If you are experiencing an alcohol use disorder and want it to stop, the decision to use a medical detox for alcohol withdrawal is foremost in your thoughts. Unfortunately, detox from a substance use disorder is hazardous and lethal when attempted alone without medical supervision.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), alcoholism is the third-highest preventable cause of death in the United States. Withdrawal from alcohol without professional support is perhaps the most deadly aspect of alcoholism. Family, friends, or any support system involved in making treatment decisions to initiate detox need to be aware of all the dangers of withdrawal from alcohol. Understanding how medical detox is performed is crucial. In addition, treatment professionals must clearly describe the path to recovery to all parties involved.

Why is Withdrawal From Alcohol So Dangerous?

Alcohol addiction has a devastating effect on the brain and the body. Major organs such as the liver and heart are drastically affected by alcohol misuse. In addition, the body and mind are dependent on alcohol to function. Cutting the supply of alcohol brings on complex and painful withdrawal symptoms, which is why medical detox for alcohol is advisable. 

Fear of withdrawal symptoms is often the primary factor in the inability to stop drinking. Those who have not been able to get a drink in time begin to experience the symptoms within hours of their last drink. Anxiety and intense fear can cause relapse without a medical detox program. Self-detox is never recommended for those addicted to alcohol. 

What is Medical Detox?

When deciding to get help and accept treatment, medical detox for alcohol dependence is the best place to start treatment. The detoxification process is individually designed and supervised by medical and mental health professionals after an assessment and medical exam. All professionals involved in the detox process are addiction specialists. 

They monitor the detoxing patient throughout the process and manage the severe withdrawal symptoms when possible. 

The goal of detox is to rid the mind and body of the harmful substance. Although detox is the initial stage of sobriety, additional symptoms will follow as sobriety is achieved. Medication-assisted detox can sometimes involve using medications to reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. For example, medical detox for alcohol addiction commonly used benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, or barbiturates under a physician’s direction. Physicians prescribe these medications on a short-term basis only. 

Medical personnel closely monitor heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital processes throughout detox. Watching constantly for seizures, and extreme discomfort, the treatment team explains the symptoms and treatment goals to the substance user throughout detox. The length of the medical detox program varies depending upon the addiction period and the amount of alcohol regularly consumed. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Medical detox for alcohol monitors the withdrawal symptoms from the start of detox throughout. The symptoms vary in severity for each individual as every person’s physical health is different, as the length of addiction and the type of alcohol ingested. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours after the last drink. However, the average time for the onset of symptoms is six to twelve hours. 

The alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally can continue for ten days to two weeks. Peak and the most intense symptoms occur within two to seven days. However, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can persist for months. Quitting alcohol can induce many withdrawal symptoms occurring relentlessly and often cause relapse when attempted without help. 

Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include any of the following issues:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shakiness and sweating
  • Severe headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Racing heartbeat and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue, anxiety, and depression
  • Extreme mood swings and irritability
  • Clammy skin

The most severe and intense withdrawal symptoms in medical detox from alcohol include any of the following:

  • Body tremors and seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever 
  • Delirium and Confusion
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations
  • Disorientation

Cold Turkey Detox at Home – Alone or Assisted?

Detoxing from alcohol addiction is a medically dangerous process for the mind and body. Attempting to detox at home, cold turkey, without the help of medical professionals, can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, a chance of overdose, and even death. Home treatment teams can sometimes perform medical detox for alcohol at home, but an addict should never attempt it alone. Likewise, it is not wise to try this life-threatening transition alone, cold turkey. 

Other benefits of medical detox performed at a substance abuse treatment center include the following:

  • Constant support from peers, clinicians, and experienced substance abuse counselors
  • Medication-assisted detox for help with withdrawal symptoms
  • No access to alcohol or drugs at the facility helps to avoid relapse
  • Constant medical supervision

Questions to Ask When Considering Medical Detox

After consulting your healthcare provider about the alcohol addiction and desire to detox, you need to collect some questions to determine what medical detox program you will use. Medical detox is crucial, so understanding all aspects by inquiring about your concerns on paper is helpful. In addition, it is essential to contact your insurance company to see what will be covered for treatment options. 

After choosing a few licensed or accredited facilities, depending upon state requirements, contact an intake professional with your questions. It would be best if you asked the following questions before committing to a center:

  • What type of addictions is your center experienced with handling?
  • How long and what are the details and requirements for your detox program?
  • Does the treatment facility offer medication-assisted detox?
  • Is inpatient treatment an option directly from detox?
  • Does the treatment center have the ability to treat mental health disorders?

Do You Need Medical Detox for Alcohol in West Tennessee?

The transition to sobriety can be confusing and challenging to set into motion. If you are searching for the right treatment center for medical detox for alcohol, contact Detox West in Tennessee in Memphis. We can answer your questions and set the process in motion quickly. It is crucial to initiate treatment as soon as the sobriety decision has been committed. Contact us today and set the process in action.