Benefits of Undergoing Withdrawal from Alcohol in a Detox Program
Withdrawal symptoms start as early as 6-24 hours after the last drink ingested. A serious interest in recovery may be thwarted as quickly as it is started because of the severe symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol that accompany the first steps to recapturing freedom from alcohol dependence.
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Symptoms of Withdrawal from Alcohol Include:
- Restlessness, irritability, anxiety, agitation
- Anorexia, nausea, vomiting
- Tremor, elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure
- Insomnia, intense dreaming, nightmares
- Poor concentration, impaired memory and judgment
- Increased sensitivity to sound, light, and tactile sensations
Alcohol detoxification is a set of interventions focused on managing acute intoxication and withdrawal. It is defined by a clearing of toxins from the body of the addict who is acutely intoxicated and/or dependent on substances of abuse. Detoxification minimizes the physical harm caused by the abuse of substances. Detoxification alone is not sufficient in the treatment and rehabilitation of substance use disorders.
Beginning the process of detoxification alone with symptoms in-tact, versus in a setting with clinicians with up-to-date information on issues commonly encountered in the delivery of detoxification services, seems like a no-brainer.
What the Substance Abuse Treatment Provides: The “Medical Model”
- Information on treatment/recovery in an accessible manner
- Physicians and nursing staff on hand
- The administration of medication to assist through withdrawal safely
- Fostering the patient’s entry into treatment
- Supporting offer of hope and the expectation of recovery.
- Controlled environment
The “Social Model”
The “social model” relies more on a self-supportive, non-hospital environment than on medication to ease the passage through withdrawal. There is no “monitoring”, support systems can suffer or fail completely, and treatment attendance is the sole responsibility of the addict.
Evaluation- entails testing for the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream, measuring concentration, and screening for co-occurring mental and physical conditions. Evaluation also includes a comprehensive assessment of the medical, psychological, and social situation of the addict.
Stabilization- includes assisting the addict through acute intoxication and withdrawal. Aiding in the attainment of a medically stable, fully supported, substance-free state.
Fostering- involves preparing an addict for entry into treatment and emphasizing the significance of following through with a complete phase of care.
A detoxification process that does not incorporate all three critical components is considered incomplete and inadequate. The criteria most often followed to determine the most appropriate level of rehabilitation is based on six dimensions:
- Acute Intoxication and/or Withdrawal Potential
- Biomedical Conditions and Complications
- Emotional, Behavioral, or Cognitive Conditions or Complications
- Willingness to Change
- Relapse, Continued Use, or Continued Problem Potential
- Recovery/Living Environment
Detoxification presents an opening to get involved during a period of crisis and to encourage an addict to make changes toward the direction of recovery. A primary goal of the detoxification should be to build a therapeutic alliance and motivate addicts to enter treatment and follow through in their quest to achieve sobriety.
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