Should you Seek Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Should you Seek Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal?


Are you in need of treatment for alcohol withdrawal, and not sure what to do?  Well there are a couple of options for you.

One, if you are actually detoxing already from alcohol and are starting to shake, then you should probably go directly to an emergency room. Alcohol withdrawal is a life threatening condition and you could have a seizure or even die without the proper medical care.  Now if you take a drink at this point it will probably stop the shakes, but of course then you are right back where you started and have not really made any progress in quitting.  If you have made a firm decision to change your life and stop for good, then it is best to get help at this point instead of reaching for the bottle again.

Two, if you have not yet stopped drinking, then the best treatment for alcohol detox is to go to a treatment center. There they can give you the proper medication to get you through alcohol withdrawal safely.  Without this type of medical treatment, you run serious health risks by quitting cold turkey (or even if  you try to cut yourself down manually).

Gin & tonic
Creative Commons License photo credit: cyclonebill

The basic idea behind treating alcohol withdrawal is to keep the person stable by medicating any tendency towards convulsions.  This can be done with a variety of medications, and different doctors and treatment centers might have slightly different approaches.  The bottom line is that all of these medications that they might use to control the detox are prescription only, and are not available to the general public for over the counter purchase.  You need to go to rehab in order to get properly detoxed.

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Treating the withdrawal generally lasts for about 3 to 5 days, and then the person is generally stable enough to be able to go into residential treatment and start attending groups.  When a person reaches this point, they are past the acute phase of detox, but they might still be taking medication in order to get them fully detoxed and slowly weened off the medication.  Of course, post acute withdrawal symptoms can last for up to several months later, but for the most part, people will be through the intense part of withdrawal after about the fourth day.  If someone is really bad off their detox might stretch out to 5 to 7 days at the most.

Getting through alcohol withdrawal will not do a person much good if they end up relapsing.  That is why it is important to follow through with treatment and try to get the maximum benefit out of any program they might offer.  It does little good to detox if you are only going to end up relapsing a week later.

Therefore, it is important to follow up any detox with residential treatment, aa meetings, or counseling of some sort.  If you do not learn anything new about how to deal with life without self medicating, then you will just return to your same old patterns of behavior.

You have to change everything if you want a new life in recovery.


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