Alcohol Detox Guide
WRITTEN BY CAYLA CLARK, BA – APRIL 14TH, 2020
What is Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detox is the very first step on the road to lifelong alcohol addiction recovery. Alcohol detox facilities are all geared towards helping those who have struggled with alcohol abuse disorders of any severity safely rid their bodies of chemical substances, while physically stabilizing them and preparing them for admission into inpatient alcohol rehab. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, upwards of 86 percent of American adults admitted that they had consumed alcohol at least once during their lifetime.
Because alcohol use is so prevalent, it can be difficult to determine whether or not your use has become misuse, and whether or not you require serious professional intervention in order to cut back or quit. Currently, there are around 15 million American adults that struggle with an alcohol use disorder.
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What to Expect from Alcohol Detox
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous – even life-threatening – if not constantly overseen by a team of licensed medical professionals. If you have a drinking problem, entering into an alcohol detox program is always a mandatory first step on the road to recovery.
While alcohol detox will vary based on the severity of the alcohol abuse disorder and the personal treatment goals of each individual patient, every alcohol detox will generally consist of three main phases. These phases include:
- In-depth evaluation.
As soon as a patient is admitted into a medical alcohol detox facility, he or she will undergo an intensive and comprehensive evaluation, conducted by a team of medical professionals and addiction specialists. The staff members at the detox will carefully examine a patient’s personal history with alcohol abuse, potential co-occurring disorders, any pre-existing medical conditions. A personalized detox plan will be formulated based on all of these factors. During a patient’s stay at detox, he or she will be evaluated several more times to determine how much progress is being made and if any treatment alterations are necessary.
- Physical, mental and emotional stabilization.
The main goal of alcohol detox is to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and help stabilize a patient for the remainder of his or her treatment journey. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are physical, mental and emotional, and all symptoms must be treated effectively and simultaneously. Medication assisted treatment will be offered on a case-by-case basis, and psychiatric services will be available to those that need them. Those who have been drinking great quantities for extended periods of time are at risk of serious health-related complications, which will be appropriately treated if and when they arise.
- Preparing for entry into inpatient alcohol rehab.
The final stage of every alcohol detox is preparing a patient for admission into a residential alcohol rehab center. It is crucial that those who have completed detox transfer directly into a residential facility – if they wait, they are far more likely to relapse. The therapeutic staff at the alcohol detox will introduce patients to the inpatient recovery process, preparing them for what lies ahead. Many detox centers offer therapy (group and one-on-one) as well as a thorough introduction to the 12 step method of alcohol addiction recovery.
Why Choose a Medical Alcohol Detox?
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An in-depth study compiled by medical professionals Hugh Myrick, M.D., and Raymond F. Anton, M.D., titled Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal, partially focuses on the severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. The study concludes, “Seizures occur in up to 25 percent of withdrawal episodes, usually beginning within the first 24 hours after cessation of alcohol use.” (Brown et. al., 1988). (1)
If you have attempted to quit only to find yourself unsuccessful, or if you are experiencing negative consequences as a result of your drinking, alcohol detox is likely necessary. Finding the right alcohol detox might seem overwhelming, seeing as there are so many options to choose from. Fortunately, we are here to make the process as easy and painless as possible. If you are ready to commit to the first step on your own journey of alcohol addiction recovery, please give us a call today. We will help narrow down your options, and ultimately find the perfect alcohol detox program for you and your individual needs. We look forward to speaking with you soon.
- Brown M.E.; Anton R.F.; Malcolm, R.; and Ballenger, J.C. Alcohol detoxification and withdrawal seizures: Clinical support for a kindling hypothesis. Biological Psychiatry 23:507–514, 1988.