Alcohol detoxification is the sudden termination of alcohol consumption in people who are suffering from alcohol addiction. This procedure is usually coupled with the replacement of certain medications so as to avoid alcohol withdrawal so as to avoid symptoms of withdrawal such as shaking, sweating and anxiety. This kind of treatment can only be executed under the supervision of a physician and it is done under careful observation of medical experts in the field. There are several alcohol detoxification programs available on the Internet and in certain magazines to aid alcoholics in their endeavor. The most common of these programs is the one that involves abstaining from alcohol consumption for a specific period of time.
There are several medications that are used for alcohol detoxification in the treatment sessions. The most common medications used are alpha-blockers like Lorazepam, Klonopin, Ativan, Ramelteon and Restoril. A lesser known medication that can also be used in the treatment process is Propranolol, which is a beta-blocking agent. Other methods of alcohol detoxification include the replacement of certain medications with low doses of Lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin and other antidepressants and the substitution of certain herbal remedies for the purpose of reducing the effect of withdrawal by using a controlled daily dosage of lorazepam, Ativan and other antidepressants. The duration of the controlled tapering dose of the herbal remedies may vary from six hours to three weeks.
Some medical conditions may complicate the process of alcohol detoxification. Some of them are; anorexia, bulimia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, kidney failure and alcohol abuse. When patients with severe illness are subjected to alcohol detoxification, they are at risk of developing complications during the course of the treatment. Patients that are pregnant are especially in danger of developing complications during the process of outpatient alcohol detoxification or inpatient treatment. Pregnant women that undergo outpatient alcohol detoxification are advised to see their doctors regularly to monitor their progress and to ensure that the pregnancy does not pose any additional risks to the baby.
Most people undergoing outpatient alcohol detoxification or inpatient treatment choose to use either fixed tapering dose regimens or symptom triggered regimens. Fixed tapering dose regimens involve the use of either a short-acting benzodiazepine such as Valium, Xanax or Ativan; or a long-acting tranquilizer, such as Xanax or Lunesta. If the patient is prescribed a long-acting benzodiazepine, such as Valium, Xanax or Lunesta, it is important that he or she also receive counseling in order to reduce the possibility of relapse. Patients that choose symptom triggered regimens are normally given either lorazepam, alcohol detox and progressive sedation drugs, such as Demerol, Librium or Carafate, which have the ability to cause side effects similar to those of benzodiazepines. Unfortunately, it is often necessary to use more than one drug in order to fully relieve symptoms.
If you are suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms, many physicians will recommend hospital admission or IV fluids for a period of time. Some patients may be given medication during alcohol detoxification in the hope that it will help to alleviate severe withdrawal symptoms. However, there is no evidence that medications used in this manner to work better than placebo medications in the overall treatment of severe withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, many of these patients do not survive the withdrawal process.
Symptoms such as delirium tremens and seizures are extremely serious and should never be ignored. This is especially true if you are attempting to stop drinking by using alcohol detoxification methods alone. When delirium tremens strikes, you are at risk for seizures. By seeking medical care, you can prevent the development of a condition that could result in severe alcohol withdrawal seizure complications.