Quitting alcohol requires more than willpower or a simple decision to stop. Often people get apprehensive when trying to quit alcoholism due to the withdrawal symptoms associated with doing so. These withdrawal symptoms range from minor to severe and are life-threatening. This is why it is important to undergo the process in a licensed medical facility or rehab facility such as Magnified health systems drug rehab.
What Is a Medical Detox from Alcohol?
Detoxing from alcohol is the process of removing all traces of drugs and alcohol from the body, which helps to ensure that a person is stable and fit to begin the next stage of therapy treatment to overcome their addiction. A medical detox simply means going through the detoxification process under the supervision of medical practitioners such as nurses, psychiatrists, or doctors who specialize in treating patients with alcohol and drug addiction.
During the process of medical detoxification, the medical practitioner administers short-term medications to help safely detox the patient and at the same time, monitors their vital organs for any complications that may occur. This helps to minimize the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal and also ensures that the patient stays in a good mental and physical state through the process of detoxification.
Alcohol detox is usually done in a hospital or a drug rehab center. However, it can also be done at home by concierge doctors and nurses who provide personalized primary health care to patients.
Why is a Medical Detox Necessary?
Alcoholism, also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is a condition that is characterized by an inability to stop or control the use of alcohol despite its adverse health consequences. When people with AUD stay away from alcohol for some time, they may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms which can put their lives at risk.
Medical detoxification helps to manage the withdrawal symptoms, which can be deadly to some when they decide to quit alcohol or self-detox from alcohol without medical supervision.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Addiction Centers, there are three stages of withdrawal symptoms which range from mild to severe symptoms.
- Stage 1: the symptoms in this stage are mild, and they include
anxiety, headache, insomnia, nausea, sweating, hand tremors, vomiting, and heart palpitations.
- Stage 2: these are moderate symptoms which include confusion, increased blood pressure, irritability, agitation, extreme mood swings, increased heart rate, mild hypothermia, and rapid breathing.
- Stage 3: the symptoms in this stage are more severe, and they include hallucinations (either visual or auditory), seizures, depression, and delirium tremens.
These withdrawal symptoms vary between different persons in severity and duration based on the following factors:
- The number of years of alcohol intake.
- Amount of alcohol consumed.
- Frequency of consuming alcohol.
- Co-occurring mental health conditions.
- Consumption of other substances.
Some persons may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within a period of 2 hours after their last alcohol intake, while others may begin to experience it between 6 to 12 hours. Generally, the peak of withdrawal symptoms is within 2 to 3 days after the last consumption, and it may resolve between 5-7 days.
What Happens After a Medical Detox from Alcohol?
After a medical detox, the next step is to make a recovery plan from alcohol with your specialist. Medical detox is only the first step in the treatment plan and does not stop alcohol addiction. Hence, the reason for the alarmingly high rate of alcohol relapse when there are no further treatment options.
There are different ways of treating alcohol addiction, all of which focus on creating awareness of the triggers and underlying factors that cause addiction and also teach coping skills that can prevent a person from relapsing. These include support groups, focus groups, rehab programs, and therapy sessions. Some common therapies for treating alcohol addiction are Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Also, there are medically assisted treatments for alcohol assumption, such as the use of Acamprosate (Campral), Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Disulfiram (Antabuse), etc.
Full recovery from alcoholism is a lifelong process. While the experience may be different for several individuals, incorporating a healthy lifestyle can help to improve the mental, physical and psychological state of people struggling with addiction. Research has also shown that social support and care provided in rehab groups are just as important as medical support in providing the best outcome for patients. So always be on the lookout for the best support groups around you.