Alcohol Detoxification Requires Medical Treatment and Standard Protocols
Delisted Expert Says...
Many changes have occurred in providing detox for alcoholism. The main goal is to manage the withdrawal symptoms from stopping the use of alcohol which can put the body into a crisis.
Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are identified from mild to moderate psychological symptoms, mild to moderate physical symptoms, and severe and often dangerous symptoms. There are:
Mild to moderate psychological symptoms:
- Feeling of jumpiness or nervousness
- Feeling of shakiness
- Irritability or easily excited
- Emotional volatility, rapid emotional changes
- Difficulty with thinking clearly
- Bad dreams
Mild to moderate physical symptoms:
- Headache - general, pulsating
- Sweating, especially the palms of the hands or the face
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia, sleeping difficulty
- Rapid heart rate (palpitations)
- Eyes, pupils different size (enlarged, dilated pupils)
- Skin, clammy
- Abnormal movements
- Tremor of the hands
- Involuntary, abnormal movements of the eyelids
- A state of confusion and hallucinations (visual) -- known as delirium tremens
- "Black outs" -- when the person forgets what happened during the drinking episode
Approximately 95% of people experience mild to moderate symptoms while enduring alcohol withdrawal. Most people go to the hospital for observation and to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. To better understand what is provided in hospital-based detox, go to http://alcoholism.about.com/od/withdraw/a/aa040604.htm
My strongest recommendation is to contact a substance abuse professional, in a rehab center or hospital, who will be able to assess what you need in your alcohol detox and treatment. Detox alone will not keep you sober. Treatment in a rehab center will. People who often go into detoxification without treatment will relapse or find a repeated need for more detoxification.
I would like to wish you the best outcome in your treatment. If I can be of further help, please let me know.
John W. O'Neal, Ed.S, MSW, MA, LPC, NCC
Page last updated Jul 18, 2012