Alcohol is far and away the most common substance of abuse in the US, and a high percentage of people that consume alcohol on a regular basis develop a physical dependence to alcohol, causing them to experience withdrawal symptoms whenever they quit drinking. Common mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, shaking, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
These symptoms may lead to more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms of seizures and delirium tremens (commonly referred to as DTs). DTs is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, manifested by altered mental status (confusion and disorientation), visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations, and overdrive of the cardiovascular system which can cause heart attack and stroke. Without proper medical intervention, DTs has an estimated mortality rate of 20-25%.
Fortunately, most people who require medical detox from alcohol can do so on an outpatient basis, rather than being admitted into a hospital or inpatient detox facility.
As a Board Certified addiction psychiatrist with more than a decade working in the field of addiction medicine, Dr. Robben has the knowledge and experience to thoroughly evaluate an individual to determine if they are appropriate for outpatient alcohol detox, or if they require inpatient detox. Outpatient detox is typically 5-7 days, during which time the patient is prescribed benzodiazepines and assessed on a frequent basis to continually evaluate their medical stability and progress with the detox process.
Additionally, the current standard of medical practice for any individual seeking help for an alcohol problem is to prescribe the patient medication to help decrease the likelihood of relapse. These medications are different than those used to detox patients from alcohol.
The rationale for taking these medications, called "maintenance medications" comes from the overwhelming evidence demonstrating lower relapse rates as compared to people who do not take maintenance medication. All patients undergoing medical detox from alcohol at Tampa Bay Psychiatry are educated on the maintenance medication options - aimed at reducing the chance of relapse - and can elect to try one or more of these medications after completing alcohol detox.
Click HERE to inquire about setting up an evaluation with our Addiction Psychiatrist,
Dr. Derek Robben, or give us a call at (813) 344-5074