Alcoholism when left untreated can have life threatening and severe consequences just like other chronic diseases. Effective treatment programs have been constructed to combat alcoholism and alcohol abuse and one of the first steps of the treatment programs is alcohol detox. Alcohol detox should be professionally supervised and during this period doctors may administer medication to help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms. In addition to medical care patients will also generally be educated about their problem and the treatment options involved. If a person is alcohol dependent then professional medical management of alcohol withdrawal is often essential because the withdrawal symptoms can be harmful.
Withdrawal symptoms may include paranoia, tremors, anxiety, convulsions, sweats, vomiting, seizures and agitation. Not all of these symptoms will be experienced by everyone and in some cases the symptoms may be just mild but could also be severe. A regular medical ward in a hospital, outpatient clinic or specialized detox unit are often locations where alcohol detox will take place. Alcohol detox could last a few days but rarely will last more than a little over a week. Detox is very important for treatment and is necessary if the abuser wants to change for the better and get some serious help.
The goal of alcohol detox is to provide safe withdrawal of alcohol so that withdrawal symptoms can be reduced to a minimum, preserving the health of the patient. Detox also serves the purpose of preparation for ongoing treatment for the patient after their detox is done. During detox, abnormalities in fluid levels and nutrition are also focused on and corrected. Sometimes intravenous fluids are administered to patients who experience severe withdrawal due to hyperthermia, vomiting or sweating which causes excessive fluid loss. Multivitamins may also be given to patients during treatment to help get their nutritional levels back to normal.
Detox is typically recommended to people who have mental health or physical problems. However people recommending alcohol detox may also have serious physical illness caused by alcohol, previous failed attempts to stop alcohol, a history of severe withdrawal symptoms or little to no support from their family and friends. This is not always the case but they are definitely possibilities that are always taken into consideration. Patients may be admitted to a hospital if they have serious alcohol related issues such as seizures from withdrawal for delirium tremens. Age also plays a factor and anyone under the age of 16 are likely to be admitted to the hospital even when experiencing less severe withdrawal symptoms.
If you or someone you love needs help with alcoholism, please contact me today and I can make a referral.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.