Dealing with addiction to alcohol can be extremely difficult on your own. From debilitating withdrawal symptoms to the emotional dependence, beginning your detox by quitting cold turkey can be as uncomfortable as it is dangerous. Detox may be the first step to gaining control over your alcohol dependence, but it isn’t a plan — with extensive support from detox doctors, usually in a rehabilitation environment, you’ll be much more likely to commit to the changes that will better your health and life.
Detox Programs Explained
Since the severity of alcohol addiction varies from person to person, you will be met by detox doctors that gauge the amount of support you need. This intake team may take blood work, discuss your health and drinking history, and perform a few routine tests to check your physical and mental health; for example, about 10% to 20% of alcoholics have withdrawal symptoms that are serious enough to require medical attention and constant monitoring, so they’re going to want to make sure you have everything you need to safely get through the detox process.
There are two main paths for treatment once you’ve made it through detox: inpatient and outpatient.
Inpatient treatment involves a facility (either a hospital, detox clinic, or rehab center) that you live in for a period of time. You have access to more services and constant support — your job is essentially to focus on breaking the addiction, rather than worry about any other aspects of life. Rehabilitation programs include counseling and life skills training, and centers heavily on developing skills to prevent a relapse. If you join a residential rehab center, the program usually runs from one to three months, which can be extremely beneficial if you find yourself struggling on your own. Unfortunately, these services are more costly.
Outpatient treatment involves daily or weekly doctor visits but you still live at home and on your own. It is much more affordable, but it should only be sought out by those who are stable: you are in good physical and mental shape, have a stable and supportive home, and don’t have a long history of drinking — otherwise, relapse can happen easily.
Every person experiences addiction and recovery differently. Be sure to consult your doctor on their recommendations for your route to ensure you choose the option most likely to succeed.