The Dangers of Alcohol Detox

The tragic death last year of HBO’s Nelsan Ellis was triggered by alcohol withdrawal. Learn about the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and how to detox safely and successfully.

The Dangers of Alcohol Detox


  • Why alcohol detox must be conducted under medical supervision?
  • Alcohol detox and the need to do it in the right way

The tragic and untimely death last year of HBO’s True Blood star Nelsan Ellis was triggered by alcohol withdrawal. His symptoms included heart failure and, according to his manager, the actor also had a swollen liver, a blood infection, his blood pressure had dropped and his kidneys shut down. He was 39 years old.

Though still young, Ellis had abused drugs and alcohol for years. Even through his struggles, the rising star was a fan favorite and hilariously funny. He was smart and kind to his cast mates, family and friends. What makes his story even more heartbreaking is that he truly wanted to be free of alcohol. But he made the critical choice to detox alone, which proved fatal. The brave decision of his family to share the truth about his death helped to educate millions on the dangers of detoxing from alcohol in isolation.

Other Celebrity Attempts at Detox

Keith Moon, a member of the band The Who, is still considered today to be one of the best drummers the world has ever seen. His enormous talent, however, was soon overshadowed by his struggles with alcoholism. He sought detox and was given the sedative Clomethiazole to alleviate his withdrawal symptoms. However, his fear of hospitals led him to attempt the detox at home. Without proper supervision, he unfortunately overdosed on the pills and mixed them with alcohol resulting in his death at age 32.

Fame is often a catalyst for addiction and there is no shortage of celebrities who have battled the disease. But there are also many who have overcome their struggles through treatment and community. Jada Pinkett Smith credits her sobriety to completion of an alcohol treatment program and her husband’s support. She has remained clean for 20 years. Jamie Lee Curtis has been very vocal about her struggles with addiction and now works to raise awareness for treatment organizations and prevention. Elton John recalls the day he said ‘I need help…and my life turned around.”

Is Your Drinking Getting Out of Control?

Getting Help to Detox from Alcohol  

If alcohol abuse is left untreated, a drinker’s body can become physically addicted. When a person is dependent on alcohol, the threat of withdrawal symptoms makes it even more difficult to stop. One of the earliest signs of alcohol dependence is when a person requires more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. Other signs of dependence include:
  • Lying to others to hide alcohol consumption
  • Shame or guilt around drinking
  • Incessant cravings for alcohol
  • Experiencing “black outs” or forgetting what occurred during drinking
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop drinking

It is at this stage when sudden abstinence or even a profound change in drinking habits can be life-threatening. This is because the psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms can be severe or fatal. Admission to a residential rehab will ensure that the detox is safely monitored by trained professionals to lessen the pain and discomfort a body may experience as it rids itself of alcohol.

Withdrawal Symptoms from Alcohol

Drinking can provide feelings of euphoria where inhibitions are lessened. It numbs the nervous system which then begins to rely on alcohol in order to function. When the alcohol level in the brain drops significantly, the body goes into shock and withdrawal occurs. Depending on the level of alcohol damage to the body, a drinker’s organs may also start to fail as seen in the case of Nelsan Ellis.

Symptoms of withdrawal can begin as early as 2-8 hours after the last drink and rise in severity over the first few days. Symptoms usually subside within 5-7 days.

Withdrawal symptoms in the first 2-8 hours:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking hands

Withdrawal symptoms in the first 8-48 hours:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Irregular heart rate and increased blood pressure
  • Mental confusion
  • Severe mood swings
  • Seizures

Withdrawal symptoms beyond the first 48 hours

  • Excessive sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures (up to 72 hours)
  • Delirium Tremens (DTs)
  • Organ failure

The Cabin’s Road to Recovery 

Seeking care at a residential rehab is the safest option to successfully detox from alcohol. The Cabin utilizes a comprehensive approach and strategy with proven results. The initial stage of detox is stabilization. This term covers all the medical and psychological interactions that occur in an effort to help the client come to a place of physical and mental balance. Medication may be prescribed in the short term to lessen the effects of withdrawal. Each client will be monitored 24 hours a day to ensure they are progressing safely through their detox. On-site medical teams are available round the clock to immediately address any issues or complications that may arise. Our luxurious recovery environment is located in the peaceful and beautiful mountains of Northern Thailand. A world-class staff of trained professionals provide extensive knowledge and considerable attention throughout treatment. Our clients are never alone in their journeys. They are surrounded and encouraged by others who completely understand what they are going through. We are committed to success in a life free of alcohol.

Addiction Treatment In Paradise

A Life Free of Alcohol

Without the mental and physical burden of alcohol, new doors can begin to open. A clean body possesses clarity and a drive to remain healthy. For stories of success and inspiration we can once again turn to the media. Supermodel Naomi Campbell, once known for her explosive outbursts, has found joy in her sobriety. “I am a much happier person without alcohol.” Musician and author Russell Brand is over a decade sober and credits his success to fellowship in support groups. “Anyone can get clean, one day at a time.” And actor turned artist Jim Carrey adds, “I am very serious about no alcohol… is too beautiful.”

Get Help Today

The sooner a person can abstain from alcohol, the sooner their full recovery can begin. Contact Us to start on the road to recovery today, for yourself or a loved one.