Alcohol Detox: What are its primary objectives and goals?
Alcohol Detox refers to the medical intervention to help a patient to safely navigate through the withdraw process after the cessation of drinking. It usually marks the beginning of a comprehensive treatment program for patients living with alcoholism.
With the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse (NIAA) pegging the number of people who die of alcohol-related deaths at 80,000 per year in the United States, the statics are grave. The common symptoms of alcoholism include headaches, nausea, clammy skin, sweating, and pale skin. In severe conditions; the symptoms may progress from the physical to the mental realm. That's why it’s important for patients to get help during the withdrawal period. (1)
Here are the goals of an alcohol detox program
Ensure a safe and stable withdrawal
The Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe such as hearing noises or even seizures. Abrupt withdrawal from alcohol may also cause delirium tremens, a fatal condition that is characterized by an altered mental state as well as sympathetic overdrive which may result in cardiovascular collapse. Alcohol detox program ensures that the symptoms of the patient are monitored around the clock to prevent delirium tremens.
Relapse is common for anyone recovering from alcohol abuse. Several studies reveal that 90 percent of patients experience at least one relapse before they recover fully. The symptoms of withdrawal at times become unbearable to the patient forcing them to relapse. A healthy detox program helps to reduce the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms which in turn reduces or eliminates the chances of the patient reverting to his/her old habits. Also, a detox program ensures the patient is safe during the entire process.
Getting rid of toxins from the alcoholic's body
Alcohol intoxicates the body. For a person to recover from alcoholism, the toxins in the body need to be cleansed. Since detox is the first process in the alcoholic’s treatment regimen, the doctors ensure at this stage that the toxins are completely removed from the patient’s body.
Ensuring the smooth progression to the subsequent stages of alcoholism treatment
At times alcoholic patients may not even appreciate the alcohol detox process. This may be as a result of the alcohol damaging their brain so that they can't reason correctly. Indeed, alcohol is known to insulate the brain cells so that they do not respond to information directed towards them. The alcoholic's brain begins to function at a slow, sedate pace. Meaning, it hardly responds to most of the stimuli provided. Hence when the toxins leave the alcoholic's body only is he able to reason correctly and appreciate the importance of the treatment. Accordingly, the patient can successfully progress to the subsequent stages of treatment.
A detox program plays a significant role in the alcoholic's treatment process. It is the most sensitive stage of the patient's treatment that may dictate whether the patient recovers or relapses. A detox program must always be geared towards helping a patient to navigate through the withdrawal process safely. (2)