How do You Know if You Need Alcoholism Detox?

How do You Know if You Need Alcoholism Detox?

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How do you know if you need alcoholism detox?  Some people can stop drinking on their own and do not seem to have any problems, while others will get the shakes very violently and seem to need medical attention.  So where do you draw the line, and how do you know when a person needs alcohol detox?

There are a number of factors to consider and you should start by looking at the quantities that the alcoholic has been drinking lately.  Do they drink a six pack each day, or is it significantly more than this?  If they are consuming large quantities of liquor, beer, or wine, then their need for alcoholic detox is probably much greater. What exactly constitutes large quantities of booze?  This will vary a bit depending on weight, but generally anything over a pint of liquor each day or a 12 pack of beer is going to be cause for concern.  Someone drinking a fifth of liquor each day is going to be in for a rough detox.  The same is probably true of anyone drinking over a 12 of beer.  It all sort of depends.  The main concern is a high volume of daily alcohol intake.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: M.M.Meeks

Now another factor to consider is how long the person has been drinking for. If they just started drinking a week ago and have never had a drop other than that their whole life, then this is not too alarming.  On the other hand, if someone has been drinking every single day for several years, then you know that their body is going to go through a more serious detox from the alcohol.

Here is another huge factor that many people don’t realize: if a person has been taking Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, Librium, Klonipin, or Ativan, then this will make a huge difference in terms of their detox. In fact, if they have been taking any of those medications with alcohol then their withdrawal will be very intense and very dangerous.  In such a case make sure you get the alcoholic in question some medical attention before they start to detox.  This is a life threatening combination of drugs to detox from so make sure you take it seriously.

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The main symptom to watch for is convulsions.  If the hands start to shake then you know they should be under medical care at that point.  If they start to shake a lot, don’t hesitate.  Take them straight to an emergency room.  It is a life threatening condition and they are likely to have a seizure without medical treatment.

If you have been drinking a six pack or less per day then you might be able to get away without a medically supervised detox, but you probably should not risk it.  Watch what happens when you go without alcohol for a day or two and see if any symptoms occur.  If you have noticeable symptoms then you should probably seek medical treatment.  Without any symptoms at all, you might just as well hit an AA meeting right off the bat and see if you can start learning a new way to live.

When in doubt, seek professional help.  The risks of not doing so are great.  The rewards of sobriety are well worth it.  Seek treatment!

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