- Article SummaryPrint
- The Detoxification Process
- Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Long-Term Detoxification
- Questions for Treatment Specialists
- The Intake Process
Alcohol addiction affects individual of all ages, and there are many people suffering from addiction who choose to enter a rehabilitation program due to a strong desire to change their lives. Others enter alcohol addiction treatment programs due to legal obligations or because they were urged to by their loved ones. Regardless of the reason why an individual suffering from alcohol addiction decides to get help, making this decision is the first and probably the most important step in overcoming alcohol addiction.
Alcohol rehabilitation programs not only help individuals to withdraw from their physical addiction to alcohol; these treatment facilities also help sufferers to address the underlying causes of their alcohol abuse. Addressing these issues often requires sufferers to undergo some form of psychological counseling together with their physical treatment.
At an inpatient facility, psychological help is generally administered to patients on an ongoing basis. However, at the start of an individual's treatment program, he or she may be more focused on getting past the alcohol withdrawal process. Alcohol withdrawal treatment is the process of helping individuals to reduce the amount of alcohol present in their bodies while helping them to manage the symptoms that they experience once they suddenly stop drinking.
The Detoxification Process
Have you ever wondered what the detoxification process entails? Well, the detoxification process is a very important step that people receiving alcohol addiction treatment must undergo. It involves removing alcohol from the body in order to end a person's dependence on it. When people are addicted to alcohol, they have intense cravings for the drug; often, these cravings are uncontrollable. The body's systems become so dependent on alcohol that many sufferers believe they need alcohol in order to function. This dependence is both physical and psychological, which is why a person who is addicted has such intense cravings.
Detoxifying from alcohol is primarily about getting rid of the alcohol effectively so that the body's systems and the brain can start functioning normally. Because alcohol affects everyone differently, each person who is undergoing alcohol treatment will have different withdrawal symptoms. Some detoxification symptoms last just a few hours, while others can last for a few days or more.
Because withdrawing from alcohol will bring about a great deal of physical and emotional changes within a very short time period, it is vital that individuals dealing with this process do so under the care and guidance of a trained professional. Health practitioners who specialize in alcohol addiction treatment know how to help their patients ease their withdrawal symptoms as they occur. They also know how to keep patients as comfortable as possible throughout the entire withdrawal process.
Sometimes keeping a patient comfortable requires practitioners to administer certain medications in order to ease the withdrawal symptoms. These medications can either be injected or administered orally. Painkillers are frequently administered to individuals withdrawing from alcohol. Pain relievers can be very helpful to patients who experience severe headaches or joint and muscle stiffness, which are common during the detoxification process.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
"The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal generally start to appear within five to 24 hours..."
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal generally start to appear within five to 24 hours after the patient consumes his or her last drink. Those who are chronic drinkers generally have high blood alcohol levels when they start the detoxification process. As alcohol concentrations in the blood begin to diminish, the withdrawal symptoms begin to occur.
Initially, individuals withdrawing from alcohol may begin to feel restless, irritable, and agitated. They often become argumentative, which may cause them to snap at those trying to help them, including their caregivers and treatment specialists. However, the alcohol addiction treatment professionals who are overseeing the withdrawal process know that agitation and irritation are normal, and they generally will not be offended.
As the withdrawal process continues, patients may experience nausea, sensitivity to sound, and impaired judgment. During this phase, it is not uncommon for individuals to get around-the-clock treatment from a variety of treatment specialists. When a patient's detoxification and withdrawal symptoms are very intense, the patient's temperature may become elevated, and he or she may begin to hallucinate. The practitioner overseeing the withdrawal process is the one who decides whether or not medication is needed to help ease the patient's detoxification symptoms. These symptoms may progress from mild to severe, or they can be either mild or severe throughout the treatment process.
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Most people suffering with alcohol addiction require a long-term detoxification process, which is also referred to as a medical detox. Medical detox works best in an inpatient setting, as it can be quite risky for individuals who are severely addicted to alcohol to undergo the detoxification process on an outpatient basis. Seeking medical advice before undergoing alcohol addiction treatment is vitally important, particularly for individuals who are entering treatment programs for the first time. During your consultation, counselors and specialists will tell you exactly what you can expect during treatment.
Questions for Treatment Specialists
Before enrolling in an alcohol detox facility, there are some very important questions that you should ask the treatment provider. It is also a good idea to interview providers at multiple facilities and choose the place that you think would be the best fit for you. Here are some questions that you and your loved ones should ask alcohol treatment providers before enrolling.
If you have specific questions that are not addressed below or if you simply need support or encouragement to deal with your addiction, feel free to call our free helpline at 1-888-287-0471 or fill out the contact form on this page.
What type of license or accreditation does your facility have?
Drug and alcohol treatment facilities should hold a national accreditation, and they should also be fully licensed by the state in which they operate. The Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities Commission provides a national accreditation to all qualified treatment programs in the United States.
What are the credentials of those who will be administering my treatment?
Each alcohol addiction treatment practitioner should be licensed and certified to work with individuals who are recovering from any form of drug addiction. Alcohol addiction counselors, nurses, therapists, physicians and nutritionists should have the proper credentials. Be sure to ask treatment coordinators about the qualifications of their staff members.
Do you have any statistics on the effectiveness of your treatment methods?
Although treatment facilities cannot monitor individuals around the clock once they are released from their alcohol treatment programs, they should have an idea of how effective their treatment methods have been throughout their years in operation. Ask for statistics, testimonials, and anonymous case study information on current and former patients.
Do you provide ongoing support once a patient is discharged?
Many patients need ongoing support in order to deal with the underlying causes of their alcohol abuse. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers are aware of this, and many of them offer individual counseling, group counseling, and basic medical support to patients who were recently discharged. Ask about the services that you will be eligible for after being discharged from the treatment program.
Do you accept medical or supplemental insurance?
One of the biggest obstacles that those who need drug treatment face is determining how to pay for their treatment program. Many are surprised to know that the majority of drug and alcohol detox programs accept insurance. If you have limited cash and some form of medical insurance, ask your treatment program coordinator if you can use your insurance policy to help pay for some or all of your treatment costs.
Will my family members be able to attend counseling sessions, meetings, and doctor appointments?
Many patients desperately need the support of their family members and friends. This is a critical part of the healing process, and the majority of treatment centers understand how important it is for patients to have the support of their loved ones. If it is vitally important to you to have your family members and close friends present during your treatment and counseling sessions, be sure to ask your treatment specialist if this is allowed before you enroll.
Are my files kept confidential?
Your treatment specialists, medical practitioners, and counselors will gather a great deal of information about you throughout your treatment process. Ask about the methods that the treatment facility uses to ensure that your files and personal information are kept secure.
What can I expect from your alcohol treatment center?
You and your loved ones should have a good idea of what to expect from an alcohol addiction treatment center before enrolling. You should know not only what your treatment will entail, but also about the medical procedures that you will have to undergo. Ask about the various amenities available that will help to make your stay more pleasant.
What if I need additional treatment?
Patients who are serious about conquering their alcohol addiction may decide to extend their stay. The patient may not be ready to confront their old friends or return to their old neighborhood. Some patients may need to extend their stay for medical reasons. It is important to know whether or not you have the option to stay at the treatment facility for longer than scheduled if you are not physically or emotionally ready to leave.
Do you offer individualized treatment programs?
Most treatment specialists agree that offering individualized treatment programs that cater to the specific needs of each patient yields greater success when it comes to overcoming addictions. Ask about whether or not the facility you plan to enroll in will offer treatments that cater to your specific needs.
The Intake Process
While it is extremely important for you to ask as many questions as possible before choosing a treatment center, it is equally as important for the treatment facility to get as much information from you as possible. This information is typically gathered during the intake process, which is the process of admitting you into the alcohol addiction treatment program.
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Many of the questions that practitioners ask during the intake process are quite personal, but these questions are not designed to be offensive. Intake professionals need certain pieces of information in order to help them determine how to proceed with your alcohol addiction treatment. They must know how much alcohol you consume on a daily basis, how long you have been addicted to alcohol, how alcohol has affected your personal and social life, and how you feel about receiving treatment.
The intake process also helps treatment specialists determine whether or not the facility is right for you. During your intake interview, the specialist may determine that their facility is not fully equipped with the proper staff or tools to help you. When this happens, specialists generally refer patients to facilities that are more equipped to meet their individual needs.
Treatment facilitators also need to know your current state of health before proceeding with treatment. Alcohol withdrawal and detoxification treatments are medical processes, so it is important for medical practitioners to know your current state of health before moving forward in order to make the process as safe as possible for you.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology, most patients are able to effectively detoxify from alcohol within seven days. However, the average stay for individuals who enroll in treatment facilities is three months. Treatment specialists know that helping patients to detoxify from alcohol is not sufficient. In fact, many individuals undergo psychological treatment for alcohol addiction for many years after completing their detox program. Receiving help for alcohol abuse is an ongoing process, and there are a wide variety of resources available for those who are serious about getting help.