What You Should Expect from a Comprehensive Alcohol Detox
Millions of people in the country currently have some type of alcohol abuse disorder. As of 2014, almost 87 percent of people ages 18 or older had an alcohol problem at some point in their life.
However, the fact remains that only a fraction of those people will ever seek help for their abuse or addiction. This even applies to severe cases of alcohol addiction. There is no level of abuse or addiction where an individual cannot benefit from alcohol detox treatment. Of course, there are many who could seek detox from alcohol, but are afraid of withdrawal symptoms, or are unsure of how long it will last or what it will entail. Many ask the following questions.
- How long will it take to detox from my alcohol addiction? People should keep in mind that detox is simply the initial step to rid the body of harmful toxins. Detox can last from seven to 10 days, or from 30 to 90 days. It all depends on the severity of the patient’s addiction, their health, and length of time addicted. It also depends on their desire and willingness to get well.
- Other medical or behavioral issues will also affect how long an individual remains in detox or rehab. An effective treatment center will seek to uncover co-occurring conditions, mental or otherwise, and treat those while treating their addiction. The more thorough the treatment, the greater the likelihood a patient will experience long-term sobriety and escape relapse.
- Detox, its length and depth, will also depend on the patient’s mental, social, spiritual, and emotional needs. Detox can be trying for many, and extremely uncomfortable. Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, vomiting, nausea, hallucinations, dehydration, loss of appetite, and more. Of course, specific withdrawal symptoms depend on the client’s drug or illicit substance of choice.
Alcohol withdrawal can consist of the following three phases:
- Acute Withdrawal – When an individual suffers at this phase, expect tremors and seizures during their first 24 hours of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms should peak after 72 hours.
- Early Abstinence – During this period, anxiety and mood swings may manifest, but without painful or acute withdrawal symptoms. Clearly, the patient is making progress. Severe anxieties should disappear within a six period. Note that women may take a little longer than men on average to pass through this period.
- Protracted Abstinence – This is the final phase and the patients sates of unrest, anxiety and unease may have abated. However, the patient still has to be careful to avoid triggers that might lead to relapse.
Alcohol’s Long-Term Effects on the Human Body
Long-term addiction definitely has a harmful effect on the body. The heart is at risk for a heart attack, strokes and high blood pressure are possible. The liver is often the hardest hit and cirrhosis is quite common. Alcohol can also weaken the addicted person’s immune system and leave them open to all sorts of diseases that include cancer. Poor appetites rob the alcoholic of vital vitamins and nutrients. You might say the body is nutritionally compromised.
Detox should include a lot of vitamin B1 supplements along with boosts of iron. Patients respond well to broths and herbal tea treatments so as to maintain good hydration. Medications will also be prescribed that can help reduce alcohol cravings. Because of the dangers of harmful withdrawal symptoms, detox should never be attempted outside of a clinically safe facility.
The goal of the entire rehab program is to help patients to stay sober and prevent future relapses. It is doable, but the patient must have a strong mental foundation for success. Cognitive therapies can benefit patients tremendously by helping them make the connection between their thinking and behavior.