Alcohol Detox Drugs
Using drugs during detox may seem counterproductive, but when they’re administered in a medical setting, having certain alcohol detox drugs available can be a blessing for anyone going through the process. Below you will learn why doctors administer certain alcohol detox medications, and what you should know before you begin your period of alcohol detox.
Why Use Drugs for Alcohol Detox?
The purpose of alcohol detox is to clear the body of alcohol (in order to reduce physical cravings) and to get the patient mentally ready to deal with treatment. This is done by cutting off the addict’s alcohol consumption completely. So why use drugs for alcohol detox? The problem with suddenly and drastically reducing an addict’s alcohol intake is that this can produce uncomfortable and even dangerous side effects in alcoholics. Alcohol detoxification drugs can be administered by the overseeing physician to reduce or eliminate many of these side effects, ensuring that the patient stays safe and healthy during detoxification, and that the process is as comfortable and symptom-free as possible.
Alcohol Detox Medications
There are a number of alcohol detox drugs that are commonly administered for alcohol detox. Most fall into two specific drug categories: benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
- Benzodiazepines: These are sedatives (such as Valium), which are normally prescribed as anti-anxiety medications or sleep aids. In the case of alcohol detox, these medications are used to relieve symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. They’re also used to prevent DTs (“delirium tremens,” or hallucinations brought on by severe withdrawal) and to reduce the risk of seizures.
- Diazepam: This is a commonly-administered benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety, as a muscle relaxant, and as a seizure medication.
- Barbiturates: Barbiturates are classified as sedative-hypnotics. They act as a central nervous system depressant, and in detox they may be used as a sedative and to prevent against seizures.
The types and amounts of medications used depends on a number of factors, including the patient’s mental and physical health, his or her medical history, the severity of the alcoholism, and the appearance of specific withdrawal symptoms.
What You Need to Know About Alcohol Detox Drugs
It’s important to understand that these are serious medications, and all can have adverse side effects and reactions. It’s up to your doctor to administer these alcohol detoxification drugs as he or she sees fit, but you should always answer any of your doctor’s questions fully and honestly, so that he or she may judge which medications are safe to use.
Additionally, many drugs for alcohol detox can become addictive after long-term use. Addicts in an inpatient detox program are gradually weaned off alcohol detox medications, but those going through an outpatient alcohol detox should be especially careful to follow their doctor’s instructions regarding their medication.
Ultimately, a strong support system, a winning treatment program, and a positive mindset are all crucial to a successful recovery from addiction. But the first step is a successful detox, and there are many effective alcohol detox drugs that can help make the process easier.