Author: Charles Frank

An Overview of Outpatient and Inpatient Detoxification PMC

detoxification in alcoholism

Benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam and chlordiazepoxide) are the most commonly used drugs for this purpose, and their efficacy is well established (Swift 1997). Benzodiazepines not only reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms but also prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures, which occur in an estimated 1 to 4 percent of withdrawal patients (Schuckit 1995). Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking because they’re nervous about the withdrawal symptoms experienced during alcohol detox. While some people may only be affected by minor effects of alcoholism, others may face extreme pain. Withdrawal symptoms can change quickly and aggressively, which is why it’s important to detox under the care of medical professionals. Treatment professionals at a rehab facility will be able to help you manage your pain with different medications.

These symptoms can be similar to those of a hangover, so it is essential not to look past them. For an individual that has consumed a lot of alcohol for a substantial amount of time, it is crucial to address these symptoms. This is mainly due to the life-threatening health complications that can arise during alcohol detox. A rehab center will ensure your safety during detox with the right medication if necessary, as well as 24/7 support.

The most suitable setting for detoxification needs to be discussed, but safety and economic (rather than convenience) considerations are foremost. The need for admission into a medical in-patient facility is a matter of clinical judgement and depends upon social as well as medical risk factors. That is why alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal treatment is administered by medical professionals. Unlike other medications, disulfiram works by producing severe reactions if alcohol is consumed.

detoxification in alcoholism

B vitamins are involved in many processes that are essential to a successful recovery, and they’re often depleted in people who have been drinking heavily for a long time. B vitamins help the body make energy and play a role in the production of serotonin, and they are essential for healthy nervous system function. Movies and television shows often show someone giving up alcohol “cold turkey,” going from heavy drinking to abstinence in a single day. This method can be extremely dangerous, particularly for people who have been drinking daily or near daily for prolonged periods. Phenibut is used in Eastern Europe for alcohol detoxification as it has sedative and anxiolytic effects. Copyright © 2024, The information provided by is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Stage 2: Moderate Symptoms

However, when someone who has developed an alcohol dependence stops drinking alcohol, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal during detox. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on previous alcohol consumption. When a person seeks treatment for alcohol addiction, the first step in the recovery process is usually alcohol detoxification (aka detox).

In an inpatient rehab program, the patient resides at the treatment facility for the full duration of the program. Most programs last anywhere from 20 to 90 days but can be longer if needed. Depending on the individual and the severity of the addiction, the exact alcohol detox process will vary. The elderly are likely to experience a prolonged withdrawal syndrome and to be sensitive to the side-effects of medication, so detoxification should always be supervised either at home or in a residential facility. If using health insurance, you can contact your insurance provider for a list of approved in-network programs. You can also use the rehab directory to easily locate a treatment center close to you.

While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. Get professional help from an online addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp. Various vitamins, especially from the B group, are often used during alcohol withdrawal treatment. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction.

Withdrawal treatment

People who misuse alcohol are at particular risk of Wernicke’s encephalopathy, because they have low storage levels of thiamine and because the metabolism of alcohol requires significant amounts of thiamine. This more detailed preparation for detoxification is probably best handled with the assistance of a leaflet or checklist that the patient can take away to work on alone. The hallmark feature of the action stage is having a positive outcome expectancy or, more simply, the patient needs to believe that life is going to be better after detoxification. Often, patients assume that this will be the case, but have not really thought through the implications of not drinking, which will often mean not seeing friends or drinking mates and having unfilled time. Not doing something is inherently unrewarding and it is crucial that positive alternatives to drinking are planned. We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery.

Respiratory problems leading to death have been reported in people who combine alcohol and clomethiazole. However, intravenous infusion of clomethiazole may be the treatment of choice for the most severe withdrawal syndromes seen in Tier 4 services (Reference MorganMorgan, 1995). Among the benzodiazepines, there is a strong argument to choose chlordiazepoxide as the first-line drug. It is slowly absorbed, has a long half-life and low potency and is therefore of low addictive potential. There is some margin of safety when alcohol is taken along with chlordiazepoxide.

  1. Treatment providers are available 24/7 to answer your questions about rehab, whether it’s for you or a loved one.
  2. Failure in detoxification is likely to engender a sense of hopelessness among both patients and staff.
  3. Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober.
  4. This method can be extremely dangerous, particularly for people who have been drinking daily or near daily for prolonged periods.
  5. During the detox process, if you begin to experience more severe symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to promoted online therapy websites. We receive advertising fees from purchases through the BetterHelp links below. Alcohol detox is the necessary first step on the road to recovery in treating alcoholism. Individuals with a strong support system and a willingness to improve tend to experience more success overall. Support groups and individual counseling via psychiatry can provide separate but similar benefits to help you or your loved one continue their overall healing.

Medically Supervised Inpatient Detox

A number of questions remain unanswered concerning how to determine when a particular setting will be advantageous for a patient. For example, the greater freedom provided patients in outpatient detoxification may have positive as well as negative consequences. More research is needed before treatment professionals will be able to discriminate between those patients for whom such freedom would be beneficial and those for whom such freedom would be detrimental. Some of these medications are designed to lessen the alcohol withdrawal symptoms, while others are meant to help you resist the urge to relapse and return to drinking. However, it is best to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional about the risks involved with your individual situation.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Treatment outcome may have more to do with patient characteristics than with detoxification settings.

By the time you’ve completed your first week of detox, many of the withdrawal symptoms will begin to taper off. While some symptoms may persist for a few weeks, most of them are minor and can be treated with medication. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism and are looking for treatment options, contact a treatment provider today. As mentioned above, more acute withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. It is important that people seek help if they suspect that they are becoming dependent on alcohol.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Most outpatients experience greater social support than inpatients, with the exception of outpatients in especially adverse family circumstances or job situations. Outpatients can continue to function relatively normally and maintain employment as well as family and social relationships. Compared with inpatients, those patients in outpatient treatment retain greater freedom, continue to work and maintain day-to-day activities with fewer disruptions, and incur fewer treatment costs. Medications often are provided to help reduce a patient’s withdrawal symptoms.