About Alcohol Detox
If you’re suffering through alcohol addiction and are thinking about rehab, you’re probably worried about alcohol detox. But don’t let your worry prevent you from seeking treatment. Alcohol detox is an important first step in any inpatient or outpatient alcoholism treatment program, but many alcoholics fear that detox will force them to suffer through the difficult withdrawal symptoms that they probably know very well. Because of this, many alcoholics refuse to seek treatment.
However, in a medical setting, alcohol detox does not have to be a painful or uncomfortable process. Read on to learn more about alcohol detox and why it’s worth it to go through this important first step towards recovery.
All About Alcohol Detox
Alcohol detox (short for detoxification) is the period of withdrawal that an alcoholic goes through after abruptly stopping his consumption of alcohol. Detox is closely monitored by a medical professional, who may administer sedatives or other medications to ease the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Alcohol detox is always the first step in an alcohol rehab program. Detox clears any remaining alcohol out of a patient’s system, reducing physical and mental cravings for alcohol and allowing the patient to more easily focus on and participate in treatment. This process can take anywhere from several days to several weeks, depending on the individual and on the severity of his alcoholism.
Symptoms of Alcohol Detox
Because alcohol detox can be painful and the symptoms can even be deadly, it is vital that alcoholics are monitored by licensed medical professionals throughout the process, whether it’s inpatient or outpatient. Learning more about alcohol detox symptoms may be disheartening, but know that a doctor’s job is to keep their patients safe during the medical detox period, and to ensure that they are as comfortable as possible. Symptoms of alcohol detox range from mild to severe, and may include:
- shakiness and tremors
- nervousness and sweating
- irritability and agitation
- blackouts, and
Again, not all patients will experience all these symptoms, and most will come in varying degrees of severity, so it’s difficult to predict which symptoms will manifest for any given individual.
What Happens After Detox?
Alcohol detox will reduce the physical cravings for alcohol, but detox alone is not treatment. Alcohol abusers go through detox as part of a larger rehabilitation program, so it’s important to know about alcohol detox as it relates to your treatment plan overall.
Detoxification can be inpatient or outpatient, and the treatment that follows may also be either. Once a patient has been deemed medically fit after alcohol detox, treatment may include behavioral therapy, medication, group or individual counseling sessions, and other treatment-related activities that are part of a patient’s rehab program.
Learning About Alcohol Detox Puts You in Control
Many alcoholics and alcohol abusers are fearful about seeking treatment, partly because of misconceptions they may have about what happens during alcohol detox. But by learning more about alcohol detox—what it is, what you can expect during the process, and how it relates to overall treatment—addicts may find that many of their fears are unwarranted, and can be handled properly with the help of their doctors and an excellent recovery program. Addicts can take control of their alcoholism by facing their fears of alcohol detox and seeking treatment today.