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Do I Really Need an Alcohol Detox?

When Is a Detox Necessary?

All patients at Castle Craig are assesed on a case-by case-basis. Many are required to complete detox before beginning their programme, while those with less severe addictions such as mild alcohol dependence will not need a medically-assisted detox. 

If you drink less than 15 units of alcohol 4-5 days a week then a detox might not be necessary, although all people have different levels of tolerance. Patients with moderate dependence can generally be treated in a less formal setting or with a home/community detox.

 Yes, I want sobriety: call 0808 271 7500.

Any individual experiencing severe dependence should undergo acute alcohol withdrawal in an inpatient setting like Castle Craig. Those patients displaying decompensated liver disease will require specialist medical supervision. 

Without assessing or learning more about your condition, we cannot clearly advise how long detox will be. 

In order to ensure you receive the best treatment, your case will need to be assessed by the medical team as well as a consultant psychiatrist, who will then advise on the next steps. This may be detox treatment or just therapy. 

Remember, the goal of our inpatient detoxes is to minimise patient distress as the alcohol withdrawal process can be both mentally and physically challenging. 

A photo of the detox unit bed

The Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ)

If you are unsure about whether you need to detox from alcohol, The Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ) is a simplistic measure of the severity of dependence and hence an indiactor of the withdrawal symptoms you might experience.

The SADQ questions cover the following aspects of dependency syndrome:

  • Physical withdrawal symptoms and affective withdrawal symptoms
  • Relief drinking and frequency of alcohol consumption
  • Speed of onset of withdrawal symptoms

Read the following questions and see which apply to your level of alcohol dependence.

The answers are: NEVER | SOMETIMES | OFTEN | ALMOST ALWAYS. 

If you answer ALMOST ALWAYS to more than five questions then the likelihood is you need a detox. Please note all cases vary.

  1. The day after drinking alcohol, I wake up feeling sweaty.
  2. The day after drinking alcohol, my hands shook first thing in the morning.
  3. The day after drinking alcohol, my whole body shook violently first thing in the morning if I didn’t have a drink.
  4. The day after drinking alcohol, I woke up absolutely drenched in sweat.
  5. The day after drinking alcohol, I dread waking up in the morning.
  6. The day after drinking alcohol, I was frightened of meeting people first thing in the morning.
  7. The day after drinking alcohol, I felt at the edge of despair when I awoke.
  8. The day after drinking alcohol, I felt very frightened when I awoke.
  9. The day after drinking alcohol, I liked to have an alcoholic drink in the morning.
  10. The day after drinking alcohol, I always gulped my first few alcoholic drinks down as quickly as possible.
  11. The day after drinking alcohol, I drank more alcohol to get rid of the shakes.
  12. The day after drinking alcohol, I had a very strong craving for a drink when I awoke.
  13. I drank more than a quarter of a bottle of spirits in a day (OR 1 bottle of wine OR 7 beers).
  14. I drank more than half a bottle of spirits per day (OR 2 bottles of wine OR 15 beers).
  15. I drank more than one bottle of spirits per day (OR 4 bottles of wine OR 30 beers).
  16. I drank more than two bottles of spirits per day (OR 8 bottles of wine OR 60 beers)

You can take the questionnaire online here.

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