Urgent Alcohol Detox – What You Need to Know

Much of what we talk about in the arena of alcohol treatment is based on the idea of conducting a thoughtful assessment of your situation, thinking through the decision to receive treatment, and then following up on any such decision by enrolling in a treatment programme. But there are times when clients do not have the luxury of approaching the problem in this manner. Sometimes urgent alcohol detox is necessary to save a life. We are here to help with these situations as well.

When urgent alcohol detox is necessary, it is often due to a client being in a state of mind that poses a danger to him/herself or family members. Other times, an alcoholic’s physical health is so poor that he or she needs to stop drinking right away so that he/she can receive life-saving medical treatment. In either case, the client cannot wait weeks or months for an NHS programme to have a vacancy. That person needs to be admitted to a residential rehab centre within 24 to 48 hours.

Situations in which urgent alcohol detox might be necessary include:

  • early warning signs of acute liver failure
  • the emergence of suicidal tendencies
  • a tendency toward violent behaviour involving family members
  • a tendency to mix alcohol with other more dangerous drugs
  • financial collapse leading to criminal behaviour.

We should note that there are many other non-critical circumstances in which a person might decide he or she needs urgent alcohol detox if, for no other reason, than to get treatment under way before the individual experiences a change of heart. Such motivation is every bit as valid as an emergency situation.

What Urgent Alcohol Detox Involves

In terms of the mechanics of detox itself, nothing about urgent treatment is different from the standard detox programme. Urgency simply dictates that detox starts right away rather than waiting weeks or months to get into an oversubscribed programme. Having said that, some urgent situations are accompanied by psychological or physical problems that also need immediate attention while the patient is undergoing detox.

Detox itself is simply the process of allowing the patient’s body to cleanse itself by separating the drinker from drink. Fortunately, the body is remarkably adept at self-healing if given the opportunity to do so. By separating the drinker from alcohol, we give the body the necessary time it needs to flush out the toxins within. And once the body is clean, it can begin the healing process with the aid of both physical and psychological treatments.

A typical detox programme begins with a physical evaluation to determine the overall health of the patient. Then the patient is admitted to a recovery room in anticipation of withdrawal symptoms beginning within 3 to 12 hours from the time of the last drink. The patient is made as comfortable as possible as withdrawal begins.

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within 24 to 72 hours, then gradually subside over time. It is normal to be symptom-free within 5 to 7 days, although it is possible for some symptoms, like alcohol cravings, for example, to linger for weeks or months after detox is complete.

Three Things You Should Know about Detox

If you have been considering undergoing alcohol detox yourself, there are a few things you should know before you choose a treatment facility. The first thing is the importance of medical supervision. All of the private rehab clinics we work with throughout the UK provide full medical supervision and monitoring throughout the detox process. Why is this necessary? Because of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms for most people are uncomfortable but not life-threatening. However, as many as 10% of patients going through alcohol detox in the UK develop a life-threatening condition known as delirium tremens. And because there is no way to predict who will or will not experience it, you have to assume you could be one of those who will. Delirium tremens is a medical emergency that requires very specific care in order to survive.

The other two things to consider are:

  • Residential vs Outpatient Detox – We are firm believers in residential detox as being superior to outpatient detox. A residential programme completely separates the patient from alcohol and any circumstances that promote drinking. The same is not necessarily true of an outpatient programme. In simple terms, we find that alcoholics do better in residential settings than they do in outpatient programmes.
  • Following Detox – In less serious cases of alcohol abuse and misuse, detox alone may be all that is necessary to recover. But patients suffering from alcoholism (aka alcohol dependence or addiction) detox alone is rarely enough. Complete recovery must include psychotherapeutic treatments in the weeks and months after detox.

You Don’t Have to Wait

We assume you have chosen to visit our website today because you are concerned about yourself or someone you love. If so, you don’t have to wait any longer to get help. Whether you need urgent alcohol detox, or you can afford to spend a few days looking into your options, you certainly don’t have to wait weeks or months to do something. Contacting us today could mean you or your loved one begins treatment within 24 to 48 hours.

Please be advised that while the NHS works very hard to help alcoholics recover, the government healthcare system simply does not have the resources to provide the same kind of treatment and care you can get at a private rehab clinic. What’s more, the NHS does not offer residential treatment except in the most extreme cases. The best residential treatment is found at the many private clinics we work with.

We urge you to contact us today so that we can help you. When you do, you will be connected with a fully trained and compassionate counsellor who is as committed to your well-being as the medical professionals you will encounter in treatment. We are here to help you find and access an alcohol detox programme that will get you on the road to recovery.

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