July 15, 2024

Alcohol is the drug of choice for many people who feel lonely, disconnected or under stress. Alcohol detoxification becomes necessary when continued use of alcohol leads to fractured social relationships and a decline in the users health, including hallucinations and liver and kidney problems due to heavy drinking.

Most alcohol users for whom alcohol is contributing to a decrease in quality of life cannot adequately do an alcohol detox at home. In-patient alcohol detox at a recognized professional program is preferable, allowing for medical supervision that provides the appropriate prescriptive medications to help detoxify the body and wean the patient off the need to drink alcohol.

In-patient alcohol detox programs can last up to six weeks in length. During this time, the patient is provided with a protein-rich diet and numerous non-alcoholic beverages, including water, to consume on a daily basis as the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol subside. Patients in alcohol detox must be kept very well hydrated, preferably by drinking copious amounts of water and beverages providing necessary electrolytes. If stoppage of alcohol consumption has been sudden or “cold turkey”, symptoms can be very intense and severe, which makes professional intervention and supervision of the Medical Detox all the more important. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nausea, depression, tremors, anxiety and hallucinations if the alcoholism has been severe.

Psychological counseling during alcohol detox goes hand in hand with medications to ease withdrawal symptoms as many patients not only need to uncover what drives their craving for alcohol but also to provide much needed understanding and support during a difficult process.

Seizures and delirium are two major concerns during the detox process, so it is important that the patient be constantly monitored as well as provided with any necessary medications to alleviate the risk of seizures and subsequent anxiety and depression. Once detox has been successfully completed, the patient still needs medical and psychological support to prevent a relapse, as well as to deal with the physical and psychological damage that extensive alcohol use may have caused for the long term.

 

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