Alcoholism Detox

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Discover Symptoms of Alcohol Detox



Alcoholism Detox
Getting alcohol detox information is essential if you want to detox successfully




Put simply, alcoholism detox (detoxification) is the process of cleansing the body after the long-term use of alcohol.

According to MedicineNet:

"Treatment requires first ending the physical dependence, then making lifestyle changes..."

The duration and intensiveness of the former (that is, ending the physical dependence) depends upon several factors such as the amount of that was being drunk, the length of a patient's drinking history and previous alcohol withdrawal attempts.

Important: If you drink on a regular basis you should consult a medical professional before you begin the Alcoholism Detox process.


After prolonged use of alcohol, your body becomes highly dependent upon alcohol, especially your brain cells and your kidney and liver.

alcoholism detox

Thus, a sudden break in drinking can cause severe symptoms, formally known as alcohol withdrawal symptoms (AWS).

Through an examination of the alcohol abuse history and physical tests (such as: complete blood count, liver function tests, and urine drug screen) a physician can diagnose what kind of withdrawal symptoms to expect.

The decision as to whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is needed will be according to the diagnosis and any alcohol detox information your physician/doctor thinks relevant to your case. (For more on alcohol detox at home, read outpatient alcohol detox)


The Minor Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

The less-severe symptoms of alcohol detox include:

  • Insomnia
  • shaking
  • mild anxiety
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • excessive sweating
  • heart palpitations
  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • nightmares

Severe Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

The more severe symptoms of alcohol detox can include:

  • A state of confusion and hallucinations (visual) -- known as delirium tremens(DT)
  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Convulsions
  • "Black outs" -- when the person forgets what happened during their drinking history (not the same as alcoholic blackouts.)

There are alcoholism medications available such as diazepam, that are used to reduce the severity of alcoholism detox symptoms. A doctor/physician will prescribe these if he or she thinks they will help.





Alcoholism Detox Information
The Symptoms are Not Only Physical

If you decide to go through alcoholism detox then that is good, but it is only the first step.

However, weaning yourself off alcohol is not enough if you want to stay stopped.

The vast majority of alcohol addicts drink to escape from problems, the past or difficult issues they are not willing to deal with.

Also if you have been drinking for a long time you have acquired a lifestyle based around alcohol.

Confronting your problems without alcohol and breaking the habits you built up over years of alcohol abuse are difficult to things to do. Just stopping drinking is not going to change your lifestyle.

That is why many choose to go through treatment programs and join support groups to help them stay off alcohol and confront life without the bottle.


Inpatient Alcohol Treatment

During inpatient treatment the alcoholic will go through difficult emotional and mental symptoms from withdrawal. It's important for the alcoholic to understand why he or she became addicted to alcohol in the first place.

The psychological support through counseling is not less important than the physical treatment. Counseling is generally done one-on-one and in group sessions.

An 'ex'-alcoholic explains:

"Perhaps even more important than the medications are the peer sessions, discussion periods, informational classes and the simple fact of being able to intermingle with others in your program. Life's problems seem a little less severe when they are shared with others."

For more on choosing an alcoholism treatment center, read 'Choosing Alcohol Treatment Facilities.'





After-Care

The American Society of Addiction Medicine lists three immediate goals for detoxification of alcohol and other substances:

  • “to provide a safe withdrawal from the drug(s) of dependence and enable the patient to become drug-free”
  • “to provide a withdrawal that is humane and thus protects the patient’s dignity”
  • “to prepare the patient for ongoing treatment of his or her dependence on alcohol or other drugs.

Although alcoholism detox is a good start, it can not address the underlying disease of alcohol addiction by itself. In order to achieve full rehabilitation and recovery the alcohol detox treatment must be followed by after-care.

This is where it's critical to surround yourself with a support network, let the people who close to you know what you are going through. Also, disengage yourself from the people who used to drink with you.



It is a challenging phase when you need to implement the strategies learned during treatment and practice refusal skills so you will not fall into drinking again. Make sure you have an effective relapse prevention plan.

It is best to be in touch with an addiction specialist (a counselor/therapist) who will monitor your progress and guide you through living a life free of alcohol.






If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:



Return from Alcoholism Detox to Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Return from Alcoholism Detox to Alcoholism Help Homepage


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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)






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