Alcohol detoxification is something that every alcoholic must undergo in order to free himself from alcohol addiction. It sounds rather ominous, conjuring up nightmarish visions of “The Lost Weekend” sort of cold turkey withdrawal. But undergoing “detox” at a qualified alcohol recovery center avoids all that unpleasantness and helps a recovering alcoholic through this first critical step on the road to recovery.
Put simply, alcohol is addictive, and over time, the body builds up a chemical dependency which manifests in intense cravings for a drink. The cravings can be triggered by any number of things, including stress, the smell of alcohol, or a hundred other things. Alcohol detoxification begins by removing all lingering traces of booze from the alcoholic’s body, flushing out all the toxins and residue, and dealing with any physical conditions brought on by short- or long-term alcohol abuse.
Sudden removal of alcohol from the addict’s daily intake can trigger unpleasant physical reactions ranging from the shakes to severe depression, insomnia, and even hallucinations. Fear of the “DTs” keeps many alcoholics from seeking treatment, believing that this nasty phase of detox is unavoidable. This is untrue. Alcohol detoxification, properly managed by professionals in an alcohol treatment center, overcomes the body’s determined fight to force the alcoholic to take a drink by gradually weaning the patient off the alcohol. This usually means substituting certain types of drugs such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates, through the several days of the detox process. This is best managed via inpatient care at an alcohol detoxification center to avoid abuse of the drugs as well as to recognize and quickly treat any ailments that may have been masked by the alcohol abuse.
While not every person who seeks help for alcoholism will need detox, a significant majority do, and no severely addicted person can hope to recover without first ridding himself of the physical traces of alcohol. Along with that cleansing must come counseling to help the addict understand why he or she turned to alcohol in the first place, and to deal with the lingering shame and guilt of having let it take over her life. Such counseling goes hand-in-hand with the alcohol detox process itself, and if you are evaluating alcohol recovery and treatment centers for yourself or a loved one, make sure it offers a comprehensive program, not just detox alone.
For any alcoholic, undergoing detox in a qualified treatment center is a far better option than simply throwing away all the bottles and attempting to stoically endure the aftermath alone. Many alcoholics suffer from other physical or emotional problems which may surface after the mask of alcohol is removed. If detoxification is attempted without the help of an alcohol detox center, these problems could become serious or even life-threatening.
Alcohol detoxification should be undertaken with care and forethought. Mismanaged or poorly supervised, it could do great harm to the patient and result in problems equal to or even greater than the original substance abuse. Properly managed, it is the start of recovery.