Over time, alcohol abuse leads to a condition where alcoholics have to take in alcohol just to be "normal." If at any time they stop drinking alcohol, or even try to reduce their intake, they go into alcohol withdrawal. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are startling and dramatic: nervousness, anxiety, emotionalism, and the shakes, insomnia, palpitations, tremors, hallucinations, blackouts and the dreaded "DTs". DT stands for delirium tremens, Latin for the "trembling madness." The "DTs" are an extreme condition wherein the alcoholic's body starts shutting down, and the alcoholic no longer recognizes his surroundings. Alcoholics can die from this. Treatment for withdrawal (or alcohol poisoning) is called detox, specifically detox from alcohol. (Detox from other drugs will incur a different course of treatment.) Generally detox from alcohol occurs in a hospital or rehab facility where the patient can be observed and monitored 24 hours a day. Sedation, tranquilizers and therapeutic alternatives are used to help the patient through the symptoms as they arise. Support is essential, because the patient's body is telling the patient that all the painful symptoms would be relieved with alcohol; this is one of the reasons that it is so difficult a habit to quit. The length of the detoxification period--during which the body removes all traces of alcohol and adjusts to sobriety--does not last a set period of time, but will very according to the length of time the patient was addicted. Furthermore, a single drink will send a serious alcoholic right back where they were before detox.

Success to Detox from Alcohol

Just because someone has made it through detox from alcohol does not mean that the patient is cured. Success only comes with follow-up treatment, which includes medication, behavior therapy and the support of social groups like AA.