Alcohol Detox Syndrome
Why can some people engage in social drinking without ever experiencing any problems and others cannot seem to deny that there is a serious problem when they consume this substance? What is it that makes it so difficult for some drinkers to actually quit drinking while others can start or stop at any given time? According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, alcoholism is one of the leading reasons for hospitalization accounting for more than 2 million admittances each year to the hospital, many of which could be prevented by simply not drinking.
Alcoholism is a dangerous condition, a devastating and progressive disease that affects millions of people. Denial is a common problem when alcohol addiction is involved and the longer an individual drinks, the more likely he or she is to become physical dependent on the substance making it more difficult to quit drinking when they decide they want to. Alcohol detox syndrome is one of the biggest reasons why those who are addicted to alcohol find it difficult to quit drinking.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol detox syndrome is characterized by a number of alcohol withdrawal symptoms that make the decision to quit drinking and to remain abstinent from the use of alcohol so challenging. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are a number of alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may become evident when a long-time drinker or alcoholic makes the decision to limit.
- Mood swings and irritability
- Nervousness, anxiety or depression
- Fogginess, lack of focus or an inability to think clearly or rationally
- Shakes, tremors or trembling hands
- Headache, nausea, vomiting and upset stomach
- Sweating profusely
- Fever and dehydration
Although the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are rarely fatal, there is a risk for serious side effects to occur when a user makes the decision to abruptly quit drinking. Alcohol detox syndrome is best treated under the supervision of a qualified treatment professional who understands the importance of consistent medical care and intervention if such becomes necessary.
Types of Alcohol Detox
Many different types of alcohol detox are available to assist those who suffer from alcoholism in overcoming physical dependence and taking back control of their lives. The most common method of alcohol detox is inpatient detox which takes place in a residential, hospital-like facility where the patient can be continuously monitored around-the-clock to ensure his or her safety. For milder cases of alcoholism or in cases where alcohol withdrawal does not cause serious side effects or risks to the patient, outpatient treatment may be suitable though not usually the first choice in terms of safety.
Inpatient alcohol detox typically includes:
- Medications to control or reduce symptoms
- Vital sign monitoring for patient safety
- A safe environment that is controlled by treatment staff, doctors and nurses
- Sedation as needed to help reduce the effects of alcohol withdrawal
- Meals that are healthy and balanced
- IV fluids or medications when necessary
Outpatient alcohol detox does not provide consistent monitoring and leaves the patient to fend for him or herself during withdrawal. While this is ok in very mild cases of alcohol addiction, outpatient treatment Is usually not recommended unless the user has already spent some time in the residential treatment setting allowing the worst of the withdrawal symptoms to run their course.
Outpatient alcohol detox typically includes:
- Sedatives to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and anxiety
- Random testing to ensure continued abstinence from alcohol
- Family support and counseling
- Medical treatment on an outpatient basis
Alcohol Detox that Works
It’s important to make sure that you make the right decision and choose alcohol detox that is going to be effective and helpful for you while also maintaining your safety. Alcoholism is a dangerous disease and without proper detox, counseling and therapy cannot ensue to provide the most effective care and the greatest chance for lifelong recovery. Alcohol detox that works will:
- Consider the individual needs of the patient.
- Be focused on helping the patient to remain comfortable while removing toxins from the body.
- Be considerate of any other potential addictions, substance abuse problems, health problems or underlying conditions that the patient may have.
- Provide proper guidance and support to help the patient understand the vital need for further treatment after detox.
- Provide medical treatment and intervention as needed without being overbearing to the patient or pushing him or her away.
- Offer supportive guidance and care to the family members or loved ones of the addict to help them understand the alcohol detox process and to teach them how they can help their loved one in recovery.
- Offer a treatment program that provides an adequate amount of time for the patient to overcome physical alcohol dependence and prepare for further treatment, counseling or therapy.