Alcohol is the most popular addictive substance in the world because it’s affordable. Some people can control how much they drink, whereas others have risk factors that prevent them from drinking in moderation. A person who relies on alcohol to function may have an addiction.
Some people with alcohol addiction are high-functioning, meaning they’re able to keep track of their daily responsibilities and maintain a steady job. However, most individuals with this disorder experience negative consequences because alcohol can serve as a depressant.
Alcohol triggers the brain’s pleasure and reward center, and a person may drink every day to experience the rewarding effects. When a person becomes addicted, their brain is chemically rewired to depend on alcohol. Some people are more likely to become addicted because their brains are more vulnerable due to mental health disorders, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. An alcohol addiction that exists alongside a mental health disorder is known as a co-occurring disorder.
Alcohol addiction is treatable, and a person can turn to a medically-assisted alcohol detox program to receive support.
Medically assisted alcohol detox programs can provide an individual with medical and emotional support during the detoxification process. These programs are generally staffed by medical personnel and clinicians who are devoted to guiding individuals through detox and helping them transition into the recovery phase.
Patients have access to 24-hour medical support and daily nutritional support. Moreover, these programs provide reassurance and allow individuals to detoxify their bodies in a way that is right for them. Only a treatment center’s staff can administer medication to patients, and they monitor the patient afterward. The use of medication can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms or aid in the tapering process.
Furthermore, these programs can help a patient improve their physical health on a grander scale by helping them with nutritional deficiencies and dietary needs.
Medical detox follows a three-step process: evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for future treatment.
Evaluation: This step typically includes a questionnaire, physical exam, blood tests, and screening for co-occurring mental health disorders. A therapist will examine a person’s psychological state and the strength of their support system.
Stabilization: Patients typically discontinue all drug use when they reach this stage. A health professional will provide them with medication to ease their withdrawal symptoms. Stabilization usually lasts between one and three weeks.
Preparation: A patient can expect additional treatment once they complete detox. The most uncomfortable side effects of recovery typically occur during detox, but detox alone can’t prepare patients for the psychological challenges they may face in the future. A health professional will educate patients on the importance of continuing therapy, entering a 12-step program, or enrolling in another type of treatment center to help them stay sober.
Treatment Can Help
It’s important to note that detox programs are not the same as an inpatient treatment center, and they’re only the first step to formal treatment. A quality rehab center can provide both medically assisted detox programs and inpatient treatment programs with a seamless transition from one to the other. Ultimately, staying at an inpatient treatment center can help a person manage their co-occurring conditions so that they can reclaim their life.