Withdrawal is the process the body goes through when you suddenly stop taking a substance that your body and brain has come to depend on. Withdrawing from alcohol is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous, which is why undergoing medical detox at an in-patient setting is recommended by addiction experts and medical personnel alike.
Medical detox is aimed at reducing or even eliminating the discomfort of addiction withdrawal and ensuring the patient’s safety by administering medications that treat the various symptoms that commonly occur when the body is suddenly deprived of alcohol or drugs. Widely used, very safe and highly effective, medical detox helps prevent seizures and hallucinations during alcohol withdrawal, and it can also help ease the general anxiety that often accompanies the withdrawal process. Medical detox is always performed under the close supervision of a physician.
Detoxification, or detox, is the process of ridding the body of unhealthy substances and it’s the very first step of drug or alcohol treatment.
With heavy use, alcohol causes the brain to adjust its chemistry to compensate for its depressive effects, and it produces larger amounts of chemical stimulants like norepinephrine and serotonin.
When alcohol is suddenly withdrawn, it takes time for the brain to readjust, and in the short-term, the brain continues to over-produce these chemicals. Most withdrawal symptoms result from the over stimulation of the brain.
Medical alcohol detox can take place in an in-patient or an outpatient setting.
In-patient medical detoxification is the most successful method of alcohol detox. Alcohol addiction treatment that takes place in a medical detox facility is part of an intensive, holistic approach that addresses a variety of issues surrounding substance abuse and addiction. Commack Alcohol Rehab’s in-patient medical detox facilities offer respite from normal life and its many triggers to allow time for reflection, self-examination and meditation. In-patient treatment includes individual and group therapy, ongoing pharmacological assessments, wellness and nutrition support, and a variety of activities that treat mind and body.
Outpatient medical detoxification offers more freedom so that patients can meet school, work, and family commitments, and it offers a higher level of privacy for those who need or desire anonymity and don’t want to have to explain an extended absence.
The main downside of outpatient treatment is that it doesn’t offer solace away from negative influencing factors, and it requires more diligence on the part of the patient to voluntarily abstain from using alcohol and other drugs. However, outpatient treatment involves a strong support network that includes group and individual counseling, family counseling, and non-using peers and sponsors. It also gives the patient the opportunity to immediately apply lessons and strategies to their “real” life.
While in-patient detox is the ideal way to begin the recovery process, outpatient treatment can be highly successful for certain individuals who have a strong network of support and who are committed to their own recovery.
Rapid medical detox is a controversial treatment that ensures pain-free withdrawal by placing the patient under full anesthesia during the detox process. The patient and wakes up fully detoxed in two days, with dummy drugs blocking cravings.
Although not everyone experiences all of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, symptoms in general are usually severe enough that detoxing at home can be very dangerous and even fatal. Safe alcohol detox requires medical supervision to ensure that the symptoms of withdrawal remain under control.
Tremors peak at 24 to 48 hours after the last drink and may include a rapid pulse, increased blood pressure, rapid breathing, sweating, nausea and vomiting, and anxiety.
Alcohol hallucinations may begin within 24 hours of the last drink and can last as long as two days. Those who suffer from alcohol hallucinations usually see multiple small, moving objects like crawling spots or falling stars.
Alcohol withdrawal seizures commonly begin between 6 to 48 hours after the last drink, and the risk typically peaks at 24 hours. It’s common to have several seizures over the course of several hours.
Delirium tremens, more commonly known as DTs, usually begin within three days of the last drink and may last as long as a week or more. Delirium tremens causes dangerous shifts in body functions, including breathing, circulation, and body temperature and may be accompanied by a racing heart, high blood pressure, and severe dehydration.
Medication can vastly reduce the discomfort and dangers of alcohol detoxification, and choosing this method, can help patients move more quickly from the detox process to addiction treatment.
Medications typically used in medical detox facilities include benzodiazepines to help ease the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal, including anxiety and insomnia, anticonvulsants to prevent seizures and other involuntary movements, and beta blockers to help reduce both the symptoms and intense cravings that accompany withdrawal.
For more information about the medical detox services offered at Alcohol Treatment Centers Commack, call us today at 631-729-7139.