Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. Harmful drinking leads to 88,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Alcohol is the third leading risk factor for poor health outcomes.
Medical detox for alcohol is the process by which someone safely stops drinking. The effects of detox and treatment are discussed with the person prior to starting the process.
Alcohol detox can pose health risks. During the process, the detox team will provide safe methods to help control the symptoms. The client is closely observed around the clock. This helps to ensure their safety and also provide comfort while pain is reduced. If medical care is needed it will be provided swiftly.
Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Long-term, chronic alcohol abuse can cause the body to become used to it. Over time this can cause someone to need the substance so they won’t feel sick. The body adjusts to the constant presence of alcohol. When someone decides to stop drinking, that’s when symptoms emerge.
When alcohol intake is decreased or stopped, the body becomes sick. The brain and central nervous system—which have become used to the alcohol to function, will react. Withdrawal symptoms begin as the body attempts to reset its hormone levels. During a medical detox certain drugs can help control or reduce these symptoms.
Planning for Alcohol Detox
To prepare for the detox symptoms the team will look at the factors that can cause problems. These factors include the client’s history of drinking. Also, age and health status are factors that can impact the detox process.
Factors that affect how to prepare for detox include:
- Level of drinking.
- How long alcohol abuse lasts.
- When the last drink was consumed.
- Number of times detox tried in the past.
- Other health or mental health issues.
- Other substance abuse (poly-drug) issues.
Other aspects that are addressed include:
- Health issues that could lead to problems during detox.
- Heath issues that limit the use of drugs during detox.
- Results of a blood alcohol test prior to the start of detox.
Causes of Detox Symptoms
When a constant pattern of alcohol use persists over time, the neural pathways of the brain become altered. These changes will progress. Soon the brain stops working right. This causes symptoms in the brain that happen during the alcohol detox. They occur in response to the absence of alcohol. This response leads to the symptoms.
In as little as two hours after the last drink, symptoms can begin to show. This points to why a medical detox is needed to plan for this.
As the detox moves forward, these symptoms are common:
- 6-12 hours: Tremors, headache, profuse sweating, anxiety, nausea, vomiting.
- 12-24 hours: Confusion, psychosis, the shakes, agitation.
- 24-48 hours: Seizures, plus prior symptoms.
- After 48 hours: Most symptoms begin to subside for the most part.
In severe cases, symptoms can become quite severe. There is a risk of the person getting the DTs. The DTs may last from 4 to 12 days. The DTs involve symptoms of psychosis, severe confusion, seizures, high blood pressure and fever. This can even be fatal.
A medical detox program such as ours at LifeSync Malibu is the best way to safely go through physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal through detox. After ridding the body of harmful toxins you can begin the lifelong journey to health and wellness.