Alcohol Detoxification

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Detoxification, aka ‘Detox’ is a process involving short course of a medicine to manage the alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines are the drug of choice to perform alcohol detoxification process, one such medicine is chlordiazepoxide.

Alcohol Detoxification


Let your physician help you ‘detoxify’

You can approach your general physician who is happy to help you detoxify. Usual plan followed by most physicians is something like described here:

  • The very first day you will be prescribed a high dose of medicine so that you stop taking alcohol.
  • It follows the gradual reduction in dosage of medicine over 5-7 days, helping you to combat the alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • The Detox process requires a promise from you- “I will not drink alcohol”.Otherwise, breathalyzer is there to catch you red handed.
  • You alone don’t need to fight alcohol withdrawal. A family member, say spouse or parents can be given the responsibility to take the prescription and help you take Detox medicines on time.

The Detox phase: What are you ready to feel?

For some people it is an easy-go thing, but one can expect to feel . You can expect to:

  • Nervousness or anxiety lasting a few days.
  • Difficulty going to sleep. A few nights may be!
  • Very mild withdrawal symptoms, far better than when not taking treatment.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that no miracle is done by medication that you quit drinking. Your strong determination and will power to refuse drinking even when you crave is the key to a successful Detox treatment. Medicine just makes you feel better when you body adjusts again to quitting alcohol intake.

Vitamin B1 is prescribed along Detox medicine because alcoholics tend to eat inappropriately leading tovitamin deficiency and it can be damaging to brain.

Who else can help?

People whohave some alcohol related physical or mental health problems, having no social support, showing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms or with a history of failed attempts to quit alcohol intake may need to be admitted to hospital or special units where more staff is there to support them. Other groups of people sometimes offered hospital admission for detox include those with learning difficulties or lots of different illnesses.

To reduce the chances of relapse, one may be given additional help like counseling or some medicine, will power being the most essential tool.

Self-help groups at many places are there to help people stay off alcohol.

How long is medicine needed for?

One usually takes medicine for several months. Acamprosate, Naltrexone, Disulfiram and Beclofen are some other medicines commonly prescribed. Some make you feel that you no longer want alcohol, at least until alcohol detoxification treatment lasts.

If in case the relapse occurs, you can always give it a try to stop. Many people do so. They try to keep within the safe limits. You too can do it; all you need is a strong determination to stay off alcohol, no matter what happens!