Since every alcoholic’s use is different, so is the detoxification process.
Detoxification from alcohol begins six to 24 hours after the last alcoholic drink. Signs of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, agitation, nausea, sweating, vomiting, hallucinations, insomnia, hypertension, delirium, and seizures. In some cases, these symptoms can be life-threatening.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, it may be recommended to go to an inpatient detox facility in order to wean the body from alcohol. However, some people are also able to safely come off of alcohol outside of an inpatient facility.
If planning to detox in an outpatient facility, here’s what to keep in mind.
1. Only you know the severity of your addiction.
Keep this in mind as you, or your loved ones decide which facility is best for you. If you are a heavy, daily drinker or heavily abusing substances, outpatient detox could be dangerous, and it may be a better fit to find an inpatient detox facility. However, if you are in the early stages of alcoholism, outpatient detox could be a good fit.
2. You will need to undergo a physical exam.
Upon the first visit to an outpatient detox facility, it is important for the health professionals there to give you an exam in order to determine the state of your overall health and whether detoxing as an outpatient could be dangerous or even life-threatening. If they think it could, inpatient detox will be recommended. While at this exam, they may also prescribe medications to prevent anxiety, nausea and other common withdrawal symptoms.
3. You will need a solid support system and at least one person to monitor you as you go through withdrawals.
This is important because when in an inpatient facility, health professionals will be able to monitor withdrawal symptoms and the severity. However, this is not the case in an outpatient setting. Therefore, one person will need to know what signs and symptoms to watch for to determine if the alcohol withdrawals are dangerous or have the potential to be.
4. You should have a plan for being in an unsupervised environment.
Because they do not reside in a facility, those taking part in outpatient detox have more freedom, which can mean more opportunities to slip up and start drinking again. If temptation is an issue for you, you may be better off visiting an inpatient detox facility.
If you are still unsure whether inpatient or outpatient detox is a better fit, speak to a health professional and they can assist in the decision.
Muncie, Herbert. Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. American Academy of Family Physicians. 1 November 2013. Accessed 17 April 2016. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/1101/p589.html>
Alcohol Detox Options – Inpatient vs. Outpatient. The Fix. 13 December 2014. Accessed 17 April 2016. <https://www.thefix.com/content/alcohol-detox>