Medical supervision is recommended when detoxing from alcohol because some of the symptoms can be severe, according to WebMD. For example, some patients may experience seizures while going through alcohol withdrawal, which requires immediate medical attention. Other common withdrawal symptoms include agitation, hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety, as well as nausea, vomiting and tremors.
The withdrawal process varies for each person, as not everyone experiences each symptom. During the detoxification process doctors will frequently prescribe medication to help with the severity of the symptoms, notes WebMD. Patients are also closely monitored for their safety during withdrawal.
Detox can take a few days to a week. Patients can detox in a regular hospital ward, a special detox unit or by attending an outpatient program. Going through detox is the first stage of managing alcoholism, WebMD says. In addition to the medical monitoring, patients will often receive education about alcoholism and treatment options while they are undergoing detoxification.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease, WebMD says. Without treatment it can contribute to a variety of life-threatening conditions. Many alcoholics find that detox and treatment can help. Several types of rehabilitation programs are available for those suffering from alcoholism. They include inpatient and outpatient programs as well as day hospitalization, an option that allows the patient to go home at night.