Alcohol is a poison that most of us use in amounts that the body can detoxify. We detox patients with a history of high daily use when they are starting treatment OR when they are going to be a in a situation where alcohol won't be available. Once source said we detox patients to normalize the patient's neurochemistry so that their functioning may normalize. Acute withdrawal is the first phase; the regaining of equilibrium, the second phase, can take some time longer.
I looked at this question more than once before answering since, unlike Heather, i never worked a detox unit in my life. What she said is true. Particularly alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.
I realize that this question is posted for the sake of discussion or argument. It is akin to asking, "Why don't we let smokers who say that smoking helps them breathe easier smoke?" The answer is, simply, we have better tools than that.
Continued use of alcohol by an alcoholic could lock them into a pattern of binge use, is associated with problems like alcohol poisoning, and is a known GI irritant, is known to be associated with harms to multilple body systems (Cardiomyopathies, carcinogen, neuropathies, Wernicke's syndrome, brain damage and degeneration to name a few). Most of us don't like playing "control the drug use" with our drug addicted clients; I can't imagine playing control the EToH use with the alcohol addict. Many of us have seen alcohol used therpeutically (some poisonings, used to be a tocolytic) but these were all designed for very short term use.
The reason we detox patients is to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, some of which, in the EToH addicted patient are life threatening. They include: Increased autonomic hyperactivity included tachycardia and hypertension; hand tremor; insomnia; n/v; transient visual, tactile or auditory hallucinations or illusions; psychomotor agitation; anxiety; and grand mal seizures. We all have experienced how these problems can complicate treating virtually any dx.
A good detox regimen protects the patient from the most serious side effects of withdrawal without gearing up their cravings like alcohol would. It IS a measured, scientifically studied regimen designed for patient safety.
Drug addiction is so destructive. I remember my absolute disdain for drunks. They were volatile, time consuming and pathetic. Ratchit, a good detox regimen decreases the risks you mention. You've listed risks of withdrawal. That's the whole point of detox; it reduces the patients risk.