Why Alcohol Detox Programs Are Necessary
Detoxification must happen before real addiction treatment starts. Alcohol withdrawal can be uncomfortable and even life-threatening. Experiencing them while being monitored and provided 24-hour care at an inpatient alcohol detox center may be the best choice possible for recovering alcoholics.
Alcoholics will develop withdrawal symptoms within six to 24 hours after their last drink. Even if they still have alcohol in their blood, some negative effects of withdrawal will arise – such as anxiety, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, depression, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, problems with sleeping, shakiness, sweating, and even delirium tremens (DTs). The latter is a life-threatening symptom that is characterized by confusion, fever, and seizures.
If an individual needs to drink alcohol to feel normal or can’t go through withdrawal by themselves, they need professional help in the form of an alcohol detox program. A program like this gives individuals the support and guidance necessary to focus on healing.
Parts of an Alcohol Detox Program
Individuals can have different alcohol detox programs due to their initial comprehensive assessment elements – this is usually part of admissions and orientation. However, detox and withdrawal symptoms generally follow an observed timeline for all individuals:
- First few hours: Withdrawal begins within several hours of the last drink, which is why individuals should get admitted into an alcohol detox program right away. Individuals may have strong alcohol cravings at this point.
- First few days: Withdrawal symptoms will peak during this time. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be offered as individuals will be prone to bouts of anxiety, fast heartbeats, nausea, and vomiting. DTs may arise out of nowhere, which makes 24-hour supervision a must.
- First few weeks: Alcohol detox programs should have individuals stabilized, sober, and ready for transfer into a comprehensive addiction treatment program at this point. Professionals will work with individuals to figure out which program would be a perfect fit for them.
Some alcohol detox centers will have further addiction treatments within their location, while others will be partnered with nearby facilities that offer them.
What Individuals Should Look for in an Alcohol Detox Center
Alcohol detox tends to last about a week, on average, but the process can feel like it goes on forever. Support and comfort are key elements during this phase of alcohol addiction recovery. Look for alcohol detox centers that can provide MAT and possible inpatient treatment. Unless an individual cannot get time off work or school, residential treatment would be the best option for them after an alcohol detox program.
Look for compassionate and trained staff, as well as a location that maintains an individual’s privacy and security. Healing from addiction takes a lot out of an individual, so any distraction won’t help. A holistic approach, where the treatment of a person as a whole is the focus, could also be beneficial to recovery.
No one needs to struggle with detoxification, withdrawal, and maintaining sobriety alone. Alcohol detox centers should also provide a sense of community to individuals, as some might not have a family or close friends to lean on during this difficult part of their lives. They should also provide professional support when creating or choosing addiction treatment and aftercare plans.