Alcohol detox provides one of the first lines of recovery from alcoholism. Over time, high and frequent levels of alcohol intake can create physical dependence on alcohol. When alcohol use abruptly stops, the body can experience a host of withdrawal symptoms–as well as the craving to drink again–during the alcohol detoxification phase of recovery. By seeking professional alcohol detox treatment, the physical and mental effects of alcoholism withdrawal can be eased, leading to a better chance of sobriety.
Alcohol Withdrawal During Detoxification
During the alcohol detox process, some–though not all–alcoholics find themselves experiencing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Physically, alcohol withdrawal can cause digestive problems (such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting), heartbeat irregularities, seizures, tremors, fatigue, and even death in severe cases. Two of the most notorious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are delirium tremens (“the shakes”) and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome–a form of alcoholic encephalopathy that can lead to severe memory problems, psychosis, coma or even death if not treated. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can also include mental health symptoms such as confusion, anxiety attacks, depression and dissociation.
Alcohol Detox Treatment Options
Alcohol detox programs provide both medical care and counseling in order to ensure a safe and comfortable transition into alcohol recovery. Some alcohol detox treatment options combat withdrawal symptoms with medications (largely those known as benzodiazepines), both to calm anxiety and reduce withdrawal symptoms during the alcohol detox process. Other alcohol detox treatment options will opt for a widely natural approach, with conservatively prescribed medication–or none at all. As a general rule, all alcohol detox treatment programs will provide medical supervision, vitamin and nutritional supplements (particularly B-complex vitamins) to combat alcohol-induced deficiencies, and professional counseling services to help ease the body and mind as alcohol use ceases.