More than 2% of the people in the U.S. struggle with heavy alcohol use. Making the decision to get help for excessive alcohol use is not easy, but if you want to take back control of your life from alcohol use, detox may be necessary. Here is some important information on alcohol detox as you consider which method is right for you.
Detoxification is the process of eliminating the toxic chemicals that have collected in your body from your alcohol use and make withdrawal as safe and easy as possible. Since some individuals who use alcohol also have some drug use, detox will also eliminate those toxins as well. In many cases, there may be some withdrawal symptoms during the detox process. Those symptoms may include agitation and irritation, headache, sweating and chills, nausea and vomiting and seizures. In some severe cases, individuals have been known to suffer delirium tremens, or the DTs as they are often referred which are periods of confusion and hallucinations.
There are several different methods of alcohol detox: outpatient, inpatient, medical and nonmedical. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation therapy and vitamin therapy are all seen as nonmedical detoxes. These methods may be carried out in an outpatient or inpatient setting but can be dangerous without proper medical care.
Outpatient medical detox is a self reporting method in which the individual attends a clinic or visits a doctor's office and is prescribed medication, usually methadone or suboxone. Suboxone and methadone are controlled substances and are opiate narcotics. Opiates belong to a family of drugs such as heroin, morphine, oxycontin and vicodin. These drugs affect the opioid receptors in the brain that stimulate feelings of pain and pleasure.
Outpatient medical detox from a Methadone clinic or getting a prescription for suboxone from a physician is using a harsher replacement drug for your other drug use. While your withdrawal symptoms from quitting opiates will be masked, when you stop taking methadone or suboxone, you may experience withdrawal symptoms from them that are more severe than the drug withdrawal you were originally attempting to quit. This method of drug detox is considered by many as not very practical or effective.
Inpatient hospital medical detox for alcohol use has been viewed by physicians as cold and sometimes ineffective. Hospitals place their detox patients in the same unit as psychiatric patients, or on lockdown status or in isolation. It is not uncommon for them to use oral medication that does not completely mask the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol detox and patients are left to suffer through the symptoms. Additionally, patients are not permitted any outside personal items, nor are they allowed to communicate with the outside world, which only further exacerbates their feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Most physicians agree that the best method for alcohol detox is IV therapy medical detox. IV therapy is supervised by a licensed, board certified physician with experience in critical care. Patient care is given around the clock by registered nurses that are highly trained in ER/ICU care. Intravenous therapy is crucial to the detox as it allows the medication to be changed to meet the needs of the patient, keeping them comfortable and allowing them to complete the detox process.
After the detox is complete, some individuals find it necessary to enter a program that can help them be successful in their new life. St. Jude Retreats offers an educational cognitive behavioral program that teaches guests to use self assessment and self change to make choices that are productive and to form habits and behaviors that are constructive rather than counter productive. Our guests discover that they have the strength to take back control of their own lives.
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