Alcohol Detox : Evaluation and Treatment

Feb 11, 2017
by vikramtarugu

The goals of alcohol detoxification is to: 1. Diagnose and treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal 2. To prevent serious events (seizures, delirium tremens, or death) 3. Bridge patients to psychosocial treatment for maintaining long-term recovery.

Mild alcohol withdrawal syndrome presents when excessive alcohol drinking occurs for even one week. Withdrawal symptoms in the early phase present as agitation, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, tremors, fluctuating tachycardia and hypertension, headache, and cravings. Patients may experience loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Most of these symptoms resolve in a day or two. Seizures and hallucinations can also occur early in the course of withdrawal and in the absence of other symptoms.

Severe alcohol withdrawal presentation like delirium and tremors can present as fever, severe tachycardia and hypertension, agitation, drenching sweats, hallucinations, and disorientation. Initial step in treating a patient with an alcohol addiction is to assess the need for alcohol detoxification. A patient who has been sober for five days or more and shows no signs of withdrawal is unlikely to develop significant withdrawal symptoms and can be referred for ambulatory care.

A medical exam should be performed to rule out serious medical or psychiatric conditions that would complicate alcohol withdrawal treatment, and conditions that indicate a need for inpatient management, such as:

●Gastrointestinal bleeding ●Electrolyte deficienciesalcohol Detox ●Infections ●Cardiovascular disease ●Pregnancy ●Suicidal ideation ●Psychosis and significant cognitive impairment

Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment from Alcohol-revised (CIWA-Ar) scale is used to assess the severity of withdrawal in patients with a history of recent drinking (within the past five days).

Who are the patients that can be managed at an outpatient detox setting? These are the patients that can take oral medications and have no coexisting severe medical or psychiatric disorders and have no concurrent polysubstance use.

Medication used for alcohol detox: Two commonly used drugs are sedatives and anticonvulsants. The most common sedatives used are benzodiazepines and are typically either Diazepam(valium) or Librium (chlordiazepoxide). Short acting benzos like Ativan are used especially for patients with Liver disease. Anticonvulsants like baclofen are used in cases where benzodiazepines alone are not sufficient enough to treat the symptoms of withdrawal.

Medications for longer term abuse of alcohol include naltrexone, acamprosate and topiramate and when combined with psychosocial interventions, these appear to encourage treatment retention

Psychosocial treatment after initial detoxification is very critical. Commonly used interventions are:

1. Motivational interviewing: This is a counseling technique for eliciting behavior change by helping the patient explore and resolve ambivalence about change. 2. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a structured goal-directed form of psychotherapy in which patients learn how their thought processes contribute to their behavior. 3. Residential programs provide a 24-hour, drug and alcohol-free environment. They vary widely in the intensity of clinical services provided and the treatment models employed. 4. Mutual help groups, including 12-step programs and other models, are a common component of treatment for alcohol use disorder. Although there are differences among them, they commonly emphasize working toward abstinence through group sharing and support.

« Back to the blog

Search the blog

Popular Categories

Latest posts

Jan 18, 2018
Best Drug and Alcohol Detox Centers in Florida

Find the best Drug and Alcohol Detox Centers in Florida for your Recovery in 2018 If you want to learn about the best drug and alcohol detox centers in Florida then you’ve come to just the right place!  Drug addiction and alcohol dependency are affecting the lives of countless individuals throughout the US with many… read more

Jan 18, 2018
Top 10 Best Florida Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers of 2018

Find the best Florida Drug Rehab Center for your Recovery in 2018 Welcome to our post where you’ll be provided with the knowledge you need and advice you can act upon so you can begin to recover from drug addiction.  We’ll be providing not only the “Top 10 Best Florida Drug Rehab Centers of 2018”… read more

Jan 17, 2018
Top 10 Best Drug Rehab Treatment Centers of 2018

Top 10 Best Drug Rehab Treatment Centers of 2018 In this guide, we’ll be providing you with informative insight and actionable advice to recovering from drug addiction.  From the “Top 10 Drug Rehab Treatment Centers of 2018” to guidance and suggestions on how to select your rehab facility, we’ll provide you with everything you need… read more

Need Help Now? Please call our 24 hour hotline
(863) 623-4923

Request a Free Call Today

Privacy Guaranteed