Alcohol Detox: What to Expect

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The first step in overcoming alcoholism is alcohol detox – intensive medical care designed to treat withdrawal symptoms and help the person to stabilize mentally and physically. For each person, detox will be different according to his or her needs, but in most cases, a combination of medications and psychotherapeutic intervention is warranted.

What can your loved one expect in alcohol detox? Some of the factors that will impact your loved one’s experience include:

  • Stabilization. Before anything else, a patient who is struggling with overwhelming mental health symptoms or life-threatening medical problems will first be stabilized in treatment. In some cases, people who enter detox are suffering from acute issues that must first be managed before it is possible to address the underlying alcohol addiction.
  • Evaluation and assessment. A better understanding of the person’s situation is imperative to providing the right approach to alcohol detox. Evaluation and assessment immediately follow stabilization and are the first steps for those who do not require stabilization.
  • Time. For some, alcohol detox lasts only a few days; for others, it stretches out into weeks. The length of time spent in detox will depend upon the amount of alcohol ingested on average, the length of time spent addicted to the substance, co-occurring mental or physical health issues, and whether or not the person also abuses/is addicted to other illicit substances.
  • Medications. There are a number of different medications that are approved for use in treating dependence upon alcohol. Some help to reduce the cravings experienced by patients in early recovery, while others reduce the intensity of certain withdrawal symptoms. Some patients will not utilize medications at all. Each patient receives care that is warranted in his or her situation.
  • Medical monitoring. Whether or not medication is utilized for alcohol detox, the care of medical professionals is imperative to ensuring that the patient is safe and provided for effectively throughout the detox experience.
  • Preparation to progress in treatment. Alcohol detox is an important first step in alcohol addiction treatment, but long-term recovery requires intensive psychotherapeutic treatment. Patients should begin treatment for addiction immediately following alcohol detox.

According to a study out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as reported by NBC News, an estimated 75,000 people in the US die due to alcohol abuse annually, making alcohol the third highest cause of mortality. If your loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, don’t wait to seek help. Contact us at Palm Beach Detox today for the support and assistance needed in early recovery.