alcoholic going through withdrawal detox in silhouetteAlcohol detox is not something that people go through on a daily basis. Because of that, there can be a void of information on the subject. It’s not something they teach you in school; rather it falls into the category of something you hopefully never have to know about. Here are some commonly heard alcohol detox statements and whether they’re facts or myths:

1. You can die from alcohol detox.

Yes, actually you can. This is a fact. What happens during detox is that your body is readjusting to it having been continually barraged by alcohol over a long duration. Suddenly your body is totally lacking a chemical that it was actually using to accomplish various vital functions. Not only is an alcoholic at risk of seizures, death and dehydration during alcohol detox, but after about 24 hours, he may suffer from what’s called delirium tremens.  During this phase of withdrawal, he experiences hallucinations and convulsions, and these problems may even deepen into a coma and finally death. 5% of all heavy alcoholics die while undergoing the process of detox. This is a significant number, especially considering that 2.5 million alcoholics seek substance abuse treatment each year in America alone.

2. Once you can pass a breath test, the alcohol is no longer in your system.

That’s a myth. Actually, even after the alcoholic has completely detoxed from alcohol and has gone several weeks without a drink, scientific studies seem to indicate that trace alcoholic bodies remain in the system. They are not detectable in the blood stream or by breath because they are actually trapped in the fatty tissue, and can there cause various health problems, cause the person to feel sluggish or dead, and can circulate in minute quantities throughout the body. The effects of alcohol can endure long after that last drink, regardless of whether or not you’ve gone through a detoxification process.

Some drug rehabs may brush off alcohol abuse as not being as serious as street drug abuse.3. Drug abuse centers are the same as alcohol abuse centers.

That’s a myth. Actually, there are some centers that treat drug abuse and alcohol abuse, and these centers will do detoxes for people with both difficulties. However, these centers have vastly varying philosophies and viewpoints about alcohol abuse. It’s important to detox with a program that is familiar with alcohol detox in particular, because the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal caused by detox are much more severe in many cases than street drug withdrawal. The personnel who are conducting the detox need to be prepared for this. Otherwise they could have a medical emergency of a serious nature on their hands and not know what to do about it.

Also, some drug treatment centers that don’t specialize in alcohol treatment consider alcohol to be a minor problem and might brush it off. As a matter of fact, they might not take up the problem at all, and wouldn’t consider it a problem for a former street drug user to drink alcohol. A center with this sort of viewpoint isn’t going to do as well in treating an alcoholic after getting him through the detox process.

4. It’s okay to detox from alcohol at home.

Myth. Actually, it’s a bad idea to detox at home. You really need to get a professional to help you through this. Detox from alcohol is a medical process and shouldn’t be done without the expert supervision of a doctor. You wouldn’t have your friend operate on you and likewise you shouldn’t just have a friend or family member help you through a detox. You should have the assistance of a professional who is able to monitor your vital signs in order to ensure that everything about the withdrawal is occurring safely.