To recover from AUD, people must first go through the process of ridding the body of alcohol and its toxic metabolites. That process is known as detoxification, commonly referred to as detox. As the body clears the substances, the unpleasant experience of withdrawal occurs.
Alcohol is dangerous to detox from because of two complications that are unique to alcohol: seizures and DTs (delirium tremens). Even without these dangerous complications, withdrawal can be a highly unpleasant experience.
The safest and most comfortable way to get through the withdrawal phase and transition into treatment is by participating in a medical detox program.
Related Topic: Alcohol Detox at Home
Alcohol Detox Medications
Medication-assisted treatment consists of two types of medications: those used to help people through detox safely and those that aid recovery by helping to prevent sobriety setbacks. Individuals can decide with their doctor if any of these medications are right for them.
Medications used for alcohol detox may include:
- Benzodiazepines: for seizure prevention, sedation, and reducing agitation and anxiety
- Heart and blood pressure medications (such as beta blockers or clonidine)
- Anti-seizure medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Thiamine and magnesium: to treat nutritional deficiencies associated with alcohol use that can have serious medical consequences
Medications used to help reduce cravings and help prevent relapse include: