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Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox, by definition, is the act of removing the built-up alcohol from the body. When someone undergoes alcohol detox, they get treated for their withdrawal symptoms and to flush the toxins from their systems. Withdrawal symptoms are not only painful and crippling, but in some cases they can prove fatal. How bad a withdrawal gets really depends on how much of a dependency the person has on alcohol. Here are some facts about what happens in an alcohol detox, and a chart showing the need for alcohol detox and treatment in this country.

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Many alcohol detox programs use special medications to help the patients get through withdrawals (that can include symptoms like sweating, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, and seizures). This phase in alcohol detox requires medical supervision to make sure that the person doesn’t end up substituting a drug addiction for their alcohol problem. There are some alcohol detox programs that work by keeping the patient slightly sedated through the toughest part of the withdrawal period.

The drug-based programs start with the highest dosage on the first day, with decreasing dosages as withdrawal symptoms diminish. For those in alcohol detox programs, it’s important that they don’t drink during the medical detox phase. This eliminates the chance of a dangerous or fatal interaction between the alcohol and the prescribed medication.

For a person to derive any benefit from alcohol detox, they have to admit they are addicted to alcohol and they have to want to quit. If someone doesn’t put their full focus on their detox and their recovery, chances are good that they’ll drop out of rehab and go right back to abusing alcohol.

A successful alcohol detox doesn’t mean that the person has eliminated their desire or craving to drink. Alcohol detox is meant to address the physical aspects of alcoholism, and it is most successful when it’s paired with behavioral therapy and mental and social health counseling. After a person completes alcohol detox, they should find a good group meeting, such as one in a 12-step program. These programs can be either secular or faith-based, and the social interaction provides the moral support that they need.

Alcohol detox doesn’t end when the patient leaves the treatment center. Medical, psychological and family support needs to continue long afterward. Without a good support system in place, many recovering alcoholics go back to their old habits. Beating an alcohol addiction is one of the hardest things anyone will ever do, and it may take more than one try to break the addiction for good. If you or a friend or family member has a problem with alcohol, don’t be ashamed or afraid to seek help. You need to know that there are programs in your state that will not only provide an alcohol detox, they will provide continuing care and support to reduce the chance of a relapse.

Drug Enforcement Agnecy (DEA) – http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/index.htm
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) – http://www.samhsa.gov/
National Institue of Health (NIH) – http://www.nih.gov/

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