A detox from alcohol is a program that rids the body alcohol and provides a physical and mental readjustment to life without the addictive substance. A detox program can be in an inpatient rehab center or conducted on an outpatient basis. Medications are used in some circumstances to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and help reduce the alcoholic’s need for a drink.
Alcoholics need to detox from alcohol before other treatments and therapies can begin. With alcohol still in the body, the alcoholic will continue to physically crave the substance and recovery will be even more difficult to achieve. Anyone attempting to detox should be under the care of a medical profession and inpatient treatment centers are highly recommended.
Withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe and some may require medication to treat. Some individuals may experience shaking or sweating as the body detoxes. Symptoms like headaches, nausea, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat may accompany shaking and sweating. Hangover symptoms of someone who drinks occasionally stimulates the effects of withdrawal from more chronic use.
These mild to moderate symptoms are generally not considered dangerous, although some doctors may prescribe medications to help with them. The symptoms are more uncomfortable and irritating than dangerous. Cravings for alcohol often accompany the symptoms, making sobriety difficult to achieve.
More severe withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, convulsions, seizures, delirium tremors, and cardiovascular disturbances. Currently, there are no known cures for delirium tremors, or DT’s. Because of the seriousness of these severe withdrawal symptoms and the fact that death can occur as a person attempts to detox, medical help is essential.
Many factors influence which symptoms a person will develop when she is detoxing from alcohol, such as the individual’s alcohol consumption history. Although some can be uncomfortable or unpleasant, it is important to remember that continuing to drink will cause severe physical and mental problems. While the detox symptoms can last for several days or weeks, stopping will help prevent more serious health problems from occurring.
Individuals who wish to detox from alcohol should consult with a medical professional and enter a rehab program if at all possible. Detox under the supervision of a doctor and therapist can alleviate or reduce the symptoms that the individual might encounter. The social support can also help the individual through the detox process and give the person a better chance to stay sober.