What to Know About Alcohol Detox and Rehab Programmes
No one on earth is the same. This is particularly true when it comes to addiction. When it comes to treating alcohol use disorder (AUD is a condition that can be diagnosed when your pattern of alcohol use is problematic and causes significant distress), everyone has different needs. Symptoms and needs can range from mild to severe and the care you’ll need depends to a degree, on where you fall in that range. For some, the dependency on alcohol and the sudden end to drinking leads to detox withdrawal symptoms which can be uncomfortable and dangerous. That’s where the detox process comes in.
With South Africa currently experiencing an alcohol ban enforced by the government to fight the Covid Pandemic, there has never been a more relevant time to discuss, consider and check yourself into South Africa’s number one detox centre based in Gauteng, Houghton House Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Centres if you believe you or a loved one may be struggling to curb alcohol use.
Houghton House is a registered and professionally recognised medical detoxification clinic with a high success record of helping patients stay clean.
SO what is detox?
Detox alone isn’t a treatment programme but rather, the first step to getting better for those who are now dependent on alcohol. When a person with AUD suddenly stops drinking they will most likely develop withdrawal symptoms. This occurs within 24 hours but can occur from as little as 6 hours from the stoppage. It is also important to note that withdrawals may begin while alcohol is still present in the bloodstream.
Ten of the most common withdrawal symptoms?
Symptoms can be considered mild for some and severe for others. Regardless of your ‘level’ of withdrawal, it is not a pleasant experience. Due to the alcohol ban in SA, some have been forced to go through withdrawal, while others have attempted to source alcohol through illegal and/or underground means. Should you not have been able to simply pause your consumption of alcohol on your own free will, you may need to look at the level of dependence you have with alcohol. Here are some of the symptoms of detox and withdrawal:
- Unstable changes in blood pressure and heart rate
- Shakiness, especially in your hands
- Delirium tremens (DTs), a life-threatening issue that can make you restless, upset, and confused and cause fever, hallucinations, and seizures
- Hallucinations, when you see or hear things that aren’t there
- Issues with sleep
Am I in need of a detox?
As previously stated, the nationwide ban on alcohol sales, public consumption and transport has left many ‘high and dry.’ While some have managed to cope just fine, others have not and this may be a tell-tale sign that your relationship with alcohol is not as friendly/normal as you believe. Should you need alcohol for your body to feel normal, then you most likely need detox help. While some are going ‘cold turkey’ it is not a good idea. Getting through detox is not just about willpower, without, at the very least, medical help, you may put yourself in serious danger. A custom curated addiction rehabilitation programme offers you support to guide you through the withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms may last a week or more, typically hitting their worst within 1 -3 days. You are more likely to stick with a programme which includes the detox, when you have help on hand.
What can I expect?
Usually, you can expect a detox programme to include several basic things including:
- An intake exam so the detox team can see what kind of support you’ll need. This could include blood work, conversations about your health and history of drinking and physical and mental health tests.
- Detox support from the team which can include regular check-ups and tests which measure your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
- Post detox treatment. This is crucial and is the vital big step towards breaking the cycle of alcohol abuse/addiction.
A detox programme is part of a bigger rehabilitation programme where the sole goal is to remove the disease of alcohol from a person completely. There are two types of programmes at Houghton House Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Centres which are all custom curated to assist patients on the journey to recovery including.
INPATIENT: where you stay at Houghton House during the process. You’ll have care around the clock to help you through detox.
OUTPATIENT: where you get some treatment during the day but live outside of Houghton House grounds.
How do I choose which programme is best for me?
Start with a list of your needs. Look at your mental or medical condition, look at your support system. If you have a medical or mental condition, you will want someone to assist you with it while you recover. If you have a weak support system around you, then you need to make sure that you will not relapse, and a strong support base, as is offered at Houghton House, may be what you need to step into your sober future. Should you not be able to take enough time off work, or have commitments at home, a strong support base and perhaps no underlying mental or medical conditions, outpatient treatment may work well.
Once you get back into the swing of your new, normal and alcohol-free life, it might be easy to relapse and start drinking again. These relapses are often caused by triggers. What you may want to consider is follow-up care for at least a year. Houghton House Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Centres has a host of programmes, private therapy options and group counselling options available, and thanks to our modern and up to date team, we offer technologically assisted programmes on zoom as part of our promise to take care of you and your loved ones as you begin your new life.