Treatment Options for Alcoholism and Withdrawal?
I've finally admitted I'm an alcoholic. For almost exactly a year now I've been drinking between about 6-10 drinks every day, sometimes more, rarely less. Before I became a daily drinker a year ago, I was a weekend binge drinker for a couple years.
I understand this kind of daily drinking can lead to DTs if I were to stop cold turkey ... Even if not DTs, I don't know if I'll be able to take the anxiety of it because I have a history of anxiety and just a couple nights ago I gave myself a pretty scary panic attack that lasted for hours due to worry about the detox process and guilt over hiding my addiction.
I never had bad cravings to drink, and often I don't even want to drink that night but I do it anyway just to get to sleep. I use alcohol mostly as a sleeping pill, and that's why almost all my drinking is done just before going to bed.
I am a functioning alcoholic, I basically only drink on weekend evenings and before bed on weekdays. I have a good job and a fairly active social and family life (though my parents don't know about my drinking and I'd hate to tell them). I'll sometimes have a couple drinks on a weekend afternoon, or with family or friends at dinner, and I don't have trouble stopping.
Control with me is a tricky thing though, because sometimes during the week after a few of my usual daily drinks I'll tell myself "I can get really drunk and still make it to work so why not?" and then drink like 13 in a row. On weekends it's worse because if I'm not going anywhere I'll start drinking after dinner and up going through like a pint.
I don't want to have to spend a month in a facility or something and lose my job, and the anxiety about this whole thing the last couple days has been bad; constant worrying whereas before I never gave it a thought and had basically no daily anxiety symptoms.
I'm ready to quit right now, for good, but the process is scaring me pretty bad. So my question is really more than one, and I hope you can answer them all:
What is the difference between a detox and rehab? Is out-patient an option at all with the amount I drink? Can I just go to the hospital and tell them I want to detox?
How long does a detox take, is it something I can do in a week and still keep my job? I've never had withdrawals other than the usual varying degree of daily hangover, and insomnia when I have a rare night with no alcohol, so I don't know long it takes to get and finish DTs or anything.
The extent to which a person goes through alcohol withdrawals
varies from person to person. Some get it bad and experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, which in extreme cases can be potentially fatal. For others, after the first few days, they're okay.
But you're right in thinking you shouldn't risk detoxing without proper medical supervision. One way of doing that is going to see your G.P. and owning up to your problem - and then asking him to book you into hospital for a few days so he can supervise your detox.
And that shouldn't have too big an impact on your work situation because all you need is a basic medical certificate and no one at work would have to be any the wiser, because a basic detox doesn't usually last more than a few days, week at the most.
Problem with this approach is that you don't deal with the underlying causes that led to your alcoholism in the first place. Maybe after you've detoxed you do manage to stay sober without any further help, but for most people a basic detox isn't enough.
That's where going through an alcoholism treatment program
, whether in-or-out patient at a rehab facility can help. They'll put you through a detox for however long is necessary, and then you'll go through their treatment program where you'll begin to address the underlying issues that led to your drinking problem in the first place.
So of course this approach would be the recommended approach, but if you genuinely feel going through a 30 day program will jeopardise things at work, you could look into doing an out-patient program. Phone a few rehab's in your area and ask them about what options they offer.
Many people also get sober with doing nothing more than working a recovery program like the 12 steps at AA. Sure you'd still ideally need to go through a detox first, but from there if you find a program and work it, amazing changes can happen without you necessarily having to see the inside of a rehab facility.
So it's about knowing yourself and possibly trying a few different approaches if need be until you're comfortable you're on the right path. So good luck and hopefully these ideas prove to be useful.