Understanding an Alcohol Detox Protocol

You can expect a number of physical symptoms, none of them pleasant, to accompany your attempts at alcohol withdrawal. Among them are severe headaches and nausea, chills, shaking, anxiety attacks, rage, and even seizures. You will be much more likely to make it all the way through alcohol detoxification if you undergo it in an environment where you will be taking part in a suitable alcohol detox protocol.

Your specific alcohol detox protocol should be chosen by a physician familiar with your history of alcohol abuse, who knows whether or not you are also battling other addictions. Before beginning your alcohol detox protocol, your doctor will give you a full exam to determine how to treat your alcoholism most effectively.


During your detox treatment, your doctor will probably use the CIWA-Ar, a medical instrument designed to rate the severity of your different withdrawal symptoms, and use the findings to establish your alcohol detox protocol.

A Typical Alcohol Detox Protocol

In a typical alcohol detox protocol the patient's diagnosis (acute alcohol intoxication, for example) will be recorded, along with the recommended activity level. Many patients who enter an alcohol rehab facility are restricted to bedrest during the first few days of their detoxification process. During this period the patient will probably have the CIWA-Ar test administered once daily until the patient's score remains lower than 10 for an entire twenty-four hours. Most patients will require close supervision and additional assessments of any developing conditions.

Withdrawal Medications

A typical alcohol detox protocol will include the administration of one of three medications over at seventy-two hour period for the purpose of preventing the symptoms of withdrawal. A patient may be given ten milligrams of Valium every six hours for the first day followed by five milligram doses every six hours for the next two days; four doses of Librium totaling two hundred milligrams over twenty-four hours followed by twenty-five milligrams every six hours for two days; or two milligrams of Ativan every six hours for the first day, followed by one milligram doses four times a day for the next two days.

If a patient should develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms, his or her attending physician may increase the dosage of Valium to between ten and twenty milligrams each hour; of Librium to between fifty and one hundred milligrams each hour; or of Ativan to between three and six milligrams each hour. Massive doses of any of these medications have been very useful in reducing withdrawal symptoms to a tolerable level, after which the amounts given are gradually lowered and given at wider intervals.

Medications for Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

But in cases of severe withdrawal, causing the patients to become physically agitated or even to hallucinate, the attending physician may opt to administer injections of between two and five milligrams of Haldol or of Haldol with between two and four milligrams of Activa.

Understanding an Alcohol Detox Protocol

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