Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment: What Can You Do?
Doctors recommend that individuals should have alcohol withdrawal treatment when they are attempting to quit drinking and detox. Research indicates that 95 percent of individuals who stop drinking alcohol will experience mild to moderate symptoms like headaches, sweating, rapid heart rate, shakes, or nausea. Another 5 percent will suffer sever symptoms that could be life threatening such as seizures, DTs, convulsions, and hallucinations.
Any individual who is detoxing should receive medical treatment and supervision. Inpatient treatment programs tend to be more successful than outpatient ones in part because of the increased support given to individuals in these programs. However, any treatment is better than no treatment at all.
Professionals may recommend several different types of treatment. Non-drug treatments can be used alone in individuals with mild symptoms or in combination with drug treatments for those with more moderate or severe symptoms. Non-drug treatments may include counseling, extensive social support, proper nutrition, acupuncture, and vitamin therapy among other alternatives.
Whether an individual chooses drug therapy or not, non-drug therapies often help individuals not only cope with symptoms of withdrawals, but also in the transition to non-drinking behaviors. Support is an essential element of treatment and should not be under-estimated. Physical cravings for alcohol will subside as detox time passes, but psychological dependence will still need to be dealt with.
For individuals with more severe symptoms or in various other situations, doctors might prescribe medications to help the person detox and stop drinking. Medications might include sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, and those that reduce cravings for alcohol. Antabuse, for example, produces effects like vomiting and dizziness if the individual consumes alcohol while taking the drug. This helps the individual stop drinking. A doctor should always oversee the use of such medications in case other side effects develop.
Opinions vary on what alcohol withdrawal treatments are best. Treatments to some degree vary from person to person, but doctors still disagree about the best ways to approach detox situations. You should talk to your doctor about what treatment they recommend and if you want, get a second opinion on how to handle detox from another doctor or rehab facility.
What researchers do agree on is that anyone attempting to detox needs an alcohol withdrawal treatment program. Whether the symptoms are mild or severe, detoxing can be unpleasant or even dangerous. Working with a doctor or rehab facility to detox will help keep the individual safe and enhance their chances of success.