Alcohol detoxification is the process of removing alcohol from the body through a forced period of withdrawal. A licensed medical practitioner who will also administer other drugs, which help in limiting the effect of alcohol withdrawal symptoms during this period, carries out this procedure.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms include the following
· Trembling hands
· Clammy skin
· Dilated pupils
· Uncontrolled movements of the eyelids
Alcohol Detoxification Process
Before the treatment starts, the medical practitioner determines whether the individual should continue with the detoxification of alcohol in the house or ifhe should be referred to the alcohol detoxification center.
On the first day high doses of the prescribed medications are given. Some of the most common drugs used during this process are the following
Benzodiazepines such as Daizepam, oxazepam and Chlordiazepoxide are administered to treat anxiety symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and tremor. After some time the practitioner reduces the doze and prescribes supplements of vitamins like B1.
Topirimate is an anticonvulsant that stabilizes the mood of the patient. It helps in reducing cravings for alcohol.
It relaxes the muscle thus reduces cravings for alcohol
It helps in reducing cravings for alcohol and reduces alcohol’s positive effect.
It reduces the desire for alcohol and at the same time, reduces the risk for relapse.
This gas has proved to be a safe and effective treatment for alcohol withdrawal. The use of this gas reduces the use of highly addictive medications such as benzodiazepines by over 90%. This reduces the secondary addiction to benzodiazepines which is a real problem today in people who have undergone this therapy.
The symptoms of withdrawal are apparent during the detoxification process as the body and the mind realizes that they no longer depend on alcohol. The patient is cut-off from the outside stimuli until when they prove that they are making good progress. When they start improving, they are allowed under a doctor’s prescription to have visitors and to walk around freely. The rehabilitation process may begin towards the end of the detoxification period.
Detoxification process for alcohol dependents has two major challenges. These are the effects of withdrawal syndrome and the patient’s own physical and psychological addiction on alcohol. Some of the physical effects are already mentioned above while some of the psychological effects include, Agitation, anxiety, catatonia, depression fear, euphoria, irritability amongst many others. The medical practitioner can help alleviate these effects through proper medications. However, the medical practitioner should ensure that the addiction is not transferred to the medications provided since it can have adverse effects on the patient.
Physical and psychological effects differ between patients. Therefore, it is advisable that the doctor employed should be one who is well aware of the patient’s medical history so that personal conditions of the patients are not mistaken as the withdrawal syndrome effects.
This is usually the last stage of detoxification for alcohol dependents. The program was developed to prevent a relapse and a repeat of the detox process in future.
Stacey Watts, the writer, is an advocate of drug and alcohol treatment centers. She also volunteers during her spare time and join women on discussion groups in the treatment centers. She also writes for Pathways , a drug and alcohol treatment center and the benefits they provide.