Knowing the Facts about Alcohol Detox

Knowing the Facts about Alcohol Detox

An individual who suffers from alcohol addiction is often referred to as having alcoholism. When an individual is addicted to alcohol they are unable to function normally without it. Their bodies have become accustomed to having a certain amount of alcohol in their system. Alcoholism produces many health issues, such as liver disease, some forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, fetal damage and hypertension. Damage from alcoholism is undeniable and the withdrawal from alcohol could be even more deadly. Alcohol detox should be monitored by a medical doctor to ensure safety from the withdrawal symptoms.

Defining Detox

Detox is used for cleansing your body from unhealthy toxins. Weight loss, energy, and addiction are some of the reasons that people choose to detox their bodies. Detox regimens can be aggressive to your body and affect areas such as the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, intestines, and lungs. For this reason, it is important when detoxing to be under the medical supervision of a doctor. Detox is the medical component of addiction treatment.

Alcohol Detox is a Good Choice

Alcohol is a poison to your body, and unfortunately it is one of the most abused drugs in the United States today. The active ingredient is ethanol, a colorless, volatile liquid with a slight odor that is quickly absorbed into the body. Your body naturally tries to eliminate alcohol as soon as it is ingested; however, continued consumption slows down the body’s ability to adequately get rid of this toxin.

Prolonged alcohol use will result in permanent damage to your brain and body. Alcohol detox is a good choice when thinking about stopping the process of damage due to alcoholism. Most alcoholics need extra assistance to stop drinking alcohol because the withdrawal symptoms are so severe and the alcoholic feels that continued drinking is the only option for relief.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Delirium Tremens
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening. An alcoholic who is thinking about detoxing should enter an addiction treatment program that has a medically monitored alcohol detox unit.

What to Expect in an Alcohol Detox Center

Three main components of alcohol detox that should be addressed in a quality addiction treatment program are the medical aspects, nutritional needs, and duration of the detox. These three components help to assist the alcoholic to return to a healthy level of functioning.

Medical Aspects

When an addict enters alcohol detox, they are choosing to stop drinking alcohol in a healthy way. Some may choose to go to an outpatient detox. However, an inpatient detox program is the safest way to stop using alcohol due to the medical complications of withdrawal. Once admitted to an inpatient alcohol detox, he or she will be immediately assessed by a doctor who is an addiction specialist. The alcoholic will be supervised by nursing staff and a multidisciplinary team 24/7. Specific medications are given to assist with the detox process. Doctors will assess the alcoholic’s medical needs and ensure that the medications that are given will not exacerbate his/her health issues.

Nutritional Needs

The alcoholic has probably neglected his or her nutritional needs. A comprehensive alcohol detox program should also have a licensed and registered dietician on staff to assess the alcoholic’s dietary needs. This helps with the body’s natural healing which helps with the detox process. The alcoholic will also begin attending groups for relapse prevention, adjustment, and healthy coping skills while in a quality inpatient detox program.

Duration of Alcohol Detox

The duration of detox can vary based upon the quantity and frequency of alcohol use. During that time, the alcoholic will be tapered off detox medications. Once completely detoxed, the alcoholic should be given medication to help combat the cravings to use alcohol. For example, naltrexone blocks opiate receptors that are involved with rewarding effects of alcohol use and it decreases alcohol cravings.

Alcohol detox is only the beginning of the addiction treatment process. It is suggested that an addict attend detox in an addiction treatment facility that houses both detox and rehab.