Alcoholism is a disease in which the individual develops a physical and psychological dependency on alcohol. Treating the physical dependency is one of the most vitally important aspects of addiction treatment; much of the success of future stages of a patient’s treatment hinges on the successful treatment of the physical addiction. This is done during a detox program. Most inpatient rehab facilities offer on-site detox programs but it can also be performed at a hospital. Medically supervised detoxes allow patients to detox safely while receiving round-the-clock support from psychological counselors and medical staff. This ensures the patients remain safe and healthy while they go through detox and can move successfully into the next phase of their treatment.
Alcohol Withdrawal During Detox
When detox begins, patients will experience withdrawal symptoms. When a person is physically dependent on a substance, it means their body has learned to function biochemically with that substance present. When the substance is removed, the body is sent into shock and internal systems are thrown off. It is then that withdrawal symptoms are experienced. Withdrawal symptoms are often most severe in the early stages of detox and then gradually become more mild as the body regulates itself without the substance present.
These are some examples of mild to moderate physical withdrawal symptoms:
- Sweating, particularly the palms of the hands and the face
- Loss of appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Dilated pupils
Types of Medically Supervised Detox
There are two primary types of detox treatment a patient can receive at rehab.
- Natural Detox. In a natural detox, patients experience their withdrawal symptoms completely while under the careful supervision of medical staff. Patients are made comfortable during detox but receive no additional pharmaceutical aids during the treatment.
- Medical Detox. In a medical detox, patients receive pharmaceuticals to reduce their withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is a common drug used in medical detoxes, particularly for heroin and opiate addictions. The pharmaceuticals used in a medical detox are designed to replace the drugs or alcohol in the patients body so they do not experience full-fledged withdrawal symptoms. Gradually, the dosage is reduced until the medication is no longer required. Some patients opt for medical detox while others have it recommended to them by their doctors. Doctors recommend this type of program for someone with a severe physical addiction or for a patient at risk for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. One risk of medical detox is that a small number of patients will become addicted to the prescribed pharmaceutical. As with natural detox, patients are carefully monitored during a medical detox to ensure their safety.
Finding a Detox Program
If you or a loved one is considering struggling with addiction, please call our toll-free number. Our trained counselors can answer any questions you have and help find a medically supervised detox and rehab program that fits your needs.