While they might sound alike, alcohol detox and alcohol rehab are not necessarily the same thing. Alcohol rehab is essentially a lifestyle change and people who want to get rid of alcohol addiction permanently undergo a full-fledged alcohol rehab plan. However, alcohol detox can be undertaken even by responsible drinkers to rid their body of the minutest traces of alcohol. Detox is a part of the rehab process and not the process itself.
So, that brings us to the question: can detox itself cure alcohol addiction? The answer is No. However, detox is elementary for those seeking rehab. Alcohol detox can take up to one week to accomplish in severe addicts. At a broad level, detox can self-administered or administered under supervision.
Self-detox, as the name suggests, is the process of going through alcohol detox without supervision. While this may not be a great idea for addicts who cannot handle the withdrawal symptoms, self-detox has its share of positives. For starters, it doesn’t cost much to administer self-detox. You would save on medical bills, accommodation charges levied by rehab centers and medication charges.
Secondly, self-detox can also save embarrassment and social stigma associated with being identified as an addict.
A word of caution: sudden withdrawal can have acute symptoms for people who are used to drinking a lot. Ensure that you are aware of all the symptoms and are prepared to face withdrawal symptoms like nausea, light headedness, depression, insomnia and restlessness. If you are a small-time drinker, chances are that you would not face too many problems with the symptoms. Moreover, the symptoms usually subside by the third day of complete withdrawal and things get better after that.
For those of you who are heavy drinkers and moderately addicted to alcohol, sudden withdrawal might be too much to handle. Even if you are aware of the exact fallouts of sudden withdrawal, I would suggest that you seek medical attention if your alcoholism has been acute.
Most people I come across are not sure about the exact severity of their alcoholism. There are certain ways in which you can assess yourself. First up, you can try withdrawing- if it is unbearable, chances are that you are severely addicted. You should then seek medical attention and get professional assessment for your condition.
Rehab professionals map you into a severity “group” based on the results of assessment tests and then put together a detox plan based on your specific needs. While administered detox may be more expensive than self—rehab, it is definitely a safer bet if you have been addicted for too long.
As you would have figured out by now, alcohol detox by itself is not a cure for alcoholism, but a successful detox give you the much needed motivation to stick with a set rehab program.