Alcohol detox is the natural process that occurs in the human body as it tries to rid itself of the toxins and waste products from excessive and prolonged intake of alcohol. During this period the individual abstains from the consumption of alcohol in other to get rid of its toxins, it can be seen as purging the body system of alcohol traces. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to get over an addiction such as this and it is overwhelming for an individual to embark on this journey, medical help is therefore always recommended.
Due to the fact that the brain and body of an alcohol addict is dependent on the consumption of alcohol in order to get through each day, the process of Withdrawal always comes with some symptoms which can begin 6 hours after the last consumption and can take weeks or months to get over these symptoms. Such symptoms includes:
Treatment of alcohol withdrawal may incorporate monitoring of blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and the blood levels of various chemicals in the body. The symptoms that result as an aftermath of alcohol withdrawal can be treated with certain medications to enable the individual feel less discomfort during the detoxification period. Medications can lower the risks for serious complications and keep the chemical balance of the person in check.
Some of the medications administered during the detoxification phase include:
Benzodiazepines:- Commonly called benzos, this is the most used medication used to treat withdrawal symptoms during detoxification as they are generally safe and effective in suppressing withdrawal symptoms. Benzos are administered to help calm the central nervous system and are also prescribed for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and muscle spams. This medication comes in two forms: short-acting and long-acting benzos.
Short-acting benzos requires administration on short regular intervals, on the other hand long-acting benzos are usually administered for three days or taken as needed. Benzodiazepines should be used carefully and only for a short period as they share a risk of cross tolerance with alcohol. There is a risk of replacing alcohol addiction with benzodiazepines dependence. Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and Diazepam (Valium) are the most commonly prescribed benzos.
Naltrexone:- Naltrexone is a medication that helps reduce the craving for alcohol during detox. It inhibits the high feeling that alcohol may cause in the event of a relapse. This drug comes in two forms, a tablet and an inject able form. It is highly recommended that you wait a period of 7 to 10 days before taking this drug as it can simulate withdrawal symptoms.
Acamprosate:- Sold under the name Campral, acamprosate is prescribed to help your brain function normally again during detoxification, as the brain is already used to alcohol. It helps reduce alcohol craving and studies are being made to see if it helps reduce anxiety and insomnia.
Disulfiram:- This is another mediation that is used in the treatment of alcoholism to help deter you from further consumption of alcohol. This is very distinct from other medication as it works by producing severe reactions if alcohol is consumed. Disulfiram is not meant to function like other medication that reduces alcohol cravings or restore brain function, on the contrary it is meant to produce negative effect to deter you from continuing your drinking habits. If you drink while you are on disulfiram, you will experience effects such as headache, nausea, facial flushing and weakness.
Vitamins:- Alcoholics are often administered multivitamins preparations because they are often deficient of various nutrients which may cause complications during the detox phase.
Failure to handle alcohol withdrawal syndrome effectively could lead to brain damage or death, it is therefore of utmost importance that medications be administered properly.
Medically supervised treatment to manage withdrawal symptoms due to alcohol detoxification that matches the patient's needs.
Inpatient rehab for alcohol use disorders using intensive therapy and counseling to identify and address the addiction's root cause.
Medically supervised drug detox for patients at risk of having severe withdrawal symptoms that might require medical intervention.
Inpatient drug rehab in a distraction - free environment to give patients the best chance of being free for life from substance addiction.
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