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Alcohol Detoxification

If you have an alcohol use disorder and you are trying to overcome it, the first step would be to get rid of it from your system and body. This process is commonly referred to as alcohol detoxification.

Understanding Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol detoxification or detox is the natural process by which the body will get rid of the substance from the system and the body. This would happen after a period of consuming alcohol in the long term.

In treatment settings, detoxification is often accompanied by counseling, therapy, medical observation and monitoring, and medication. In this process, the medical team can support you as you undergo detox.

During this process, you will experience some negative side effects, also known as alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can turn out to be painful, dangerous, or even life-threatening. This is why it is recommended that you undergo in a controlled medical environment.

These negative effects will arise due to the biological changes that have occurred due to the presence of alcohol in your body for a long time. You might also have developed tolerance, meaning that your body would need to overcome it before you can recover.

Importance of Alcohol Detox

During alcohol detoxification, the substance will be completely flushed out of your system and body. The withdrawal symptoms that arise will start subsiding about a week or two after you start detox. However, they might take longer based on the severity and duration of your alcohol use disorder.

After that, you will be able to work on the other aspects of your recovery process. For instance, you might be provided with support, counseling sessions, therapies, and different activities.

Since it is a depressant, alcohol will cause dependence and tolerance. Eventually, your brain will no longer be able to naturally produce certain chemicals because it would be deriving them from alcohol.

When you stop drinking, it will take time for your body to start adjusting. As a result, you will display some withdrawal symptoms, including but not limited to hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, nausea, fever, and headache.

Other symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Delirium tremens (but in rare cases)
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

Alcohol detoxification is important because it will take care of these withdrawal symptoms, as well as ensure that you do not succumb to them. It is recommended that you do not attempt this process on your own. This is because you are going to need medical supervision, care, and management to protect you from some life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal like delirium tremens.

Alcohol Detox Medications

In inpatient addiction treatment facilities, some medications might be used to reduce your withdrawal symptoms as well as manage them. These drugs can also balance the chemicals in your body and reduce your risk of suffering other serious complications. They include:

  • Acamprosate
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Disulfiram
  • Naltrexone

Getting Help

Due to the adverse withdrawal symptoms that occur during alcohol detoxification, it is recommended that you go through this process after checking into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. This way, you can receive medical assistance as your body gets rid of alcohol and overcome its tolerance to and dependence on the substance.

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