When it comes to treating alcohol disorders, everyone has different requirements depending on the symptoms an individual has and the extent of their condition. Alcohol abuse can range from mild to severe addiction, and the type of care an individual requires differs depending on where they sit on that spectrum. For some people who are struggling with alcohol dependency, there’s also the issue of withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking which can cause horrible side effects on the body and mind. That’s where detoxing comes in – detoxing on its own isn’t a treatment, but it is a vital step for people who are overcoming their struggle with alcohol.
What Does a Detox Involve?
Detox programmes typically include these features:
- Intake exams so the team treating you can determine what support you need. This might also involve blood tests, discussions about medical history and check-ups to test your physical and mental health.
- Detox support such as medication to treat severe withdrawal symptoms and ongoing care for any other issues that might arise throughout the detox period.
- Assistance to get into a treatment programme to overcome addiction.
The goal of detox support is to make sure you’re as stable as possible, both physically and mentally, so this may also involve checks of your temperature, heart rate, breathing pattern and blood pressure.
Types of Detox Programmes
There are two basic options for detox programmes – inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient programmes require you to live at a hospital, rehab centre or clinic for the duration of the process, where you’ll receive care and support 24 hours a day. Outpatient support involves some treatment throughout the day but the rest of the time, you’ll be at home. It may involve something as simple as visiting a healthcare professional on a regular basis to get medication. While inpatient support provides individuals with more services, it also comes at a higher cost. For people with moderate or mild alcohol withdrawal, and those who have good physical and mental health, outpatient detox programmes are usually a more cost-effective solution that is still safe and effective.
There are various ways of carrying out an alcohol detox, but there are some common features of any detox process that will benefit those suffering with withdrawal symptoms. One tip for getting through a detox is to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes – dehydration is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal so drinking electrolyte-packed fluids can combat this. Try to eat a healthy diet that focus more on fruits and veggies over sugary or fatty foods. This helps your body to balance the sugar levels that your body is used to from drinking alcohol and fuels your body with much-needed nutrients. Deep breathing techniques can also help you to re-engage your prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain that deals with critical thinking and reasoning. This will be really beneficial when you’re stressed and trying to beat your cravings. Finally, avoid your drinking buddies. One of the most important aspects of any detox is to remove yourself from the situations and environments that you associate with drinking. Distancing yourself from enablers will help you to stay strong and maintain your resolve so you can overcome your withdrawal and addiction.