Alcohol detoxification (also known as detoxification) is the abrupt cessation of alcohol consumption in people who have alcohol dependence. This process is often accompanied by the substitution of drugs that have similar effects to the effects of alcohol to avoid alcohol withdrawal. When withdrawal occurs, symptoms of varying severity occur. Minor withdrawal symptoms usually start about six hours after your last drink.
A person who has a long history of heavy drinking could have seizures six hours after stopping drinking. Due to the severity of some withdrawal symptoms, alcohol detoxification should be monitored by a medical professional. The second, and longest, phase of alcohol detoxification occurs over months, as the brain begins to regulate itself slowly and returns to normal functioning. When treating alcohol detoxification in an inpatient rehabilitation center, different medications may be used to help reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol detoxification in a treatment setting is often accompanied by medication, medical observation and counseling. How long it takes to detox depends on a few factors, including how much you drink, how long you've been drinking, and whether you've had a detox before. Detoxification in a vocational rehabilitation center is often the most recommended method to address alcohol addiction and dependence. It is always recommended to seek medical attention for an alcohol detox to mitigate these side effects.
The alcohol detoxification phase can involve withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening. Benzodiazepines (benzos) are most commonly used to treat withdrawal symptoms during the alcohol detoxification phase. Especially in cases of long-term alcohol users, detoxifying cold turkey can be dangerous and even fatal. Alcohol detoxification is the first step in treating alcoholism and is essential for those who are dependent on alcohol.
Because of the serious risks associated with alcohol self-detoxification, it should not be attempted at home. Some people fear stopping drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, but it is important to remember that professional help is available for those who need it. When entering a treatment program, it can be discouraging but it is the safest way to detox from alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms can be managed with medication and medical supervision, allowing individuals to safely and effectively recover from their addiction.