The first step to treating alcoholism is detoxification. When you have been drinking for some time, toxins build up in your body. Alcohol detoxification is the natural process by which these toxins are flushed from your system. It is often accompanied by other forms of treatment like medication, counseling, and medical observation. Before starting the alcohol detox process, most people are often curious to know what it is like and what to expect. It is essential to consult with a professional as they will give you the correct answer. You can view more information about some of the things you are curious about detoxification. That being said, below is a discussion on a few things you should know.
Why Detoxification is Important
Detoxification is a way of getting rid of the alcohol in your system. During this process, one will experience withdrawal symptoms which can end within 1 to 2 weeks. However, depending on the severity of your addiction, the process can take longer. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol include:
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- Anxiety or nervousness
- Mood swings
- Not thinking clearly
- Clammy skin
- Dilated pupils
Alcohol is a depressant that your body gets used to relying on after drinking for a long time. Eventually, your brain stops producing various chemicals it gets from alcohol, hence becoming dependent on it. That is why when one quits, it takes some time before the body can fully adjust, thus leading to withdrawal symptoms. The effects of alcoholism often range from mild to severe, hence the need to get information from professionals.
Steps Involved in Alcohol Detoxification
Alcohol detoxification is the beginning of your treatment program. It can be done for both inpatients and outpatients, but monitoring is required, especially for heavy users.
- Once you arrive at a recovery center, the medical staff will evaluate your situation and do mental and physical screenings. This is to assess your condition before proceeding with treatment. It is also at this point where they might determine whether you have underlying mental health conditions hence treatment for co-occurring disorders.
- Medication and Observation. As mentioned earlier, detoxification is usually accompanied by medication to help manage the withdrawal symptoms. The drugs can help reduce craving and nausea and prevent seizures. Observation is essential as the doctor gets to see how you are reacting to detoxification. Even people who are not using medication while detoxing still need medical observation because of the withdrawal symptoms.
- You will undergo both group and individual counseling sessions to help identify the underlying cause of the alcoholism. This is part of the treatment process.
Detoxing On Your Own
For some reason, some people prefer detoxing at home than at a recovery center. However, detoxification comes with withdrawal symptoms, some of which are brutal. That is why it is always recommended to have a medical professional with you. Also, the detox phase is where one has a high chance of relapsing. It is easy to give in to your cravings when you start shaking or feeling nauseated, and you know that alcohol will provide relief. For a high chance of recovery, it is recommended for one to go to a treatment facility.
How Long is Alcohol Detoxification Treatment?
There is no standard period for the detoxification process, but generally, it can last about four days to a month. Withdrawal symptoms also occur in phases, starting with mild symptoms like headaches to severe fever and high blood pressure. Everyone reacts differently to detoxification depending on their body and the level of addiction.
It is only while you are in recovery that you start to see the effects the addiction is having on you and your family. While detoxification may sound scary, it is the right step in your recovery journey. Do your research and visit a recovery center to get a clear picture of what the process looks like.
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