Alcohol detox is the first stage of treatment for alcohol addiction and occurs before you receive any behavioral therapy or counseling. The length of time
What Happens After Alcohol Detox?
May 17, 2019
Alcohol withdrawal can be one of the more difficult periods of recovery. Not only are you likely to experience intense cravings for alcohol, but other dangerous symptoms, such as seizures and the severe syndrome known as delirium tremens, can occur. Fortunately, alcohol detox minimizes the severity of this experience and allows you to safely recover in a professional treatment environment.
However, you may be wondering what happens after alcohol detox? In most cases, an additional treatment program called alcohol rehab is necessary. If you are looking for alcohol detox in Florida, call 800-719-1090 anytime and speak with a qualified treatment counselor who can help you find safe, professional care for your alcohol addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), medical detoxification is the process of safely managing a person’s physical withdrawal symptoms with medication and other means as they end their dependence on drugs and/or alcohol. Alcohol detox is not, in itself, a treatment for alcohol addiction. It is, however, often the first step toward recovery.
Because alcohol withdrawal is dangerous and unpredictable, many individuals need inpatient treatment during detox. This is 24-hour care in a supervised, medical environment where patients can be safely treated for moderate to serious withdrawal symptoms. As stated by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), alcohol detox has three main goals:
- Minimizing withdrawal symptoms and stabilizing the patient.
- Preventing mild to serious complications that can be caused by the abuse of alcohol.
- Helping the patient transition into alcohol rehab.
During inpatient alcohol detox, the patient will be monitored 24/7 for signs of serious withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or delirium tremens. In addition, they will be placed on an intravenous (IV) drip and given fluids as well as medication, such as benzodiazepines. This type of medication can be incredibly beneficial in minimizing the severity of symptoms; however, it should be utilized only in a controlled, medical environment.
Of course, not all programs that offer alcohol detox in Florida are inpatient-based. Some patients who have fewer risk factors can undergo treatment in an outpatient setting. In general, though, the unpredictable nature of alcohol withdrawal causes most individuals to require inpatient care. Also, when a person is in inpatient treatment for alcohol withdrawal, they are removed from the environment where they could conceivably return to drinking, which can be safer, especially during the vulnerable detox period, as stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Patients are not encouraged to leave whenever they feel they should. Instead, they are given consistent consultations with their doctors and therapists who can help them determine whether they have completed detox and are stable enough to continue to the next phase of treatment. Every patient is different, so it’s difficult to say how long it will take you or your loved one to complete the process. Just remember that it is most effective when ample recovery time is observed.
After alcohol detox, patients almost always need alcohol rehab treatment. This is because detox itself is not the same as treatment for addiction, and one who only goes through detox will be more likely to return to alcohol abuse in the future. Just because you are no longer dependent on alcohol doesn’t mean your addiction to it is gone.
Therefore, certain steps are still required in order for you to recover safely. However, most people who go through alcohol withdrawal and addiction treatment in a professional facility make a complete recovery, as explained by the NLM.
Alcohol rehab is the next step in the recovery process. Someone who has become dependent on alcohol has to have been drinking often enough and in dangerous patterns to become addicted. Alcohol rehab involves many of the same treatment options as drug rehab, according to NIDA. These include:
- Behavioral counseling. This is the most utilized treatment for addiction in cases of both alcohol and drug addiction. It comes in many forms and several methods have been proven especially effective for alcohol addicts, including cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and 12-step facilitation (NIDA). Behavioral counseling can also help to uncover co-occurring mental disorders, which often occur with addictions and can shed light on why they happen in the first place.
- Medication. You and your doctor might decide that certain medications will be helpful to your recovery. Drugs like naltrexone, which blocks the receptors in the brain associated with the positive effects of alcohol, or Acamprosate, which reduces long-term withdrawal symptoms, might help you focus on recovery and minimize the symptoms of alcohol abuse in the long run.
- Holistic approaches. From yoga to tai chi to meditation to massage therapy, holistic approaches have been helping recovering addicts work through their experiences and emotions in a way that diverges from talk therapy but has proven to be very effective for many individuals (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs).
After rehab, patients begin the transition to life in recovery. This can manifest itself in many different ways. Perhaps you will decide to live in a sober home, which is a group home where recovering individuals can live, work, and go about their lives with the benefit of support from others always nearby (Journal of Psychoactive Drugs). You may also decide to move home to be with your family. Whatever you do, it is often best to transition into an option where you will receive lots of support, especially once you first leave treatment.
Of course, life in recovery doesn’t mean that you are now over your addiction. Rather, have the tools to cope with that addiction and to avoid returning to alcohol. In many cases, alcoholics must completely avoid drinking in order to maintain sobriety (NLM). If this is your situation, it is important to make sure friends, family members, and other important people in your life understand your boundaries and respect them.
In some cases, yes, relapse does occur. This is because, according to NIDA, addiction is a chronically relapsing disease like asthma or diabetes. This means it usually doesn’t disappear with time and that people almost always have the potential to backslide and experience increased symptoms, signs, and behaviors of addiction. Relapse is much more likely to occur, though, without the proper treatment, which means detox followed by professional rehab.
Alcohol detox is often essential to a safe recovery, but it is not the last step before the finish line. On the contrary, you’ll need to go much farther than this to safely recover and to begin to build a life of sobriety and wellness without alcohol abuse. However, with the help of detox and rehab, as well as the trained medical professionals who provide this treatment, you can put your alcohol abuse behind you and focus on a brighter future.
If you are addicted to alcohol and have experienced or think you might be likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms, call Summer House Detox Center at 800-719-1090 immediately. Recovery requires help from a professional detox program like our alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our addiction specialists are on the line 24 hours a day and are always ready to help you begin your journey of recovery by seeking safe, professional, and effective detox treatment. Visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161.
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