When an alcoholic abruptly stops drinking alcohol, he or she typically experiences alcohol withdrawal
Some people also call these alcohol detox symptoms.
Alcohol detox is an alcohol treatment approach that focuses on managing the alcohol withdrawal symptoms in a
safe environment so that the body can eliminate the alcohol that has been ingested.
Alcohol Detoxification and Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol detoxification is a widely available, traditional form of alcohol treatment that is usually done under
the supervision of a medical practitioner. Additionally alcohol detox is frequently employed as the first step in
an alcohol treatment program.
Due mainly to the relatively long time-frame needed for the alcohol detox process, these programs are typically
part of an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation program.
Recent research has demonstrated the significance of treating every person who is suffering from alcohol
Having said this, however, it should be noted that approximately 95 per cent of the people who quit drinking
alcohol experience mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms and can frequently be treated on an out-patient
basis by a healthcare professional.
The remaining 5 per cent of the individuals who suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, however, experience
symptoms so excessive that they must be treated in an alcohol rehab hospital or in an alcohol rehabilitation
facility that specializes in alcohol detoxification treatment.
Alcohol Detox Using Doctor Prescribed Medications
Many researchers openly claim that chronic alcoholics who cannot maintain sobriety or those who suffer from
severe alcohol withdrawals should receive drug therapy to control their withdrawal symptoms.
It is important to note, moreover, that by using medications, alcohol-dependent individuals are less likely to
experience possible seizures and/or brain damage.
Recent research suggests that the drugs most likely to produce effective results when treating alcohol
withdrawal symptoms are the benzodiazepines.
Examples include the shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Serax and Ativan and the longer-acting
benzodiazepines such as Librium and Valium.
Traditionally, when doctors have used benzodiazepines they have employed a progressive decrease in dosage over
the time-span of the withdrawal process.
Moreover, since the shorter-acting benzodiazepines do not remain in the individual's system for an excessive
period of time and since they allow for measurable dose reductions, many alcoholism researchers have recommended
that intermediate to short half-life benzodiazepines should be employed for treating alcohol withdrawal
Once the person has overcome his or her withdrawal symptoms, moreover, other doctor-prescribed medications such
as naltrexone (ReViaT) or disulfiram (Antabuse) may be used in an attempt to help prevent the person from returning
to drinking after he or she has experienced a relapse and consumed alcohol.
For instance, antabuse is a drug given to alcoholics that elicits negative effects such as nausea, dizziness,
vomiting, and flushing if alcohol is ingested.
For the most part, Antabuse is effective because it is such a strong deterrent. Naltrexone (ReViaT), conversely,
is used in an entirely different manner in that it effectively targets the brain's reward circuits and reduces the
craving the person has for alcohol.
Non-Drug Alcohol Detox
A variety of non-drug techniques exist for treating alcohol withdrawal.
Indeed, according to the current research literature, it seems that the safest way to treat mild withdrawal
symptoms is without meds.
Such non-drug alcohol detox programs use comprehensive social support and screening during the entire withdrawal
Other non-drug alcohol detox programs, moreover, use vitamin therapy (especially thiamin) and proper nutrition
in treating mild withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol Detox: Inpatient versus Outpatient
Not surprisingly, recent research findings have demonstrated that inpatient alcohol withdrawal treatment is more
effective and longer-lasting than outpatient treatment.
As a general rule, therefore, the more severe the alcohol-related withdrawal symptoms, the more likely that
inpatient treatment programs should be considered.
Conclusion: Alcohol Detox
Even though 95% of the people who quit drinking alcohol experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, every
person who suffers from alcohol withdrawal needs professional alcohol detox treatment.
The critically important message regarding alcohol withdrawal symptoms, therefore is this: when experiencing
alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your healthcare provider immediately so that he or she can
evaluate the severity of your withdrawal symptoms and recommend the alcohol detox treatment that is most
appropriate for your particular situation.
And also keep in mind that another reason for seeing a healthcare professional about your alcohol withdrawal
symptoms is that in certain circumstances, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can result in death.
Remember, detoxing from alcohol is only one step in the alcohol treatment process. If you want to become sober
and live an alcohol-free lifestyle, however, you should consider getting professional alcohol abuse or alcoholism