Alcohol Detox: The Facts

in Detox

If you are dependent on alcohol, you strongly crave drink and your body becomes physically used to it. Once you've been drinking heavily over a long period of time, your body may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms if you don't drink. These could kick in up to three hours or a day since your last drink. The symptoms include trembling, feeling sick, sweating and even hallucinations. Experiencing these symptoms can lead some people to carry on drinking to avoid them. Obviously, if you want to quit drinking for good, you'll need to stop drinking at some point and could experience these symptoms.

A detox programme supervised by a GP or in an alcohol rehab clinic can help with this phase. During alcohol detox you'll be prescribed some medicine which manages the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. You'll also be monitored by your GP or an addiction professional in a rehab centre. You must agree that you won't drink any alcohol whilst you're going through detox and you must stick to this – you may be breathalysed by your GP or at the clinic to make sure that you are not drinking.

Before and during detox it's normal to feel nervous about what's going to happen and about not drinking. Talk to a doctor about everything involved and this should ease your concerns. The anxiety should dissipate after a few days. You may also have some difficulty sleeping and this is normal. You may be given something to help you sleep but the temporary insomnia will pass after a few days anyway. It's also likely that you'll still have some withdrawal symptoms and cravings but these will be less severe than they would have been without detox medication.

As well as detox medicine, you may also be prescribed vitamins, particularly Thiamine (B1) which is a nutrient many alcohol dependent people are lacking in.

After detox It's important to understand that detox is not the end of the story when it comes to quitting drinking. There is still a lot of hard work to do and detox is not a miracle cure. It won't make you suddenly not want to drink and won't stop you from being tempted. Rehabilitation through counselling and therapy and aftercare services will be key to abstinence. You'll learn to re-adjust to an alcohol-free life and to cope with day-to-day situations without turning to alcohol.

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Sarah Cornish has 1 articles online

Wellington Lodge is an established not-for-profit specialist alcohol rehab provider. We offer triage, screening and rehabilitation at our comfortable in-patient facility at Wellington Lodge in North London. We also offer out-patient facilities at specialist clinics in Harley Street, London or at Queens Square in Bath, Somerset.

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Alcohol Detox: The Facts

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This article was published on 2011/03/28