Most people who check in for alcohol treatment do not consider that they will need a detoxification program. The general perspective of an alcohol addiction is such that people do not consider it to be a very difficult form of addiction at all and for that reason they do not give much importance to the detoxification part of it. But, the truth of the matter is that alcohol detox is quite significant. Detox is probably more significant in an alcoholism treatment than it is in the treatment of drug addiction. Here are some points about the alcohol detox program that you must be acquainted with.
How Alcohol Detox is conducted
Alcohol detox is usually the second step in a rehab program, immediately following the phase of overcoming denial. Once the patient is out of the denial, he or she is willing to go through the treatment process and this is when the detox program begins.
The detox starts by first making the patient live in an isolated setting away from family and friends. This is important because the patient must be kept away from familiar surroundings if he or she is really to come out of the temptation for the substance. When the patient is accommodated thus, he or she is made to completely abstain from alcohol. A healthy living program is started for the patient.
However, if the patient has been totally attached to the alcohol, there will be a withdrawal process that will begin soon. The withdrawal will begin within one or two days of the patient commencing the detox. Depending on how intensive the person’s addiction was, the withdrawal will be mild or severe. In the severest cases, the patient will feel several physical symptoms including spasms, convulsions, excessive perspiration, cramps and several more. The patient will feel a very strong urge of getting at the alcohol in some manner or the other. This is where people can fail in their recovery if they are attempting self-detox.
But because the patient is undergoing the treatment in a professional center, there will be constant medical supervision that will help bring them out of the withdrawal. The doctors will provide a medicinal therapy that will help them in various ways. The following are the medications that might be used:-
Antabuse: This helps to keep the patient away from the temptation of using alcohol anymore. In fact, it will create a dislike in the person’s mind for the alcohol.
Naltrexone: This is used to decrease the craving for alcohol as well as to prevent the harm that the alcohol can produce in the person’s body.
Campral: This helps in keeping the mind of the patient balanced while trying to come out of the strong dependence for alcohol.
Topamax: This is not actually used in detox, but it is used in outpatient treatment formats where it can help people gradually reduce the amount of alcohol that they consume.
The basic purpose of the alcohol detox medications are to reduce the urge that the person has for alcohol as well as to normalize the body that has already been affected by the addiction.
Length of an Alcohol Detox
This will actually depend on how intensely the person is hooked to alcohol. In people who have minor instances of occasional uncontrollable abuse of alcohol, three to four days are more than sufficient to pull them out of their dependency. But in people who use alcohol to a high extent, there will be a longer time required to pull them out of the detox. A week is sufficient for all kinds of alcohol detox, though.
Purposes of Alcohol Detox
The main and the most obvious purpose of an alcohol detox is to cleanse the toxins that will have housed in the person’s body due to the extensive use of the substance. This is important because the person may develop some health complications on account of those toxins. Cirrhosis of the liver is a very common condition among alcoholics, which can also occur years after the patient has been pulled out of the addiction if a detox had not been carried out at that time.
There is another reason why the detox program is so very significant in alcohol treatment. As long as there is alcohol present in the body of the person, the person won’t find it easy to come out of the addiction. This is because the craving of the substance will persist because of the presence of alcohol in the body. Hence, an alcohol detox also helps people in getting a speedier recovery process.