Some individuals opt to utilize over the counter drugs and vitamins to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. If you are someone that suffers from severe alcohol dependency it is important to consult a medical professional to determine the best form of treatment that is right for you. The longer and more frequently it is abused, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms become.
Alcohol Dependence Symptoms
Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 hours to four days after discontinued use and may last for several days or even weeks. Severity of symptoms vary in intensity depending on the individual. Factors such as how much has been consumed and for how long, medical history, mental health and the presence of other drugs in the body can all contribute to what is experienced. Symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Mood swings
In extreme cases, patients experience alcohol withdrawal delirium. Symptoms include seizures, hallucinations, and may lead to complications such as hypothermia and cardiac arrhythmias. Without professional medical treatment, these complications are the predominant cause of death from withdrawal delirium.
The main goal of treatment is to first rid the body of its physical dependency on the substance, then to gain mental control over the addiction through therapy and group support. Treatment should always begin by consulting with a medical professional. They will help you determine the severity of your alcohol dependency and recommend what type of treatment is appropriate for you.
For those experiencing mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms. This treatment generally includes:
- Prescription drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms.
- This can be individual, group counseling, and/or family therapy sessions.
- Therapy may be more intensive at the beginning of the detox process then gradually become less frequent as the individual’s needs change.
For those experiencing moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. You will need to stay at a facility that can closely monitor your symptoms and provide the necessary medical assistance. This treatment generally includes:
- Administration of benzodiazepines (or other prescription medication) to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as delirium and insomnia, and can prevent seizures. Commonly given intravenously.
- Physicians monitoring of changes in physical health such as blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.
- Mental health counseling.
- Recommendations for local support groups that aid in the recovery process.
If you are considering at home detox, remember that you won’t truly know the severity of the symptoms you will experience until you’ve begun the process. Therefore, it is often dangerous and discouraged to pursue this option. The best tools you will have to aid you are:
- Strong support system. Surround yourself with friends and family that can help you through the detox process and support your decision to remain abstinent. This is important whether you decide to pursue a cleanse at home or with a professional care facility.
- Healthy diet. Because nausea and vomiting are some of the most common symptoms, it is important to remain hydrated and eating enough healthy calories to replenish your body of lost nutrients.
- Take vitamins such as folic acid (which is often administered in treatment facilities), multivitamins, B vitamins, and vitamins A and C.