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Some FAQs Answered About Alcohol Detox Programs

Aug 26, 2008
When someone is with a drug addiction, it becomes a foregone conclusion that they will have to go through a detox treatment. People who are looking at any kind of drug addiction treatment are resigned to the fact that they will need detox. But this is not the case with alcohol addiction treatment. Alcohol detox is simply not considered to be as important as drug detox. That is the reason people have several questions when they are counseled that they will have to go through an alcohol detox program.

The following are some questions that people facing the prospect of an alcohol detox have, with their answers.

Q1. Is alcohol detox really important?

Most patients of alcohol addiction ask this, and even their families do. However, the answer to this question is a positive "yes". Alcohol detox is just as important as a drug detox treatment if not more. The first benefit that this treatment provides is that it completely detoxifies the body. The meaning of detoxification is removal of toxins, which in this case is the alcohol itself. So, when a person is made to go through an alcohol detox treatment, the alcohol present in the body of the person is removed.

This has many positive benefits on the person. One, it helps the patient to come out of the health problems that the alcohol accumulation might cause, such as the cirrhosis of the liver. It helps alcoholics to stay healthier. In most people, it has been found that they have gotten into a better body shape after an alcohol detox treatment. Also, it helps people in coming out of their urges for the substance. As long as there is presence of alcohol in the body of the person, there is always a chance that the person will have a tendency to have more of it. But with the detox treatment, the alcohol is completely removed from the body. Hence, there is a possibility that the person is completely brought out of the temptation of the substance. This is a definite positive benefit of the detox treatment.

For these reasons, alcohol detox is indeed important and must not be neglected.

Q2. How is an alcohol detox treatment program implemented?

First, the person's condition is properly analyzed to make sure that the person does not have any physical or psychiatric complication that might pose a problem to the treatment program. Once it is decided that the person is fit enough to go through the alcohol detox treatment, he or she is made to abstain completely from the substance. In order to make things simpler, the patient is kept in an isolated treatment center so that they are away from familiar circumstances and people, thus making it better to stay away from the substance.

Within a few hours or within a day or two, the person will begin feeling the initial pangs of withdrawal, which will be characterized by a craving for the substance which becomes stronger every hour. A time might come when the patient will show violent physical reactions for want of alcohol. This is when a battery of the right kinds of medicines (depending on the patient's condition and the program of the treatment center) will be provided so that the person can be brought out of this condition.

The withdrawal pangs are at their strongest on the second to third day of the detox. Once the person is brought out of this peak period, the withdrawal gradually goes on diminishing because the medication begins to take effect. After about a week, most patients are completely out of their alcohol withdrawal.

Q3. What about the medicines that are provided during alcohol detox?

There are two main functions of the medications that are provided during the alcohol detox. The first intention is to help the body come out of the temptation for using the alcohol. Medications such as Antabuse, Campral and Topamax are used for this purpose. Antabuse is quite effective and almost universally used. This substance can actually cause an aversion in the person for alcohol, which is quite effective in helping people come out of their addictions.

There are also medications such as Naltrexone which are provided here. These medications are used mostly to stabilize the body after the withdrawal begins to appear. The main function of these medications is to bring the body back to a normal state as much as possible.

Q4. In what cases will an alcohol detox be waived?

An alcohol detox will almost always be a part of the treatment program, but if the patient has been with the addiction for a very short time, typically under a year, then the detox program might be waived for them.
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