgement.

AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test)

A common self-assessment test, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) research, is the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Orignally created in 1989, it is widely used today. The tool is helpful is indicating if an alcohol dependence is present. Please note, it is NOT a diagnostic tool, but merely a helpful self assessment guide.
To try the tool, please visit:

After completing a self-assessment, nad it indicates a high score or dependence, please seek help.  NHS services often provide a robust admissions process, supervised detox and evidence-based treatments if you are looking for state help. You can speak to us to find out more about where to go for free, low-cost and private alcohol help.

It’s important to remember that while self-assessment is a starting point, it can’t substitute for the comprehensive care provided by healthcare professionals during detoxification.

Does The NHS Offer Inpatient Alcohol Detox?

The National Health Service (NHS) provides a range of services for those seeking help with alcohol dependence, including inpatient alcohol detoxification. Here is an overview of the services offered by the NHS, including eligibility criteria, the referral process and what one can expect from NHS-supported detox programmes:


  • Eligibility Criteria: Access to NHS inpatient detox services typically requires an assessment by a healthcare professional who will consider the severity of the alcohol dependence, physical health, and any co-occurring mental health conditions.
  • Referral Process: People can get referred to an NHS inpatient detox programme by their General Practitioner (GP) or an alcohol service. The process involves a comprehensive assessment to determine the most appropriate level of care. This can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 month, so please bear this in mind if looking for immediate treatment and care.
  • Detox Services Offered: The NHS provides medically supervised detox in a hospital or a residential detox clinic, where clients receive round-the-clock care to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.
  • Withdrawal Management: NHS detox programmes include monitoring for withdrawal symptoms, which might range from mild anxiety to severe complications like Delirium Tremens. Medical professionals administer medication to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Post-Detox Support: Following detox, the NHS offers support and treatment to help maintain sobriety, which may include counselling, support groups, and medication to reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Cost: NHS alcohol detox services are free at the point of use for eligible individuals, removing financial barriers to accessing treatment.

It’s important for those considering an inpatient detox to understand that the NHS aims to provide a safe and supportive environment to navigate the challenges of withdrawal. The emphasis on continuous medical supervision ensures that clients can detoxify from alcohol with minimal risk and maximum support.

For further information on accessing alcohol detox services through the NHS, contact your local GP or community alcohol team who can guide you through the process and discuss the treatment options available.

*Please note, athough the NHS does undertake alcohol detox, it has no residential rehabs, per se.

What’s the Cost of Inpatient Alcohol Detox?

If you can’t get treatment from the NHS (visit your GP for a referal to addiction services), or find a charoty detox or rehab, then private treatment is available.

For inpatient treatment, the following factors determine the price of of treatment:

  • Type of Facility: The cost can vary depending on whether the detox takes place in a standard hospital setting or a specialised residential detox clinic with additional amenities.
  • Length of Stay: The duration needed for detoxification is not fixed; it’s influenced by the severity of addiction and individual health conditions, which in turn affects the overall cost. Having said that, most detox clinics have a minimum of 10-14 days’ treatment.
  • Location: Costs can also differ based on the geographical location of the facility, with some areas having higher fees due to the cost of living or the availability of specialised services. London clinics tend to be dearer than those further north (but not always)
  • Level of Medical Care: The intensity of medical supervision required, including the need for medication to manage withdrawal symptoms, will also impact the total cost.
  • Insurance Coverage: For those with private health insurance, the extent of coverage for detox services can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses. It is important to check with insurance providers about the specifics of what is covered.
  • Aftercare: Post-detox treatment, such as counselling and support groups, is an integral part of maintaining sobriety and can add to the overall cost of recovery.

Comparatively, outpatient detox services are generally less expensive due to the elimination of costs associated with residential care. And home alcohol detox is cheaper again when compared with residential treatment. However, inpatient detox offers the benefit of a more structured and supportive environment that is helpful for those with severe addiction or withdrawal risks.

Understanding these factors can help individuals and their families plan for the financial aspects of detox and recovery. It is advisable to conduct thorough research and speak with healthcare providers or financial advisers to explore all available options, including potential funding assistance or payment plans.

Please remember that not all clinics offer the same value for money or treatment. Our prices start at £2000 for comprehensive inpatient alcohol detox treatment. Please contact us before dealing any any clinic direct as we always have better pricing options.

Contact Us to Book an Inpatient Detox

Starting a journey towards recovery from alcohol dependence begins with a safe and supportive detoxification process. We are ready to assist with a range of services designed to make this critical step as smooth as possible. Here are the steps to connect with us and begin the path to recovery:

  • Reach Out: Contact our dedicated medical team to discuss your situation or that of a loved one.
  • Confidential Consultation: We offer a confidential consultation to understand your needs and explain the detox process.
  • Personalised Approach: Our experts will work with you to develop a personalised detox plan, considering your specific circumstances.
  • Medical Supervision: Benefit from around-the-clock medical supervision within our alcohol detox clinics to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.
  • Supportive Environment: Experience the support of a caring environment in our residential detox units.
  • Ongoing Care: Learn about the options for continued treatment and support following the completion of your detox programme.

Taking the first step towards recovery is a significant, positive action. We at are here to support you every step of the way with professionalism and compassion. Don’t hesitate to take this step towards a healthier future.


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Benefits Of Home Detox


There’s nothing more precious than being able to heal with the support of your loved ones, in the familiar environment of your own home. Savour the convenience of being able to maintain your daily routine, work, or simply spend quality time with your loved ones throughout the detox programme.


Our team comprises individuals who have either personally battled addiction or have witnessed a loved one struggle with it. We ensure we understand your needs at the deepest level to keep you safe and make your recovery efficient.

Safe and Comfortable

A medical detoxification helps to alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, whether physical or mental. For long-term heavy alcoholics and heavy drinkers, sudden withdrawal can be dangerous, and the psychological cravings can be overwhelming.

Cost effective

Home alcohol detox is much cheaper than attending a detox clinic or rehab. It is the best value form of private detox treatment, simply because there are no residential costs associated with inpatient. It really is worth the cost to live a life free from alcohol.

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