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About Alcohol Detoxification


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Even though alcohol is in such general use worldwide, the regular consumption of alcoholic beverages is a serious health hazard and definitely a nutritional problem.

Alcohol FAQ

Alcoholic beverages, made by the fermentation of grains or fruits, have been used for thousands of years. Alcohol enhances the effect of GABA on GABA-A neuroreceptors, resulting in decreased overall brain excitability. Alcohol inhibits NMDA neuroreceptors, and chronic alcohol exposure results in up-regulation of these receptors. Contrary to what most think, alcohol is a depressant.


The body's reaction to the removal of a substance it has become dependent on is called withdrawal. Withdrawal causes craving for more of the substance being removed. Withdrawal reactions include anxiety, irritability, sweating, trouble sleeping and diarrhea. Alcohol withdrawal delirium, or delirium tremens, is characterized by clouding of consciousness and delirium.


Most patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal can be treated safely and effectively as outpatients. In most patients with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, outpatient detoxification is safe and effective, and costs less than inpatient treatment. Pharmacologic treatment involves the use of medications that are cross-tolerant with alcohol. Treatment of withdrawal alone does not address the underlying disease of addiction and therefore offers little hope for long-term abstinence. Treatment of alcohol withdrawal should be followed by treatment for alcohol dependence.

Goals of Treatment

The American Society of Addiction Medicine lists three immediate goals for detoxification of alcohol and other substances: (1) “to provide a safe withdrawal from the drug(s) of dependence and enable the patient to become drug-free"; (2) “to provide a withdrawal that is humane and thus protects the patient's dignity"; and (3) “to prepare the patient for ongoing treatment of his or her dependence on alcohol or other drugs.


The goal of detoxification is to control the symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) and to prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures, withdrawal delirium, and deaths from complications of AWS. Detoxification from alcohol can be undertaken in ambulatory settings with patients who are alcohol-dependent and show signs of mild to moderate withdrawal when they are not drinking. Detoxification is not a stand-alone treatment but should serve as a bridge to a formal treatment program for alcohol dependence. Outpatient detoxification is an effective, safe, and low-cost treatment for patients with mild to moderate symptoms of AWS. Ultimately, the purpose of outpatient detoxification is to facilitate the patient's entry into an alcohol rehabilitation program. Alcohol detox completion can take from three to fourteen days.

In conclusion, alcohol detoxification can effectively prepare the addicted abuser for rehabilitation and treatment. Once detoxified, the patient will have more strength to fight the addiction.

Janine W
Body Detox Nation
For more compelling articles, please visit Janine's website at


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