Alcohol Detox

Detox and Treatment – Alcohol Detox – For those who are experiencing any symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, just know that with care, they will generally improve within a five-day period. However, there are some who experience prolonged symptoms, which can last for weeks. Remember, this is just the beginning of the journey.

Once you or someone you love has decided to seek help, you/they will need to consider the following. At this point we have already assumed that you/they have sought out a professional team and support network.

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Amount of alcohol consumed

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How long the person has been drinking

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How often the person has been drinking on a regular basis

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Nutritional considerations

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Weight and age

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Was the alcohol combined with other substances

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Does the person have any other co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, etc.

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Family history of alcoholism

These details will help aid any individual and their support team to build an individualized treatment plan and move forward towards a healthy new life.

There are a variety of options when it comes to seeking help.  First and foremost, the decision to quit is one of the most important decisions you or someone you love will make in their lives. Develop a plan for long-term support, consult with medical professionals, pay attention to your body and health needs, and be sure to seek support groups after release from a Rehab program.  There are many options out there once you or someone you love makes the decision to quit drinking.

Detox & Treatment

In the case of moderate to severe symptoms, an inpatient stay may be warranted. Ten percent of patients exhibit severe symptoms. Treatment for severe alcohol withdrawal may include monitoring of blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and blood levels of different chemicals in the body. It may also include fluids or medications given by IV and/or sedation until withdrawal is complete. Benzodiazepines have become a popular form of treatment.

With such pharmacological interventions being prevalent for moderate to severe symptoms, you have two possible approaches with benzodiazepines:
Symptom-triggered approach involves treating with medications when the patient is a high-risk alcoholic.

Fixed-regimen approach involves doses given at certain time intervals, and additional doses may be given as required based on symptoms. This is by far the more common approach.

Why use Benzodiazepines?  They can be used in an outpatient context and are self-administered.  As indicated earlier, seizures are possible during alcohol withdrawal and can be managed with proper use.  Any other pharmacological treatment should be considered an add-on to meet individual needs such as vitamins for a vitamin deficiency or intravenous drugs for severe symptoms.

For the more common and milder symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, the treatment may be more patient driven as the risk of death is much lower therefore something such as a harm reduction model (gradually scaling back drinking) will come into play as the patient has more choices.

The most common treatment options for mild symptoms include:

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Sedative drugs to help ease withdrawal symptoms

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Blood tests

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Patient and family counseling to discuss the long-term issue of alcoholism

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Testing and treatment for other medical problems linked to alcohol use

Of those options, the area with the most variables is patient and family counseling as the other 3 options are generally straightforward tests used to obtain objective measures and make diagnostic impressions regarding prognosis. Make no mistake, using all 4 options concurrently is a possibility and sometimes recommended depending on the case.

For more information on treatment centres and resources available to aid you or someone you love in the journey to recover, please read here.

In Conclusion

Alcohol Detox as popular culture depicts, alcoholics cause fights, chase fleeting moments of intimacy, crash cars and eventually alienate themselves from their friends and family.   Alcoholics are often more successful with a trained interventionist to assist the family and friends.

Those close to an addict can be enabling and can often be clouded by their unconditional love for the abuser.
When available, someone that decides to seek treatment after several mild bouts with alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the involvement of a trained professional(s) is a must to increase health, safety and adherence to alcohol abstinence.

Whether it be a medical or psychological approach, no individual should have to do it alone.