The physical and mental health problems associated with alcohol abuse can be intense and long lasting. Alcoholics who do not receive treatment for their condition run the risk of seriously impacting their lives, and the lives of those who are close to them. An alcohol detoxification program can provide help for alcoholics to rid themselves of the abuse and prevent future problems. Detox is the medical term used to describe any procedure which “quenches the thirst” or removes excess alcohol from the body. It should not be mistaken with detox for alcoholism.
Alcohol detox can be performed in the home under the care of a medical practitioner. In most cases, alcoholics will be administered through an intravenous line to reduce severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol detox can take up to a week or more. Depending on the severity of the withdrawal seizure, medical intervention may be required. Patients who are experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal seizures may need to be hospitalized until they are able to be treated with other methods of medication or holistic programs.
During alcohol detoxification, patients will be prescribed medications to assist them in reducing alcohol intake. Commonly prescribed drugs include Benzodiazepines and beta-blockers. Both drugs act as a benzodiazepine, which prevents the transmission of nerve impulses and disables the central nervous system. Other drugs used in alcohol detoxification include Antabuse, Methadone, and methylenedioxymethanol (Methyl Mecl).
For milder cases of alcohol detoxification, patients may be prescribed either a maintenance dose of a benzodiazepine, or a fixed tapering dose of a non-benzodiazepine drug. Maintenance dosages are used to prevent withdrawal symptoms associated with withdrawal from benzodiazepines. Fixed tapering dose programs are used for less severe cases where patients cannot tolerate the strong doses of benzodiazepines. For patients who must be on long term maintenance dosages of benzodiazepines, a combination of long term therapy and prescription dosages can be administered.
Another class of drugs commonly used in alcohol detoxification is the beta-blockers. This class includes drugs like Azapirones, Buspar, Bupropion, Clonazepam, Klonopin, Norpramin, Oxcarbazepine, Phenergan, Propanolol, Restoril, Risperdal, Temazepam, and Venapro. These drugs work by blocking the action of acetylcholine at the benzodiazepine receptors, preventing transmission of impulses and preventing consciousness. Several different classes of beta-blockers have been designed to produce varying results. Some examples of commonly used beta-blockers are Buspar, Bezoxapro, Klonopin, Norpramin, Risperdal, Temazepam, and Venapro.
Many physicians prefer to start an alcohol detoxification treatment program with an inpatient setting. Inpatient care allows the patient to maintain his or her own personal hygiene while being under medical supervision. While inpatient care usually involves lower dosage levels of medications, some patients may require higher dosages of alcohol detoxification treatments in order to maintain the highest level of success with the treatment program. Patients can benefit from continued support after completing the alcohol detoxification program when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.