7 Alcohol Detoxification Tips

Alcohol detoxification is a necessary precursor to treatment for people struggling with alcoholism. During detox, medication is prescribed that mimics the effects of alcohol to help the body eliminate alcohol and ease withdrawal symptoms. This process is relatively easy if you have professional treatment in a safe, professional substance abuse treatment centre.
Let’s look at what alcohol detox involves, withdrawal timelines and professional treatment options.

I. What is Alcohol Detoxification?

It’s a medical process designed to help alcoholics’ withdrawal management. It has to be a safe and gradual reduction to protect the alcoholic. Withdrawal management is fundamental for people who have been addicted to alcohol as stopping abruptly can result in severe withdrawal symptoms that could be lethal. During alcohol detoxification, the body rids itself of alcohol while adjusting to its absence, a process that can be both physically and mentally challenging.

A. The Primary Objectives of Alcohol Detox:

Elimination of Alcohol: The body needs time to flush out alcohol and its by-products to restore normal functioning.

Stabilisation: The process helps stabilise the individual physically and mentally, preparing them for further addiction treatment.

Safety: Detoxing in a controlled, medical setting reduces the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms and complications.

B. Where to Find an Alcohol Detoxification:

Detoxification from alcohol should never be attempted without professional supervision. WeDoRecover Alcohol Rehabs have qualified and experienced staff that are specialised in detoxing alcoholics. Our alcohol detoxification rehabilitation centres provide comprehensive support. The medical staff at our detox facilities administer appropriate medications and therapies to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe detox experience.

II. Alcohol Detox Timeline

The duration can vary from alcoholic to alcoholic and depends on the severity of addiction and overall health. Below is a general overview of the withdrawal stages at a rehabilitation centre:

A. Early Withdrawal (Within 6-12 Hours)


Anxiety and restlessness
Nausea and vomiting
Sweating and shivering
Rapid heart rate

Early withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as a few hours after the last drink.
Symptoms may intensify over the first 24 hours.

B. Peak Withdrawal (24-72 Hours)


Hallucinations and confusion
Increased blood pressure
Seizures (in severe cases)
Delirium Tremens (DTs) – a rare but life-threatening condition characterised by severe confusion, rapid heartbeat and hyperthermia.

The peak of withdrawal symptoms typically occurs within the first 72 hours after cessation.

C. Tapering Off (5-7 Days)


Symptoms gradually subside as the body readjusts to functioning without alcohol.
Note: The duration of tapering off may vary depending on the individual’s response to treatment.

D. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)


Anxiety and depression
Difficulty concentrating
Mood swings

PAWS can persist for weeks or months after initial withdrawal.

III. Alcohol Detoxification Treatment Options

A. Medical Supervision and Monitoring

Round-the-clock medical supervision is key during alcohol detoxification, especially in cases of severe addiction or co-occurring medical conditions.
Monitoring vital signs and addressing complications promptly is essential for a safe detoxification process.

B. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medications is prescribed by our doctors to curb withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and prevent complications.
Commonly used medications include benzodiazepines for anxiety and seizures, antipsychotics and anti-seizure medications.

C. Therapies and Counselling
One-on-one counselling and group therapy sessions help alcoholics to address the root causes of their addiction and discover a new way to approach life without drinking.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET) are common therapeutic approaches during detox.

D. Nutritional Support
Our alcohol detoxification centres provide a balanced diet and adequate hydration. These are essential during detox to support the body’s healing process into sobriety.
Vitamin supplements may be administered to address deficiencies caused by alcohol use.

IV. The Importance of Seeking Professional Assistance

Alcohol detoxification is a necessary first step in the addiction recovery process. Please call us for guidance and trying to detox alone at home and be potentially dangerous. Here are some reasons why seeking professional help is crucial:

Safety: Trained medical professionals can manage severe withdrawal symptoms and mitigate potential complications.

Support: Detox centres offer a supportive and caring environment, reducing the risk of relapse during this challenging phase.

Medication Management: Medical staff can administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms making the process of sobriety more manageable.

Comprehensive Treatment: Professional detox centres provide access to various therapies and counselling, laying the foundation for successful long-term addiction recovery.

Without alcohol detoxification, patients cannot engage in the treatment necessary for recovery from alcohol addiction. Detox is can a trying time for alcoholics and having the necessary medical and therapeutic support is valuable. Use our professional and alcohol detoxification specialised centre to help you through this difficult time. Our medical experts can manage withdrawal symptoms effectively. With the right alcoholism treatment, people can successfully complete detox and begin engaging in holistic rehab learning to live life clean and sober.

V. Types of Treatment Facilities

Alcohol detoxification and management of withdrawals generally take place in an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation centre. Withdrawal management is often not possible as an outpatient for alcoholics to achieve sobriety. There are typically two main types of treatment facilities: inpatient and outpatient. Knowing the differences will help you get a better sense of your addiction recovery treatment options.

A. Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient alcohol detoxification takes place in a licensed rehab centre where patients live under the care of doctors and nurses before joining the treatment programme. Inpatient alcohol rehab is a highly structured environment offering around-the-clock medical supervision and immediate care if withdrawal symptoms become severe.

Ideal For: Those with a long history of addiction, severe withdrawal symptoms or additional medical conditions.
Pros: 24/7 supervision, comprehensive care and peer support.
Cons: More expensive, significant commitment.

B. Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient detox allows patients to stay at home while attending scheduled treatments at a substance abuse rehab. This option offers more flexibility but is not for alcoholics who need withdrawal management. Mild to moderate alcoholics may benefit from this outpatient approach.

Ideal For: Those with mild to moderate addiction, strong support system at home.
Pros: Greater flexibility, lower cost.
Cons: Risk of exposure to triggers, less medical supervision.
In choosing between inpatient and outpatient facilities, factors such as severity of addiction, personal responsibilities, financial considerations and support system should be carefully weighed. Consulting with addiction professionals can also guide the decision-making process.

VI. Cost and Medical Aid Coverage in South Africa

The cost of alcohol detoxification can be a concern for many. However, in South Africa, your medical aid may provide coverage Discovery Health Medical Scheme: KeyCare, Smart, Core, Saver, Priority, Comprehensive and Executive should all pay for alcohol detoxification and ongoing rehab treatment.
Bonitas: BonStart, BonCap, BonEssential, Primary, BonFit, BonSave, Standard, BonComplete, BonClassic and BonComprehensive may pay for alcoholism detox and treatment.
Momentum Medical Scheme: Ingwe, Evolve, Custom, Incentive, Extender, Summit will all consider pre-authorisation for alcohol detoxification and inpatient rehab.
BestMed: Beat, Rhythm and Pace are quick to give a pre-auth if your policy is in order for you to receive substance abuse treatment, including detoxification.
MediHelp: MedVital, MedMove, MedAdd, MedSaver, MedElect, MedPrime, MedElite, MedPlus may provide coverage for alcohol detoxification and ongoing treatment.

Here’s what you need to know:

Medical Aid Options: Many South African medical aid schemes cover detoxification as part of addiction treatment. It is vital to review your specific plan or consult with a medical aid advisor to understand what is covered. The easiest way is to give us your medical aid details or we can give you the necessary codes and we’ll call to establish medical aid payment for rehab.
Self-payment gap: Most medical aids don’t cover the full cost of inpatient detox and rehab. At good quality alcohol detoxification rehabs you’re looking at a R12,000 to R35,000 co-pay amount. Call us to clarify your package.
Ongoing Treatment: After detox, ongoing therapy and rehabilitation may also be covered. Finances are important to consider before committing to an admission.
Pre-Authorization: Some medical aid schemes may require pre-authorization, so early communication with your provider is essential.

VII. A Success Story

Our ex-patient, Trevor, a 35-year-old who struggled with alcohol addiction for over a decade. After countless failed attempts to quit drinking on his own, he realised professional help was needed. He checked into one of our specialised inpatient detox facilities.

Trevor detox journey was not easy; withdrawal symptoms were intense and cravings were overwhelming. But with round-the-clock medical support, tailored therapies and unwavering determination, he made it through. The detox was just the first step – Trevor engaged in intensive therapy to understand the root cause of his addiction and learned new coping strategies.

Today, Trevor is three years sober, a productive member of his family, community and larger society. Trevor was reluctant be to admitted for a detox, yet today credits his success to the comprehensive care he received during detox. Trevor’s experience is common. If you’re an alcoholic, join the ranks of those who have recovered by calling us now.

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