How to Detox from Alcohol
Alcohol is an enjoyable treat for the majority of Americans, but there are a few who are addicted to this drug, and those people often wonder how to detox from alcohol. Like many other drugs, it alters brain chemistry, gradually causing the user to become dependent on its effects. This often leads to self-destructive behavior and a breakdown of the addict's personal relationships. Addicts may realize they have problems after being caught drunk driving, after an intervention conducted by concerned friends and family or after a catastrophic event.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol abuse costs the United States around $235 billion dollars each year. This figure includes lost jobs, damage, crime and poor health. Illicit drugs, by comparison, cost the country $181 billion.
Am I Addicted to Alcohol?
Alcohol addiction is determined by several key indicators:
- You keep drinking alcohol despite the damaged caused to yourself or others
- You cannot control how much you drink or when you drink it
- You get withdrawal symptoms when you cut out alcohol
- Your life revolves around drinking or thinking about alcohol, and various hobbies and interests are ignored in the pursuit of drink
- You have to spend time recovering from the effects of alcohol
- You build up a tolerance to alcohol
If you've said yes to any three of these indicators, you may have an addiction to alcohol. An alcohol detox is possible.
What Is a Detox?
Detox is the process by which you remove alcohol from your body. This is normally done over a period of several weeks. A few detox programs will involve going cold turkey, but most will involve medication.
"Detox is the process by which you remove alcohol from your body."You may undergo withdrawal symptoms, but these can usually be managed with sedative-hypnotic drugs. Insomnia is the trickier issue to treat, as most sedative-hypnotics work on the same receptors that alcohol affects, GABAA receptors. There are some drugs, such as trazodone, that do not work in the same way, so they have off-label uses for the management of sleeping issues. Talk to the physician who is managing your case for more detailed information.
Benzodiazepines can be precisely measured and reduced to slowly eliminate the body's reliance on a soporific such as alcohol. This helps to reduce the risk of delirium, visual hallucinations and convulsions, all of which can occur when going cold turkey.
Where Is a Detox Conducted?
Alcohol detoxes typically require a medically supervised environment, so an inpatient clinic is often the setting. This enables medical staff to monitor the patient around the clock. Outpatient facilities are also used, however, and an addict is expected to travel for a couple of hours of treatment each day, excluding weekends.
Outpatient facilities generally are better suited to those who have good family support networks and a constructive home atmosphere. Those suited to inpatient facilities generally require a little more support or removal from the temptations that beset their lives.
What Happens Next?
"During the detox period, the patient will undergo counseling sessions."During the detox period, the patient will undergo counseling sessions. These might partly be based on a 12 Steps-style program, or it might be based around cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy and other types of therapy. These counseling sessions will continue after the detox. In an inpatient program, the patient will spend some time in therapy and the rest of the time in activities designed to keep the day busy. In an outpatient program, the patient will travel to the clinic for a couple of hours of treatment and then travel home. In both cases, certain drugs may be prescribed to reduce cravings.
According to NIDA, a dermal patch is being trialed for alcoholics. Numerous very fine needles, each thinner than the width of a human hair, were placed onto a grid, which was then placed onto the patient's skin. This created a grid of painless punctures. A patch containing naltrexone, a common drug used in the management of alcohol addiction, was placed over the punctures. This allowed the drug to be absorbed directly into the capillaries of the skin. This reduces the risk of overdose, because the overall dosage is lower, and is much more convenient for an addict than carrying needles.
Why Should I Seek Treatment?
Treatment helps to reduce the effect that alcohol has on the family. When a person is addicted to alcohol, that person may be prone to irrational or dangerous behavior. Being drunk at work is frequently a sackable offence, especially when the worker operates heavy machinery or drives. This can bring financial hardship to a family. Alcohol can cause people to lose their joy for life, instead causing them to focus on getting more alcohol. Again, this can cause issues within the family.
Solving this issue can help the family and the addict. Better health, less money spent on alcohol and the correct treatment for comorbid conditions can improve the cohesiveness of the family unit.
Our team can explain your options and guide you through the process of getting your life back together.