In regards to mind-altering substances, few are as widely recognized as alcohol. Its widespread usage can be attributed to the fact that, while many mind-altering substances are illegal, alcohol is not. But that is not to say that alcohol doesn’t come with the same dangers. Addiction to alcohol, or alcohol use disorder, can be just as harmful if not more so than any other substance use disorder.
It’s easy to see how one might become addicted to alcohol upon becoming aware of its positive side effects. When consumed in excess over a consistent period of time, however, the brain and body become reliant on alcohol to produce chemicals that they would otherwise produce on their own. This reliance can make it incredibly difficult to quit drinking and may sometimes require a medical alcohol detox to successfully do so.
What is Medical Detox?
Medical detox describes the process through which someone rids their body of toxic, addictive substances when they are suffering from a substance use disorder. This process is supervised by a team of professionals, often consisting of a primary care physician, nurses, therapists, and physical therapists.
The reason that medical detox requires such an extensive team is due to the possible side effects that may occur when the body is separated from an addictive substance. These side effects are commonly referred to as withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can manifest themselves in a variety of forms through different levels of severity and can make getting sober an incredibly difficult task. Symptoms commonly associated with withdrawal are:
- Hot flashes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Delirium tremens (life-threatening)
The symptoms of withdrawal will typically show themselves within 6-24 hours of the patient’s last alcoholic beverage. While the severity of these symptoms and the duration through which they may persist changes on a case-to-case basis, symptoms often reach their worst point within 24-72 hours.
How to Detox From Alcohol
To detox from alcohol, one must not drink. While that may sound simple enough, this can be an incredibly difficult, sometimes even life-threatening, challenge. That is why health care professionals encourage medical detox so that patients may be treated for their symptoms without the risk of harm or relapse. Medical detox will typically occur within three stages:
- Intake exam – in an optimal scenario, medical professionals will have the opportunity to conduct an intake exam before patients undergo withdrawal. The intake exam helps the detox team determine the level of care required for each patient and may include an interview, bloodwork, and discussion on personal drug and mental health history.
- Detox support – detox support is the support the detox team provides to patients while they are actively experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. This form of support provides patients with medication and coping treatments aimed at reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms
- Treatment planning – for those who are in a substance abuse rehabilitation program, treatment planning is a process where patients work with their doctors to craft a recovery treatment plan that best suits their individual needs. These plans are crafted to help patients break old habits and avoid relapse, and they continue their journey toward recovery.
The purpose of medical detox is to help patients combat the symptoms of withdrawal so that the body can physically and mentally recover without the risk of injury or death. Luckily, alcohol detox programs are well equipped to help patients combat these symptoms
Detox From Alcohol at Sante Center for Healing
Detoxing from alcohol can be an unavoidably difficult process. That is why it is important that those who are considering quitting drinking find a facility that they can trust. At Sante Center for Healing, we believe that this trust is essential when working with our patients. We offer a wide variety of detox and substance abuse recovery treatment programs conducted by a staff of experienced and dedicated professionals. For more information on alcohol detox or to schedule an appointment today, contact us at 866.238.3154.