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Alcohol Detox

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Alcohol detox is simply a short way of saying alcohol detoxification. Detoxification is the process by which the body rids itself of all effects of alcohol consumption. No matter how one refers to it, alcohol detox is unpleasant, but it is necessary before any further alcohol rehab can take place.

Actually, to say that alcohol detox is unpleasant is an understatement. Detoxification can pose a serious health risk, especially if the person going through it is already in poor physical condition. For this reason, some alcohol treatment centers will not accept patients until they have completely passed through alcohol detox.

If this is the case, those who work at alcohol treatment centers may need to know the signs of alcohol withdrawal, which is basically the same as alcohol detox, because the body is reacting to the fact that no alcohol is being consumed. These can include a fever that registers at least 100.9 or higher on a thermometer, blood pressure that is over higher than 160/110 (that in itself is a health hazard) rapid pulse (over 110 beats per minute), nausea and vomiting, muscle tremors, and extreme sweating. Even if a person is trying to conceal the fact, any of these can be a warning that the person is either entering or well into detoxification, and other arrangements can be made.

If it is noticed that a patient is attempting to receive addiction treatment either before or while going through alcohol detox, he should not be encouraged to "tough it out"; rather, immediate medical attention should be given. Once the patient's condition has stabilized, then if necessary he can be moved another location if he is at one of the alcohol treatment centers not designed to handle alcohol detox.

Certain medications may help make alcohol detox easier. These can include such sedatives as Librium, Klonopin, or a similar medication. Some drugs work better than others, so it may take a few tries to find one that works in a specific patient. There are also some non-medical treatments which may help during the detox stage, such as massage; but care should be taken not to rely only on them. It might be possible for someone to go through detoxification with non-medical treatments, but medication and other actions by health care professionals should still be made available.

If alcohol treatment centers are equipped to handle alcohol detox, this is an asset, as the patient will be there for the majority of the time that detoxification is taking place. Staff members will be able to notice quicker the absence of or improvement in signs that may be a signal that the detoxification is nearing completion and alcohol rehab can begin.

The important to remember is that alcohol detox is necessary before starting addiction treatment, but it can pose a threat to one's health or even one's life. Diligent care and support should be given during detoxification, and alcohol rehab should be postponed until one is capable of participating fully in the program.

REFERENCES:
http://www.bu.edu/aodhealth/issues/issue_july09/rastegar_kampman.html
http://www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/pharmacy/PTNews/2001/0102PTNews.html
http://asp.cumc.columbia.edu/psych/asktheexperts/ask_the_experts_inquiry.asp?SI=322
http://www.bu.edu/aodhealth/issues/issue_sept05/conigliaro_reader.htm

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