Alcohol Detox Programs


When a person who is alcohol dependent suddenly stops drinking alcohol, he or she usually suffers from alcohol withdrawal symptoms (also called alcohol withdrawals).

When alcoholics reaches this point, they need professional treatment in an alcohol detox program so they can be treated for their alcohol detox symptoms.

Such programs manage the alcohol detox symptoms and the alcohol withdrawal symptoms in a safe manner so that the body can get rid of the alcohol that has been consumed and so that the person can as safely and as painlessly get through his or her alcohol withdrawals.

It needs to be pointed out, however, that alcohol detox is a necessary but not the only step in the alcohol treatment process.


The First Step in Alcohol Treatment: Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox programs are widely available, traditional forms of alcoholism treatment that are typically undertaken under the supervision of a medical doctor, and are frequently employed as the first step in an alcoholic treatment program.

Due primarily to the relatively long time-frame required for the completion of the alcohol detox process, these therapies are usually part of an inpatient alcohol rehab treatment program.

Alcohol Detox Programs and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Recent research findings have pointed to the importance of treating every individual who is suffering from alcohol withdrawals.

This also applies to the roughly 95% of the alcoholics people who experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly quit drinking.

Fortunately, the vast majority of these individuals will be able to be treated on an out-patient basis by a healthcare professional.

Unlike the majority of people who experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, however, the remaining 5% of the individuals who suffer from withdrawal symptoms experience symptoms so severe that they need to be treated in an alcohol rehab facility that specializes in alcohol detoxification or in a hospital.

This essentially means that there is a sizeable group of Americans who will experience potentially fatal alcohol withdrawal symptoms if they don't receive prompt medical attention.

Non-Drug Alcohol Detox Programs

Numerous non-drug treatments are available for treating alcohol withdrawals and alcohol detox symptoms.

Indeed, according to current scientific research, it has been shown that the safest way to treat mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms is without medications.

Non-drug alcohol detox programs like these typically employ extensive social support and screening throughout the entire withdrawal process.

Other non-drug alcohol detox programs, furthermore, use proper nutrition and vitamin therapy (especially thiamin) when treating mild withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Detox Programs Using Medications

Many researchers and doctors state that chronic alcoholics who cannot sustain their sobriety or those who suffer from excessive alcohol withdrawals need to receive drug therapy to manage their withdrawal symptoms.

It is important to emphasise, moreover, that by using drugs, alcoholics are less likely to experience possible brain damage and/or seizures while undergoing the alcohol withdrawal process.

According to recent findings in the research literature, the drugs with the highest probability of producing effective results when treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms are the benzodiazepines.

Examples include the shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Serax and the longer-acting benzodiazepines such as Valium and Librium.

Historically, when doctors have used benzodiazepines, they have used a progressive decrease in dosage over the time-frame of the total withdrawal process.

Furthermore, due to the fact that the shorter-acting benzodiazepines allow for measurable dose reductions and also the fact that they do not linger in the person's body for an excessive period of time, many researchers and practitioners have recommended that intermediate to short half-life benzodiazepines should be used for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

After the individual has successfully overcome his or her withdrawal symptoms, additionally, other doctor-prescribed drugs such as naltrexone (ReViaT) or disulfiram (Antabuse) can be used to help prevent the person from returning to drinking after he or she has consumed alcohol due to a relapse.

For example, since the drug Antabuse triggers vomiting, flushing, nausea, and dizziness if alcohol is ingested, it has proven to be a strong deterrent to drinking even with alcoholics.

Conversely, Naltrexone (ReViaT) is employed in an entirely different way in that it zeros in on the brain's reward circuits and reduces the craving the alcoholic has for alcohol.

Alcohol Detox Programs: Inpatient versus Outpatient Status

Recent research findings have revealed that inpatient alcohol withdrawal treatment is more effective and longer-lasting than outpatient treatment. As a consequence, the more severe the alcohol-related withdrawal symptoms, the more likely that inpatient treatment programs should be considered.

Conclusion: Alcohol Detox Programs

Although 95% of the alcoholics who quit drinking alcohol experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, every individual who will go through alcohol withdrawals needs a professional alcohol detox program AND a professional alcohol withdrawal program as part of their alcohol treatment.

The crucial lesson to be learned about alcohol detox symptoms and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, therefore is this: when experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your doctor or healthcare practitioner immediately so that he or she can evaluate the seriousness of your withdrawal symptoms and recommend the most effective alcohol detox program for your particular circumstance.


Remember, detoxing from alcohol is only one step in the alcohol treatment process.

If you want to become sober and live an alcohol-free lifestyle, however, you should consider getting professional alcohol treatment.