Detoxing from alcohol on your own is never recommended. Without medical monitoring and the benefit of targeted interventions, alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and even deadly. If you’re a heavy drinker, you’ll likely develop a host of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms within just eight to 12 hours of your last drink. These include sweating, tremors, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and more. Worse still, if these symptoms are not mitigated early-on, they can progress to a much more severe stage of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens.
In delirium tremens, people may experience auditory and visual hallucinations, seizures, or coma. Unmanaged delirium tremens can also result in death. Undergoing supervised detox in a rehab facility is a far preferable choice. After all, the safest and easiest way to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms is by preventing them. When targeted interventions are started at the beginning of a person’s alcohol detox, delirium tremens and other serious symptoms can be avoided entirely.
In a medically managed alcohol detox center, patients receive:
- Targeted, needs-specific withdrawal medications
- Nutritional and hydration support
- Sleep support
- Mental health support
Even when limited physical withdrawal symptoms present, people in active alcohol detox can develop elevated levels of anxiety, severe depression, and suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideations. Professional detox reduces the risk of self-harm, supports the body in healing itself, and greatly increases patients’ chances of long-term success. It also provides immediate access to dual diagnosis treatment when co-occurring disorders exist.
How Medically Supervised Detox Limits the Risks of Physical Withdrawal
Drinking alcohol triggers the release of powerful neurotransmitters that are often referred to as “feel good” chemicals. These include dopamine and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). These are the chemicals that are responsible for the feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and heightened confidence that frequently accompany intoxication.
Drinking too often wears these neurotransmitters out. This in turn causes them to misfire and may impact the rate and level at which they are produced. In time, both GABA and dopamine may be reliant on the continued use of alcohol for their production and release. Unfortunately, the same neurotransmitters that are affected by alcohol abuse play many important roles throughout the body.
Some regulate body temperature and others have a hand in nausea regulation. As detox progresses and as these neurotransmitters as increasingly fire, distress signals are sent out as withdrawal symptoms. There are three medications that can be used in alcohol withdrawal to prevent this from happening. These medications mimic the effects of alcohol on the production and release of neurotransmitters, but they do not stimulate the same feelings of euphoria. Thus, there are not habit-forming. These are:
The professionals managing your detox will determine which of these drugs is right for you. As you gradually move away from your dependence on alcohol, the use of these medications will be tapered as well.
What to Expect During Professional Detox
In addition to withdrawal medications, supervised detox services include regular monitoring of your vital signs. You’ll be visited by medical and mental health professionals on a regular basis. They’ll make sure that you’re drinking enough fluids, getting enough nutrients, and sleeping well. They can also take steps to ensure ongoing mood balance by alleviating intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and restlessness.
Do You Need Professional Detox Support?
If you have tried detoxing from alcohol on your own or going “cold turkey” in the past and found that you were too sick to continue, you need professional detox services. People who develop intense cravings for alcohol, severe withdrawal symptoms, and extreme mood swings are always safest in a medically managed environment. With professional detox, the risk of relapsing during the earliest and most challenging stages of the recovery process are greatly minimized.
Medically supervised detox also makes it possible for patients to seamlessly transition into ongoing rehab services. Whether you intend to participate in an inpatient program or an outpatient program, the professionals at your chosen detox facility can coordinate your care so that there are absolutely no gaps in support. If you’re ready to quit abusing alcohol and want to find the right medically supervised detox program in your area, we’re here to help. Call us today at 772-266-5320. Our counselors are always standing by.