Alcohol Rehabilitation Program

Rustenburg Addiction Care alcohol rehabilitation program : a safe and comfortable detox.


(What you can expect during phase 1 of your treatment)



The thought of not being able to consume alcohol may be terrifying. You may have previously experienced withdrawals and could be afraid that this might happen again; shakes, sweats, dehydration, delirium tremors, and even withdrawal seizures. Our alcohol rehabilitation program includes an extensive detoxification process and we can assure you that our experienced team of medical and nursing staff will take care of you, providing comfort and support together with the medication that you need to detox safely. This article, that you can read in just six minutes, will answer all the questions that you might have about what will happen during your detox in our alcohol rehabilitation program.


The article will elaborate on:


1. Alcohol rehabilitation program – assessment

2. Alcohol rehabilitation program – medication for detox

3. Alcohol rehabilitation program – nursing care

4. Alcohol rehabilitation program – duration of detox

5. Alcohol rehabilitation program – do’s and don’ts during detox




Alcohol Rehabilitation Program - Detox




1. Alcohol rehabilitation program – Assessment


Clients who are admitted to our rehabilitation program receive a full medical and nursing assessment upon admission. Our caring and experienced nursing staff will meet and assist you from the moment that you arrive at Rustenburg Addiction Care. They will endeavour to get you settled in and comfortable as quickly as possible. During the assessment phase you can expect that the compassionate nursing staff will:


• Complete a Covid- 19 screening. This is a current Department of Health regulation and is necessary to ensure that we maintain a Covid- 19 free environment in as much as is possible. You will be taken for a Covid- 19 test as soon as you are well enough. The test will be performed at the nearby private hospital and your result should be available within 48 – 72 hours. All our staff will wear the required personal protective equipment and comply with all National Covid- 19 regulations. We ask that you continue to practice social distancing by maintaining a safe distance of least one and half meters from other clients. You will notice that our staff will all practice health and safety measures such as: maintaining social distancing, frequent hand hygiene and wearing of facemasks throughout your alcohol rehabilitation program.



• Take a history of your substance use: progression, consumption quantity, duration of use, and history of previous withdrawals. This will help determine the amount of medication that you need during the detox phase of your rehabilitation program.


• Complete a medical and surgical history and go through your list of all chronic medication with you. They will also take note of any other possible medical complications that you may have from long- term abuse of alcohol.


• Take your temperature, respiration, pulse and blood pressure. This will be repeated during your detox as it indicates how you are progressing in your detox.


• Help you to unpack and settle in to your room that is opposite the nursing station. You will remain close to the nursing station during your detox. You will also be shown how to activate the call bell for when you need any assistance.



Our doctor will complete a physical assessment at the beginning of your rehabilitation program and ask you some additional questions about your substance use. He may request that laboratory tests are done to determine your full blood count and liver functioning levels. He will also prescribe the necessary medication for your detox and our nursing staff will administer the medication to you.


Our alcohol rehabilitation program follows the best practice advisories for detoxification from alcohol. Our nursing staff will therefore frequently complete an assessment (CIWA-Ar) that will help to monitor your progress and assist with determining how much medication you need for detox.



The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol Scale, Revised (CIWA-Ar) measures 10 symptoms:


• Nausea and vomiting
• Tremor
• Paroxysmal sweats
• Anxiety
• Agitation
• Tactile disturbance
• Auditory disturbance
• Visual disturbance
• Headache
• Orientation



The CIWA- Ar will help to determine whether you are experiencing mild, moderate or severe withdrawals.


Mild alcohol withdrawal is defined with a score of less than or equal to 10, while moderate alcohol withdrawal is defined with scores of 11 to 15, and severe alcohol withdrawal is defined with any score equal to or greater than 16.



For more information please click on the link below:,and%20management%20of%20alcohol%20withdrawal.



2. Alcohol rehabilitation program – medication for detox.


Our doctor will prescribe all your chronic medication in addition to medication that will help reduce the alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The following medications are most commonly administered for alcohol detox in our alcohol rehabilitation program:


• Benzodiazepine

• Thiamine & Vitamin B co

• Anticonvulsant in severe cases


Benzodiazepines such as Valium, is a form of anxiolytic and sedative medication, commonly used to treat panic, anxiety, and to control certain types of seizures. These medications help to manage the more problematic alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The dosage and frequency of Valium being administered to you will depend on the severity of your withdrawal. The CIWA-Ar score will help the doctor and nursing staff to determine the amount of medication that you need. Valium is likely to decrease any anxiety, irritability, help to prevent withdrawal seizures, and may cause some sedation. Our doctor may also prescribe a mild hypnotic to help you to sleep for the first few nights of your rehabilitation program. Examples of hypnotics are Zopivane and Stilnox.



Vitamin B and Thiamine deficiency (vitamin B1) is common in clients with alcohol dependence and cognitive impairment such as short-term memory loss, may be an early consequence of thiamine deficiency. Our doctor will therefore prescribe Thiamine and Vitamin B Co for you to take orally on a daily basis. This may help to improve some of your cognitive functions over time.



Please click on the link below to find out more information about the use of Thiamine in the treatment of alcohol withdrawals:





If you have a history of epilepsy or withdrawal seizures, then our doctor may want to commence you on an anticonvulsant medication to help minimize the risk of you experiencing any withdrawal seizures. You can be rest assured that you will receive enough medication to minimize the discomfort associated with alcohol withdrawals in as much as possible.



Alcohol Rehabilitation Program - Pills in hand



3. Alcohol rehabilitation program – nursing care


Our 24- hour experienced nursing care team will be there with you all the way during your rehabilitation program. Once your assessment and admission process is complete, you will be assisted and made comfortable in our allocated detox room that is right opposite the nursing station. This will ensure that you are close to the nursing staff at all times. Our detox room has a call button next to your bed in the event that you may need any additional assistance.



Our nursing team will continue to monitor your vital signs and take your CIWA- Ar score throughout your detox process. They will administer all your medication as prescribed by our doctor. They will ensure that you remain hydrated, well nourished, and assist you with your personal hygiene needs if needed. They will also assist you with going for short walks on our tranquil and scenic surroundings towards the end of your detox.



You safety is our number 1 priority and we will take every step necessary to ensure that your detox process is as comfortable as possible.




Alcohol Rehabilitation Program - Nurses




4. Alcohol rehabilitation program – duration of detox


The duration of your detox depends on the severity of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms and your response to the medication.


Mild withdrawal symptoms include:


• Anxiety, headache, insomnia, mild tremors, palpitations and gastrointestinal disturbances


Moderate withdrawal symptoms include:

• In addition to experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms, you may also experience raised body temperature, sweating, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, rapid & shallow breathing, and some confusion


Severe withdrawal symptoms include:


• In addition to experiencing moderate withdrawal symptoms, in some severe cases a person may become disorientated, experience severe tremors, experience difficulty with concentration, memory, visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations, and withdrawal seizures.



Mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms are usually experienced with the most intensity around day 2 – 3 of the detox. Most withdrawal symptoms will continue to decrease and be resolved by day 5 – 7.


Severe withdrawal symptoms may linger a bit longer but can usually be well managed with medication.



Withdrawal symptoms tend to decrease in terms of severity and intensity after day 2-3 and the average duration of detox is about 5 – 7 days.




Alcohol Rehabilitation Program - Alcohol Withdrawal





Please click on the link below for more information about the duration of detox:



5. Alcohol rehabilitation program – do’s and don’ts during detox


The most important fact is that you need to be honest about the quantity of your alcohol consumption. Minimizing your consumption may result in being under medicated and experiencing more discomfort during your detox. Honesty is therefore the best policy. Letting the nursing staff and doctor know how the medication is working in terms of managing the withdrawal symptoms is therefore very important. The doctor and nursing staff can adjust the amount of medication you receive depending on your self- reported experience, vital signs measurements and the CIWA- Ar score. There is therefore no need to suffer unnecessarily during your detox.



Drinking lots of clear fluids during your detox is essential in order to prevent dehydration. Getting lots of rest is just as important. It is therefore necessary that you allow yourself the time to rest and sleep. This is not the time to want to complete work related tasks or to engage in any strenuous exercise. Reading a book or listening to relaxing music will help you to distract yourself during the first few days of your detox. We would also encourage you to limit the time that you spend on your mobile device during your detox phase.



The nursing staff and doctor will decrease your detox medication slowly based on your response. Valium may cause some drowsiness and it is therefore important that you allow the nursing staff to assist you when you need to use the bathroom, or go for a walk.



Once you are stable enough, the nursing staff will arrange for you to meet with your counsellor and encourage you to start joining some therapeutic activities. You will then be ready to move on to the second phase of your rehabilitation.



Our main goal is to ensure that you get through the rehabilitation program detox phase safely, and with ease and comfort. In order to achieve this, it is essential that we work in collaboration with you as partnerships on your journey of healing.



Please feel free to contact our nursing or clinic manager for any other questions that you might have about your detox. They will be able to provide you with more information about our alcohol rehabilitation program.



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