Alcohol Detox Vs. Alcohol Treatment
Despite public health advice to reduce the availability of alcohol, binge drinking is rising among the youth. It is responsible for deaths, organ damage, accidents, crimes, violence, and infections. Often education may be effective in helping people to cut down but mostly professional help is needed to bring life back on track.
When the need arises and the sufferer is a loved one, first question that comes to the mind is whether one should go straight to a rehab center for alcohol treatment or try alcohol detoxification?
Alcohol Abuse or Addiction
Contrary to what most people believe, alcohol is no less harmful than smoking and hypertension. There is no safe limit for drinking and as it is habit forming, most drinkers increase their alcohol intake with time. Once it starts hitting one’s work or social life, it becomes an abuse. When one starts feeling compulsion to drink and it becomes a priority, there is a reason to be worried about, as addiction has set in. Over time one starts developing tolerance and the number of drinks rises.
If intervention is not done at this stage, one may end up in a hospital with medical complications as liver failure, jaundice, and mental illness. Depending on the duration of alcohol intake and the no. of drinks consumed, a specialist decides whether the patient needs to go for drug detox or alcohol detox start directly with alcohol treatment in a drug rehab.
When Do You Need Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol is an enzyme inducer. In other words, alcohol stimulates the liver to make more enzymes that not only fastens the metabolism of drugs like Phenytoin and Warfarin, it also quickens its own breakdown. This leads to tolerance and the amount needed to produce the same effects rises with time. If a chronic heavy drinker stops drinking abruptly, he or she may develop withdrawal symptoms ranging from tremors and mood disturbance to convulsions and death. This is the reason behind the recommendation that before joining any drug rehab center, one must take an opinion from an expert. Another way to decide the best strategy is to look for alerting factors like driving offences, child neglect, assault, attempted suicides, depression, and obesity.
What is Alcohol Detoxification
The word Detox is a misnomer. Here it implies, minimizing the withdrawal symptoms with the help of medicines, meditation, yoga etc. It may sound to be quite logical but one should not attempt alcohol detoxification at home. As a first step, a specialist undertakes complete body examination and battery of blood tests to screen for other ailments like vitamin deficiencies, psychiatric disorders, lifestyle, and illnesses. Most patients need treatment for the withdrawal symptoms with oral medicines only. Still, there are a few who need to be on intravenous medicines to titrate their blood level of drugs. The typical duration of alcohol Detoxification ranges from two to three weeks. Although most patients can be treated as outpatients, some may need few days of indoor admission. It also gives the care-givers an opportunity to observe the sufferers closely and identify other factors like loneliness, worries etc., which may be complicating the problems.
The Role of Drug Rehab Center
Most people who have been through detox program find it much easy to cope up with craving and withdrawal symptoms. Patient’s comfort is at the center of every drug detox program as treating the addiction alone without realizing the hardships faced by the patient is just like sailing the sea without the sail. Most drug rehab nj centers catering to alcoholism use FDA approved medicines like Diazepam, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. Other non-drug physician based interventions like education, counseling, goal-setting, monitoring with biochemical markers etc have not shown clear advantages over medication. Similarly, the costlier regimens also fare no better in trials.
The Next Step
After alcohol detox is over, patient begins with alcohol treatment in a drug rehab center or a hospital specialized for the same. Most drug rehab centers have a team of Psychotherapists and councilors to guide the patients in a stepwise approach to come back to normal lifestyle. The treatment depends on whether the aim is abstinence or controlled intake of alcohol. Similarly treating co-existing depression may need specialist’s services. Self-help and group therapy can bring the wanted results in lesser time.
When detox is combined with alcohol treatment, the chances of success are quite high. Even those who relapse after some time, the chances of succeeding in their further treatment are higher. The long term goal of alcohol treatment is healing of body as well as mind leading to prevention of relapse and advancement of self-esteem.
The Cost Factor
Many would argue that adding drug detox to the alcohol treatment plan raises the cost many times and that poor patients may find it difficult to bear. Studies have shown that the combined strategy may seem to be costlier but considering the cost-effectiveness of the program in terms of high success rate and the patient-days saved from lower relapse chances, it is worth spending for. Until the end of last century, alcohol addiction was not considered a medical disorder and was not covered by health insurance. But there has been a drastic change in the past decade and most drug detox programs are covered by insurance today.
The Social Prospective
Alcohol is the most abused drug today. The future of our generation would largely depend on the public policy of the governments. Some important measures like ban on advertisement, raising the price, decreasing the availability etc., can make big difference to the health of people and society. As of now, every drug detox center needs to follow a holistic approach towards the alcohol abusers and addicts.
The incorporation of alcohol detox programs in drug detox center will bring the desired results eventually. Advanced Health and Education aims to bring alcohol detox program closer to the people who need it the most.