Alcohol Detox Treatment

Battling alcoholism can be the hardest thing that you ever do, but before you move forward with treatment, you must detoxify your body of all impurities. Though the process can be difficult, there are ways to go about safe alcohol detox treatment.

Alcohol detoxification takes place during the withdrawal period of alcohol recovery. It is often acknowledged to be the first step of recovery. Withdrawals usually begin 6 to 8 hours after intoxication and can last for 48 hours relative to how often, and how much a person drinks alcohol. Vitamins, lots of fluids, rest and a healthy diet, are vital for safe alcohol withdrawal and it is always safer to seek help from a professional. Alcohol detox treatment is the beginning of a fresh start and is often the first step required for a healthy recovery.

What is alcohol detox treatment?

Treatment is a preliminary step towards recovery when a person clears their system of alcohol. It is the body’s way of removing an unwanted substance. When a person suffering from alcoholism stops drinking, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable, painful and sometimes frightening. Detox periods can be dangerous to do alone and should be monitored by a professional so that variables like diet, fluid intake, rest, and medication is supervised.

When a long-term heavy drinker (alcoholic) abruptly stops drinking, they may experience what is known as acute withdrawal–which can have severe symptoms such as delirium tremens, hallucinations, seizures, other psychotic episodes, and heart complications. Although some people experience relatively mild withdrawal symptoms, disease processes or events that accompany alcohol withdrawal can cause significant illness and death.

How alcohol affects your body

According to Healthline, the effects of alcohol on the body are numerous. You can experience:

  • Behavioural changes
  • Blackouts
  • Slurred speech
  • Cancer
  • Heart damage
  • Liver damage
  • Fatigue
  • Dependence
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lack of coordination
  • Numbness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility

Sadly, this list doesn’t encompass every effect that alcohol abuse has on the body, but it describes some of the dangers of alcoholism.

Safe alcohol withdrawal treatment – What you need to know

The first stage of treatment for alcohol abuse is detox. Simply put, you have to purge it out of your system so you can move on with the recovery process. Withdrawal is not pleasant, so you must be wholly committed to recovery, or you’ll be susceptible to falling back into the grips of alcoholism.

What should you come to expect during alcohol detox treatment?

If you seek professional treatment, you will undergo tests that check your mental and physical health, undergo blood work and answer questions about your physical and psychological health as well as your drinking history.

You will then enter the support phase, where you may be offered medication for withdrawal symptoms. The clinic will provide support for you for any issues that come up during the detox treatment process.

Keep in mind that the detox phase can vary in length depending on the severity of your addiction. For some people, the treatment process is reasonably quick. Others may go through a much longer and more unpleasant process.

Typical withdrawal symptoms during treatment

You might be surprised by how fast withdrawal symptoms can hit you. Here’s a timeline of how long it typically takes to start feeling the effects of withdrawal:

6 -12 hours after ingesting alcohol

  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

12 – 24 hours after ingesting alcohol

  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Hand tremors

48 hours after ingesting alcohol

  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (a rapid onset of confusion)
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations

Long-term alcoholics may also suffer from prolonged side effects, known as

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

(PAWS). PAWS

The following chart from Industrial Psychiatry Journal makes the withdrawal process easier to understand.

 

Why you should detox in a safe environment

Alcohol recovery is never a straightforward process. Sometimes you can feel completely fine, but the next you’re suffering from a nausea attack followed by extreme dizziness. You can never truly predict the specific symptoms a recovering addict will experience during their detox. Patients receiving detoxification in a safe environment will receive medical treatment support.

Medications for treatment

Pharmacological treatment is most frequently used in moderate to severe alcohol withdrawals. This may include Benzodiazepines; Adrenergic Medication; or Anti-Seizure Medication.

Dietary influences during alcohol detox treatment

It can be difficult to consume food during the initial stages of your detox. More likely than not, you’re going to have issues keeping your meals down. However, it’s necessary that you adopt a well-balanced diet to help you make a full recovery.

Hydration
Stay well hydrated during your treatment, especially during the initial stages. Your withdrawal symptoms will only intensify if you’re dehydrated. You should drink copious amounts of water even if you don’t have a desire to do so. That way you’ll be able to flush your body of all harmful toxins.

Soups and Liquids
At the start of your treatment, around 24 to 72 hours, you should focus on consuming soups and other liquid-based meals. If you indulge in more substantial meals, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to keep it down for long.

We would recommend that you consume lean sources of protein that include fish, beans or poultry. Your soup should also include lots of vegetables.

Vitamins and minerals
Alcoholics tend to suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Therefore, you should stock up on foods that are full of specific vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A (includes milk, carrots, and fish)
  • Vitamin B (includes leafy greens, nuts, and eggs)
  • Vitamin D (includes fatty fish and fortified milk)
  • Vitamin E (includes vegetable oils, nuts, and almonds)
  • Vitamin K (includes leafy greens and olive oil)

What comes after alcohol detox treatment?

After you’ve successfully undergone a safe alcohol detox treatment, clients have the choice to opt-in to the therapeutic recovery program and can begin usually participating within days after detox starts.

Alcohol rehabilitation begins with you

It’s not easy to recover from alcoholism, but know there are resources dedicated to helping you fight your addiction. Remember, you can only begin the path to recovery once you’ve promised yourself that you will no longer abuse alcohol, then can you move forward to a brighter alcohol-free future.

If you or a person you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism and sincerely want to get sober contact us today to find out more about alcohol addiction and treatment.

 

FAQs

Alcohol faq

There Is No Rehab Centre Near Me, What Should I Do?
Whilst location is an important factor for all of us, please understand, that recovery from addiction is a journey, and a commitment and the initial foundations should not be compromised. This means seeking advice to find the best rehab centre and therapeutic program that fits you (or your loved one) personally.
I Can’t Afford Private Residential Treatment. What Should I Do?
Contact your own GP and accurately & honestly explain to him or her your addiction problems and express your desire for help and treatment. Your GP should activate your local ADAT Addictions team who will offer you whatever NHS/Social and treatment routes are available. You should also attend AA or NA recovery groups for support and guidance.
How Long Is The Average Residential Stay in Rehab?
Residential stays vary from between 7-28 days depending on the specifics of your circumstances and historical usage. e.g. An average alcohol detox may last 7 days, with a further 2-3 weeks in the therapeutic program to resolve the psycho-social and behavioural aspects of addiction. As above, most experience the best outcomes and lasting long term sobriety following a minimum 28 day residential stay
What medication is used for alcohol addiction?
Medication can include replacement drugs such as lorazepam or phenobarbital, which are administered in tapering doses to help with alcohol withdrawals. Drugs such as Naltrexone, Disulfiram or Acamprosate can help prevent a return to alcohol use.

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