Alcohol detoxification is an abrupt termination of alcohol consumption in people who are suffering from alcohol addiction. This procedure is frequently coupled with the replacement of certain medications which have comparable effects on the human body to alcohol so as to avoid alcohol withdrawal. Most of the methods used for alcohol detoxification are adopted after a period of alcohol abuse has been detected and the patient has become addicted to alcohol. Treatment centers offer detox programs in an effort to provide their clients with rapid recovery from alcohol addiction. These programs are usually very effective and people can undergo detox with minimum stress and anxiety.
The symptoms of alcohol detoxification include shivering, sweating, tremors, restlessness and insomnia. This can be a severe form of withdrawal and people should take proper precautions so as not to end up in a critical state. People suffering from severe alcohol addiction may require medical assistance and may even be hospitalized. If severe detox symptoms occur, it is advisable to contact a professional at the earliest.
There are two types of methods for alcohol detoxification: medicinal methods and gradual weaning. Medicinal methods of alcohol detoxification involve use of certain drugs such as benzodiazepines and midazolam which act on the central nervous system and help reduce the urge to consume alcohol. These drugs are used in high doses and prolonged use could cause severe withdrawal symptoms. A person suffering from severe alcohol detoxification can even be hospitalized until he is treated with suitable medications.
Medications such as albuterol and perphenazine can be administered to facilitate alcohol detoxification. These drugs induce a catatonic state and reduce the level of acetylcholine receptor binding sites in the brain, which decreases the urge for alcohol consumption. Some of these drugs have serious side effects such as seizures, coma, liver damage and memory loss. In addition, long-term use may result in a progressive decrease of kidney function and increase the risk of developing cancer. Studies indicate that long-term use of these drugs may also cause a variant neurodegenerative disorder called progressive cerebellar ataxia, which results in an impairment of motor coordination, language and speech and can be inherited through genetics.
Severe alcohol detoxification can also be triggered by experiencing withdrawal in nearby emergency room. Patients who experience withdrawal symptoms while undergoing treatment for alcoholism should be evaluated by a physician for possible complications caused by alcohol poisoning. Patients with a history of alcohol poisoning are advised to abstain from drinking prior to treatment to avoid complications.
Chronic and severe alcohol detoxification can also be initiated using fixed tapering doses of lorazepam or midazolam. The fixed tapering dose is used to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal during treatment which usually requires regular maintenance doses of lorazepam. These regimens require the continued administration of lorazepam and have relatively more side effects compared to maintenance doses. Long-term use of these regimens can result in progressive decreases in brain functions and increase the risk of developing dementia and other psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.