Unlike most other addictive substances, alcohol is socially acceptable in many circles. It is a common occurrence these days to hear people say that they need a drink when they are stressed or need it to help them unwind after a long day. Unfortunately, it is very easy to become dependent on alcohol when you use it as a crutch on a regular basis.
Alcohol is one of the hardest drugs to quit because it is so accessible. You can order it at restaurants without a second thought. It is present at work functions and even family gatherings. In many a place, it is socially acceptable to drink excessively, even to the point of dependence as long as you maintain a semblance of function.
However, abusing alcohol comes with a cost. This drug can be extremely destructive to the body, particularly to the liver. Long-term use can even cause permanent brain damage.
In addition, it is extremely addictive. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. When you use this drug on a regular basis, your body stops making its own natural depressants. When a person who drinks regularly abruptly stops, their body goes into overdrive. At this point, people begin to need a drink to help them function. Without it, they can develop a dangerously high heart rate, hypertension, and even have seizures. Medically supervised withdrawal and detoxification are the first steps to making a clean break with alcohol.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Many people attempt to quit drinking on their own only to be left with a wide range of extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Even minor withdrawal can be extremely painful and alarming, both physically and emotionally.
The alcohol detox definition varies, however, there are a few commonalities. If you drink regularly, you may notice that you feel shaky or anxious without it. In the first hours, you may develop severe anxiety and agitation. You also may develop muscle pain, headache, and nausea. These symptoms are a result of losing the depressant effects of alcohol when your body has stopped making its own natural depressants.
The symptoms usually become severe after about one day of being sober. In addition to the prior symptoms, people will develop a tremor. Their blood pressure and heart rate will rise sharply. Some people will have a fever and sweats. If their dependence is severe, they may become extremely disoriented and delirious. In extreme cases, during this phase of alcohol withdrawal, many people can begin having seizures. These symptoms can escalate quickly becoming deadly without medical care.
Even after the first day people can develop the aforementioned symptoms. Many people begin to hallucinate or develop delusions. They also can develop intense muscle pain and cramping.
In days three through seven, the worst of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur. This is when a condition known as delirium tremens can take place. In this condition, people can become extremely ill both physically and mentally. This is the time when people are most at risk of dying suddenly from the most severe effects of withdrawal.
After the first week of sobriety, the medical emergency is over. Most people will not develop deadly complications after this point. However, there are still lasting effects. Many people will still have insomnia, anxiety, and tremors. These are easily treated with medications, but can be extremely trying without them.
There is also a condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome which can affect people weeks and months after alcohol withdrawal. In extreme cases, this syndrome can even last a year. The symptoms can include fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and other troublesome effects.
Living with these issues can be painful both emotionally and physically so, It is important to get professional help. Well-trained medical providers can treat symptoms so that they are more tolerable.
What Is Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detoxification is the process of getting through withdrawal and regaining your health after a long period of drinking. Even if you do not develop the dangerous effects of withdrawal, most people will still need professional assistance to survive this process.
During detoxification, people will be medically stabilized. They are often given drugs called benzodiazepines to make this process less dangerous and more tolerable. In addition, they are often given other medications to treat high blood pressure and other symptoms of withdrawal.
Once they are medically stable, medical professionals will thoroughly evaluate them. Alcohol use can be extremely bad for both physical and mental health. In addition, many people have mental health issues that caused them to begin drinking heavily in the first place. This condition, known as dual diagnosis, requires extremely specialized treatment.
Once they are completely evaluated and stabilized, patients are prepared for transfer to a rehab facility. Although some people are successful with outpatient treatment, most will need to stay in an inpatient facility in the initial stages. This ensures that they have the support and supervision they need to transition to a healthy, sober life.
It is extremely important for alcohol detoxification to be supervised carefully. Most people will simply return to drinking when faced with the long, hard road to sobriety.
How To Detox From Alcohol
Alcohol detoxification occurs in several stages. In the initial stages, the patient is simply overcoming dependence on the drug. This is a physically harrowing process but not the entirety of the process.
Detoxification must include stabilizing the body and mind in a newly sober life. After withdrawals, people are often given vitamins and healthy food to replenish the nutrient deficiencies that are common in alcoholics. They also must rehydrate themselves. Alcohol may be a liquid, but it is a powerful dehydrating agent. Habitual users are often chronically dehydrated.
Mental detoxification is also important. People who have used alcohol to deal with their emotional distress must learn new coping mechanisms. In many cases, they have untreated mental illness that must be addressed. In addition, they have often acted destructively while abusing alcohol. Rebuilding relationships with their loved ones is crucial to a successful recovery.
Alcohol detoxification is ultimately a long process of rebuilding a healthy body and a healthy mind. Withdrawing safely from the drug itself is just the beginning. Experienced medical personnel can make this a safer and easier process, but it will still take time and hard work to achieve a new and sober life. Detoxification is part of a long journey of recovery and rebuilding.
Can I Detox from Alcohol at Home?
There are several reasons that people may prefer to detoxify at home. First and foremost, many people are concerned about the time and money that will be required by an inpatient recovery program. These programs require you to temporarily leave your home and responsibilities. In addition, the intensive treatment requires supervision from medical staff, which can be expensive.
However, home detoxification is rarely successful and dangerous. Withdrawal can be life-threatening without professional help. Many people try to taper their alcohol usage to prevent these complications. Even with the best of intentions, most alcoholics simply cannot do this. The addiction is simply too powerful.
Medical professionals have a variety of medications to reduce withdrawal and expedite the detoxification process. These medications are only available with a prescription and often require intravenous therapy as well as constant supervision.
There are many programs out there that offer at-home treatment for alcohol withdrawal and detoxification. They claim to offer a cost-effective and safe way to stop drinking. Although these programs will seem attractive, it is important to remember that they are only rarely effective in the long run.
Despite it being expensive and time-consuming to enter an alcohol recovery program, the investment pays off. Inpatient recovery programs are much safer than withdrawing at home. In addition, they have a higher chance of success. They require time, but the reward is priceless. Addicts need time to deal with their issues and to learn how to be sober once again.
Many insurance plans cover recovery programs. There are also payment plans. No one should assume that true recovery is not an option for them. A sober life is worth the initial investment and alcoholism is a disease that requires professional medical help.
How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?
Alcohol detoxification can be a long process. In the first phases, people must withdraw from alcohol and allow their bodies to get used to life without this powerful depressant.
Once a person has physically withdrawn, they will still have symptoms for several weeks. These may include increased blood pressure and heart rate, tremor, and anxiety. In addition, most people have intense cravings for alcohol throughout the first month of sobriety.
Mild symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety can last as long as a year after your last drink. Detox programs are designed to teach people how to deal with this long, final phase of recovery.
Ultimately, the process of recovery will last a lifetime. Former users of alcohol will always have to fine tune their habits and find ways of dealing with stress. However, this leads to being a stronger and healthier human. A person who can deal with problems without a glass of wine or other crutch will be able to face any stressor that life can throw at them.
Choosing the Right Recovery Program
There are many different recovery and detox programs out there. Choosing the right one is the essential first step toward a life of health and happiness.
Every individual has their own journey to recovery. A highly individualized approach is key to long-term success. The right program will have medical and psychological professionals who look at each patient as a unique person, developing a plan that is just right for them.
A good program will include medical services to help you maintain your newfound health while learning how to be sober. They will have a physician to oversee your recovery as well as a variety of mental health staff. In many cases, recovering alcoholics need intensive medical care to get through the depression and anxiety that are part of long-term alcohol withdrawal.
In addition, the right recovery program will offer therapies designed to teach you how to be sober. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a style of therapy that teaches people how to examine their thought patterns so they can control their emotions and actions. Group therapy with people in different stages of recovery can also be effective because it allows recovering alcoholics to help each other.
Lastly, family therapy and other family services can be an important part of the path to sobriety. Patients need to heal relationships with the people around them and to learn new communication skills. An alcoholic is often a symptom of a sick family, which means relatives also may need specialized care.
No program is right for everyone. It is crucial to think hard about what you need in a rehab program and to investigate different options. The path to sobriety varies for every person. You deserve a treatment program that will work with your needs and respect your individual situation.
Is It Time for Treatment?
Alcoholism has destroyed many individuals and many families. These are all preventable casualties. If you are seriously wondering whether it is time for treatment, chances are, the answer is "YES!". No one should have to live with this illness. Alcoholism will destroy you eventually if you do not get treatment for this disease.
Regardless of your individual situation, safe, effective, and affordable treatment is available. A sober life is just a phone call away. If you are ready to stop drinking and finally get your life back on track, reach out today. We are ready to listen and to help.