Get The Facts About Alcohol Detoxification

Out of more than 16 million adults in the United States in need of alcoholism addiction treatment, only about 1.3 million receive treatment. Sadly, alcohol remains the third leading preventable cause of death in the US (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). One of the biggest barriers between alcoholics and treatment is fear of detoxification.

What is detox?

Detoxification, or detox, is a period of forced withdrawal from a substance (Mayo Clinic). During detoxification, the body rids itself of harmful chemicals to achieve homeostasis. Most treatment programs at Florida rehab centers begin with detox.

Admission to a South Florida detox procedure

After seeking admission to a Florida detox facility, medical staff will begin conducting a comprehensive assessment of mental and physical health. This allows staff to ensure any possible medical conditions are monitored and managed throughout the detox process. The physician may request a drug screen to rule out any other substance abuse issues as well as order blood and urine tests to identify any additional health complications.

Withdrawal symptoms

Detox may include withdrawal symptoms of varying severity. Withdrawal symptoms are capable of being medically managed through the use of oral, intravenous and aerosolized medications. These medications may reduce the cravings for alcohol in addition to reducing the actual withdrawal symptoms. According to the US National Library of Medicine, withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive sweating
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Flushing of the face and skin

Withdrawal from severe alcoholism can be life-threatening. The symptoms of this type of withdrawal, or delirium tremens, include severe agitation, high fever, hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, disorientation, aggression and heart arrhythmia. When these severe symptoms are present, detoxification may require constant monitoring of heart and brain activity as well as possible assistance with erratic behavior due to hallucinations.

Inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment in Florida

Due to the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms, initial treatment of alcoholism should begin at an inpatient facility. Withdrawal symptoms tend to occur within eight hours of the last incidence of alcohol ingestion. Some symptoms may last several weeks, if not months, throughout the course of treatment. However, inpatient treatment typically lasts a few days to get past the initial detox and assessment of stability for maintaining sobriety. Afterwards, outpatient treatment can begin.

Alcohol detox is an extremely unpleasant event. However, the negative side effects from alcohol abuse are more dangerous than avoiding alcoholism treatment. If a person has experienced repetitive issues from alcohol abuse, he or she needs to consider seeking treatment through a Florida rehab center. The process of overcoming alcoholism begins with the decision to get treatment and complete detoxification.

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