Simply put, alcohol detoxification is the process of eliminating alcohol from the body. With most patients suffering from alcoholism it is necessary and recommended to have professional medical assistance to aid with any alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may occur. In many cases, doctors use a treatment of prescription medication to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with the withdrawal.
When using drugs for alcohol detoxification the patient is usually given a high dosage at first and then declining amounts over the following course of treatment. In this way the strongest doses are taken when the strongest alcohol withdrawal symptoms are present. The patient must not use any alcohol for any reason, at any time, during the period that he is receiving the prescribed medications.
Alcohol detoxification without the use of drugs varies from person to person. There are those who have mild symptoms like cravings for a drink, trembling and sweating, while others may have more severe withdrawal symptoms such as hallucinations, delirium tremens and even convulsions. The use of drugs during the detoxification helps to reduce some of the symptoms and limit some of the side effects of detox.
Once detoxification is complete it is almost always recommended that the patient begin counseling as well as become involved in a 12-step program as a follow-up to the detox process. The craving for alcohol and that “one drink” does not go away overnight and it is important that the patient begin to address some of the reasons why they began drinking the way that they were, as well is to outline ways to stop this destructive behavior.
Recovering alcoholics need to have some type of support system in place or they can quickly find themselves back in the same predicament again. Enrollment in a 12-step program is by far the most common beginning of recovery and many people have had great success using these programs to recover from abusing alcohol.