Patients that seek our advice are often anxious about alcohol detoxification and the discomfort of withdrawal. It’s important to remember that with proper medical attention an alcohol detox can be a well managed and comfortable experience.
The purpose of alcohol detox
The purpose of any alcohol detox is to appropriately reduce the discomfort associated with alcohol withdrawal, preventing the development of more serious symptoms. A little known fact is that there can be cumulative effects that may worsen future withdrawals if detoxification isn’t handled appropriately.
Although many patients with mild to moderate symptoms can be treated on an outpatient basis, severe alcohol detoxification can result in life threatening withdrawals and it may be wise to be admitted to an alcohol rehab clinic or addiction specialist hospital.
We often give families advice on choosing the best alcohol rehab centre to admit their loved one to, thereby ensuring the safest setting for an alcohol detox.
Severe alcohol withdrawal
Severe alcohol withdrawal does require medication and most often chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is used as it effectively mimics the effect of alcohol on the brain allowing for a steadily reducing regime to wean alcoholics off the drink.
There are other drugs that can be used to aid alcohol detox and to ease the withdrawal symptoms and doctors can disagree on optimum amounts and schedules to be prescribed. The key thing to remember is that you as the patient need to be comfortable and not in danger of withdrawal complications like DT’s (delirium tremens) or seizures.
It is important that withdrawal and detoxification takes place before treatment for alcoholism can earnestly begin. Alcohol detox is when the body starts to adjust to less alcohol consumption. The residuals of alcohol remain in the body, causing cravings for the substance and make recovery from alcohol addiction extremely difficult, so it is important to detox, thus eliminating those residuals.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include sweating, rapid pulse, hand tremors, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, physical agitation, anxiety, auditory hallucinations, and the possibility of grand mal seizures. The severity of the symptoms depends on the person’s alcohol abuse history. Not only do the physical symptoms need to be managed, but management of the psychological symptoms also need to be taught. It is common for individuals in alcohol detox programs to experience depression, anxiety, anger, mood swings and fear and they need to be able to deal with these debilitating consequences.
Alcohol withdrawal programs
Alcohol withdrawal programs should be individualised concerning the length of the program and the special care which may be required for the patient. Alcohol detox programs are different to alcohol rehab programs. Alcohol detox programs are only the start of alcohol abuse treatment and should lead to alcohol rehab programs. Rehab continues to maintain and further the progress made during the alcohol detox process.
Many factors should be considered when developing a specialised alcohol detox program for the patient. This should include age, medical problems, the amount of alcohol use, and the frequency of alcohol consumption.
Resident inpatient detox program
Alcohol detox programs should include a resident inpatient detox program, which is generally more effective than outpatient detox programs. Other factors to look for are trained medical supervision, constant care, psychiatric treatment, holistic approach to treatment, relapse prevention courses, individual and group therapy and an aftercare plan.
Those who drink regularly may become tolerant to the effects of alcohol, and are able to drink more before suffering from the effects. However, even with increased consumption, they don’t appear intoxicated. Due to their continued work and socialising reasonably well, their deteriorating physical condition may go unrecognized for ages.
Unforeseen circumstances, like hospitalisation for an unrelated issue, may suddenly cause these ‘functioning alcoholics’ to experience withdrawal symptoms as a result of the unexpected detoxification.
Psychological dependence on alcohol
Psychological dependence on alcohol may take place with regular use of even moderate daily amounts. It can also occur in people who drink only in certain conditions, such as during social occasions. Psychologically dependent drinkers may become anxious or panicky when they do not have alcohol available in similar circumstances. Consistently heavy drinkers become physically dependent on alcohol, causing withdrawal symptoms when they do not drink.
Research shows that those who participate in an alcohol detox program followed by an alcohol rehab program have a better chance for a successful and lasting recovery. It is vital to choose an alcohol detox that transitions you into an effective alcohol rehab program where recovery treatment can be continued.
Please feel free to contact us for advice in seeking out the best alcohol detox program for yourself or your loved one. Wedorecover.com is available to guide you regarding the program best suited to your needs in your area.