Alcohol withdrawal treatment is a very important step in an alcoholic’s recovery. It consists of weaning the alcoholic from his or her addictive substance, in this case alcohol. Sometimes people will want to go through this phase alone, but that is never recommended. Alcohol withdrawal treatment is available as either inpatient or outpatient, but should never be attempted without some sort of medical oversight.
Alcohol withdrawal can have severe side effects, and these cannot be predicted. The last thing you want is to be home alone and go into convulsions. Go through alcohol withdrawal treatment under medical supervision! If you choose to proceed through treatment as an outpatient, a support person or persons will be needed to monitor you and get medical help if your withdrawal symptoms worsen.
Within a treatment program you will be evaluated by qualified medical staff. Alcohol addiction usually brings a host of other medical issues with it. One of the more common is malnutrition, at least in a few areas. Yes, the alcoholic may have a “beer belly”, but he or she has been ingesting alcoholic beverages (empty calories) rather than food with actual nutritional value.
Once nutritional and other medical needs have been assessed, a plan for treatment of the actual alcohol withdrawal symptoms is made. Typically this begins with prescribing a medication to ease cravings for alcohol. Chlordiazepoxide, Librium, and Valium, all of which are central nervous system depressants, are options for this stage. If the alcoholic has a history that indicates seizures are a possibility, one of a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines may be prescribed.
The whole point of alcohol withdrawal treatment is to ease the alcoholic through the symptoms of withdrawal. Of course, any prescription medications for this purpose must not react with alcohol–one of the reasons there are only certain medications recommended for treatment of withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment generally lasts 3 to 5 days, although for severe symptoms it may be longer, especially for patients who have been through repeated detoxifications. Alcohol creates physical effects both on the brain and body. Recent studies indicate that repeated detoxifications may increase cravings and obsessive thoughts. The symptoms exhibited during subsequent detoxifications also appear to worsen.
That’s why, especially for someone who has gone through alcohol withdrawal treatment at least once previously, that medical supervision of some kind is strongly suggested. You’ll be establishing a support group around you for your sobriety. Starting to gather that group during the withdrawal process is just smart thinking.