Alcoholism Detox


When an alcoholic suddenly quits drinking alcohol, he or she usually experiences alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcoholism detox is an alcohol treatment approach that focuses on managing and controlling the alcohol withdrawal symptoms and alcohol detox symptoms in a safe environment so that the body can eliminate the alcohol that has been consumed.

As important as alcoholism detox is, it must be kept in mind, however, that alcoholism detox is only one aspect of the overall alcoholism treatment procedure.

Alcoholism Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcoholism detox is a widely available, therapeutic approach that is typically carried out under the guidance a healthcare practitioner and frequently employed as the first step in an alcoholism treatment program.


Essentially due to the relatively long time-frame needed for the detoxification process, alcoholism detox therapies and managing the alcohol detox symptoms are typically part of an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation protocol.

Recent research in the alcoholism literature has revealed the importance of treating every individual who experiences alcoholism withdrawal symptoms.

It can be noted, however, that roughly 95% of the people who stop drinking alcohol experience mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms and as a result, can usually treated on an out-patient basis by a healthcare provider.

The other 5% of the people who experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, on the other hand, encounter symptoms so severe that they must be treated in an alcohol rehab facility or a hospital that specializes in alcoholism detoxification.

Alcoholism Detox Using Doctor Prescribed Medications

A number of practitioners and alcoholism researchers assert that individuals who suffer from excessive alcohol withdrawal symptoms or chronic alcoholics who cannot sustain their sobriety should receive drug therapy to regulate their alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

It is important to emphasize, additionally, that by using doctor prescribed drugs, alcoholics are less likely to encounter possible seizures and/or brain damage when undergoing the alcoholism withdrawal process.

According to recent research findings in the alcoholism literature, the medications most likely to generate effective outcomes when treating alcoholism withdrawal symptoms are the benzodiazepines.

Examples include the shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Serax and Ativan and the longer-acting benzodiazepines such as Librium and Valium.

From a historical vantage point, when doctors have used benzodiazepines for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms they have progressively decreased the dosage over the time-span of the withdrawal process.

Furthermore, due to the fact that the shorter-acting benzodiazepines do not remain in the individual's system for an extreme period of time and since they allow for quantifiable dose reductions, many alcoholism practitioners have suggested that short to intermediate-life benzodiazepines should be utilized in the treatment of most alcoholism withdrawal symptoms.

Once the person is stabilized and has overcome his or her alcohol withdrawal symptoms, other doctor-prescribed drugs such as naltrexone (ReViaT) or disulfiram (Antabuse) may be employed in an effort to help stop the person from returning to drinking after he or she has encountered a drinking relapse.

As an example of this type of therapy, alcoholics are frequently given the drug antabuse because this medication elicits negative effects such as dizziness, vomiting, flushing, and nausea if alcohol is ingested. Clearly, antabuse is effective because it is such a strong deterrent.

Naltrexone (ReViaT), however, is employed in an entirely different way in that it targets the brain's reward center and reduces the craving the alcoholic has for alcohol.

Non-Drug Alcoholism Detox

A number of non-drug therapies are available for treating a person's alcoholism withdrawal symptoms.

In fact, according to the current alcoholism research literature, it appears that the most harm-free way to treat mild withdrawal symptoms is without medications.

It can be pointed out that these non-drug alcoholism detox programs are effective because they use extensive social support and screening throughout the alcohol withdrawal process.

Other non-drug alcoholism detox programs, furthermore, utilize vitamin therapy (especially thiamin) and proper nutrition when treating mild withdrawal symptoms.

Alcoholism Detox: Inpatient versus Outpatient Status

It should come as no surprise that according to recent research findings that inpatient alcohol withdrawal treatment is typically more effective and longer-lasting than outpatient treatment.

The upshot of this is the following: the more excessive the alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, the more likely that inpatient treatment programs should be employed.


Conclusion: Alcoholism Detox

Despite the fact that 95% of the individuals who stop drinking alcohol encounter mild to moderate alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, every individual who experiences alcoholism withdrawal symptoms needs professional alcoholism detox treatment.

The bottom-line and most important message concerning alcohol withdrawal symptoms, therefore is this: when experiencing alcoholism withdrawal symptoms and alcohol detox symptoms, always see your doctor or your healthcare practitioner immediately so that he or she can evaluate the seriousness of your condition and recommend the alcoholism detox program that will be the most effective and the most appropriate for your particular circumstance.