Ending Alcohol Addiction: Under Supervision

alcoholOftentimes, people get into trouble with alcohol before they realize that they have a problem.[1] Many wish to recover but are terrified of detox.1 In the past, an alcoholic may have been locked up in a psychiatric hospital, experiencing wild hallucinations—today, that isn’t the case at all.1 There are many medically supervised interventions that can help most have a relatively mild detox experience, setting them up for a healthy, long-term recovery.1

Under no circumstances should alcohol withdrawal be undertaken alone—the complications can be severe and even cause death.1 Detoxification requires medical supervision, with a wide range of support therapies and medicines to minimize discomfort and prevent the dangerous and life-threatening symptoms.1

Alcohol withdrawal can begin as little as two hours after a person has had their last drink, and it can come on rapidly.1 The symptoms reach their height about 72 hours after the last drink and can linger for weeks.1 The following are symptoms of withdrawal:1

  • Severe Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Shaking/Trembling
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Swings
  • Headache
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Racing Heart
  • Cardiovascular Collapse

Severe symptoms are a medical emergency and require medical attention as soon as possible.1

While there is never a guarantee that an individual will be complication free during alcohol detox, there are therapies available to treat and prevent the worst complications.1 Under a physician’s care, individuals are monitored for hallucinations, severe anxiety, and cardiovascular distress.1 Medicines are able to manage nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and seizures.1

While the withdrawal symptoms begin to subside in detox, the patient and the members of his or her treatment team have begun to develop a bond.1 Trust has built and the foundation for a compassionate, therapeutic relationship has been developed for the person to recover from alcoholism.1 Alcohol detox alone is not addiction treatment.1 Intensive psychotherapeutic components are then begun: therapy, yoga, meditation, healthy eating, and exercise.1 Many join 12-Step programs and are supported in the life changes they are making.1

No matter what the individual chooses, alcohol detox is only the first step in a life-long way of living and successful recovery.1

[1] Taite, R. (2013, November 18). Medically Supervised Alcohol Detox Aids Alcoholism Recovery. Psychology Today. Retrieved December 3, 2013, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ending-addiction-good/201311/medically-supervised-alcohol-detox-aids-alcoholism-recovery

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