Alcohol Detox | Step by Step Guide to Full Recovery

Mary Cross
August 6, 2016

Moderate Amount of Alcohol

The French paradox comes to our mind when we think about the effects of consuming alcohol. Used for the first time in late 1980, this expresses the unusual situation of French people, who have a diet rich in saturated fats, but still have a low incidence of coronary diseases.

Among the theories that explain the low number of coronary heart disease include the fact that French are avid consumers of red wine. Even if some French dishes are full of saturated fats, a delicious glass of red wine with excellent therapeutic properties accompanies them.

Thus, the French show fewer cases of heart disease due to consumption of red wine, known for having flavonoids in its composition. Flavonoids support cardiovascular function and help prevent heart diseases. Of course, no French paradox refers to chronic alcohol consumption, which brings only health disadvantages.

Unfortunately, it is easy to cross the line between moderate and chronic alcohol consumption. Either it is a way of fitting in among your friends or the need to cover a painful memory, alcohol abuse is a serious problem, which affects many people all over the globe. From alcohol abuse, some people become addicted to alcohol and endanger their health and affecting all the aspects of their lives.

High alcohol consumption leads to different unpleasant symptoms, including headaches, impaired judgment, nausea, vomiting and memory loss. Along with these symptoms, alcohol abuse can cause liver disease and increase risks for brain damage and certain cancers. To prevent all these problems, we need to stop abusing alcohol before it is too late.

Once addiction has installed, we must fight it as much as we can to protect our health, before it produces too much damage. If we have people around us who exaggerate regarding the use of alcohol, we should not be indifferent and do everything possible to help them. The painful truth is that when drinking is causing problems in one’s life, we can speak about a drinking problem that’s vital to deal with.

Signs of alcohol abuse

Even though alcohol is an addictive substance, not all the people who consume it will become addicted. It is important to understand that not all the people who abuse alcohol are addicted to it. Abusers are people who drink a lot of alcohol no matter the results, but it is not necessary to use consistently. For instance, an alcohol abuser could drink only once a week, while an addicted becomes tolerant to alcohol and is both psychological and physically dependent on the substance.

Although alcohol abusers can set some limits to their drinking, is still cause them problems, concerning not only their health but also different aspects of their lives. The first sign of alcohol abuse is the need to drink as a way to eliminate stress and relax. Unfortunately, the habit of getting drunk after every stressful day is not a solution, but rather a worsening of the problem.

People who abuse alcohol start to neglect their home or work responsibilities, because of their drinking. One can quickly notice the poor results at work or how they neglect their family. They can also combine alcohol with danger and drink while they are driving or using alcohol with a certain type of medication, against the medical recommendations.

After consuming alcohol in risky circumstances, it’s not surprising to have legal problems, such as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The worst sign of alcohol abuse is to continue to drink even when you have problems in your relationships. Is likely that your family agrees with your drinking, but an alcohol abuser continues to drink with his friends, without considering the close people around him.

It is true that alcohol abusers are not alcoholics, but there are closer to addiction. Sometimes, all they need is a stressful period or an unpleasant event in their life to allow the alcoholism to develop.

Controlling the alcohol abuse before is getting too serious will save you from many unwanted complications.

Signs of alcohol dependence

People who end up being addicted to alcohol reach the most severe form of their drinking problem. Along with the symptoms of alcohol abuse, they present other signs that show how dangerous their situation is.

The first main sign of alcohol dependence is their higher tolerance to the substance. They need to drink more to reach the relaxation they are looking for. Over time, they will require more alcohol to get the same effects.

After consuming serious amounts of alcohol, your body will get used to it, and you will experience withdrawal when you stop drinking. This will manifest through depression, anxiety, sweating, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, shakiness, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite and irritability.

Only in severe cases, alcohol withdrawal may lead to confusion, fever, agitation, hallucinations, and seizures.

It is easy to recognize a person dependent on alcohol because many signs suggest a drinking problem. Individuals who become alcohol addicted lose control over drinking and drink more than they want to, for a longer period than they hope. Alcohol may determine some people to give up the activities they used to love, such as going to the gym or spending time with their family. Once one becomes addicted to alcohol, it’s hard to quit drinking, even though they wanted so much.

The effects of alcohol intoxication

Intoxication with alcohol has an adverse impact on one’s health. It happens when a person consumes alcohol in a quantity that causes physical and mental impairment and the levels of ethanol can be measured in the blood. Because alcohol produces mental and physical impairments progressively, depending on how much one is drinking, intoxication has many unpleasant effects. Therefore, it causes loss of memory, poor judgment, slurred speech, ataxia, euphoria, strange behavior, vomiting, confusion, disorientation, coma, and the shutdown of respiratory centers and death.

Alcohol intoxication can lead to death when it comes to dangerous situations. To diagnose it, you need to visit a physician who will examine you, testing your memory and judgment. Also, he will send blood or urine samples to a lab, to see if there is any sign of heart, kidney, or liver damage, caused by alcohol. After they diagnosed you with alcohol poisoning, you need to follow a treatment to protect yourself against the adverse effects. The treatment for alcohol intoxication may include a sedative that will help you to stay calm, as well as glucose to increase the amount of sugar in your blood, vitamin B1, and anti-nausea medicine to calm your stomach and stop you from vomiting.

On a short term, people who consume more than two average sized servings of alcohol within a few hours will have trouble in reasoning and motor coordination. The impairment is higher according to the quantity of alcohol consumed. Having a severe drinking problem on the long-term has a negative influence on one’s health, in particular on the nervous system, heart, liver, brain, and stomach.

A common side effect of abusing alcohol in women is osteoporosis. Along with the negative influence on one’s health, alcoholism has unwanted social consequences, as well. A person who is drunk or hung over frequently can easily remain unemployed and may experience severe financial difficulties. Sometimes, it leads to domestic violence, marriage problems, legal problems, and social isolation. All these can affect seriously one’s life, even though for an alcohol abuser it’s hard to realize the many challenges he has to face solely because of the alcohol abuse.

A serious health problem is acute alcohol intoxication, which occurs as a result of the ingestion of a large amount of alcohol. Patients with acute alcohol intoxication experience problems in the functioning of different organs and systems of their body, such as gastrointestinal, neurological, pulmonary, cardiac, and metabolic symptoms.

Accelerating the ethanol excretion is vital, and sometimes doctors recommend the use of metadoxine. It is important for the patient to recover and to prevent alcohol-related medical conditions.

Importance of alcohol detox

The presence of too much ethanol in our system endangers our health, sometimes almost irreparable. The first step towards the recovery from alcohol poisoning is detoxification, as it happens with almost any type of substance abuse. You need to stop drinking and allow your body to remove all the toxins from your system, to create favorable conditions for a complete recovery. Alcohol detox is not an easy process, especially because the symptoms of withdrawal make everything impossible to bear.

At the beginning of your alcohol detox cure, you may experience an increased blood pressure, fast heartbeat, sweating, fever, headache, anxiety, agitation, seizures, confusion, and mood swings. Some of these feelings may create the impression that your life is in danger, but no need to worry. Now you move in the right direction, which will lead you to a healthy recovery. Seizures are among the most dangerous symptoms of alcohol detox. They appear when the cells of your brain change while trying to adjust to the presence of alcohol and the effects it has on your system.

Removing the alcohol from your system makes it difficult for your brain to face the new excitatory neuronal activity and leads to the appearance of seizures. These may occur in the first days after the last drink and detox are important for all of those who want to recover from a drinking problem. You can take the treatment for alcohol abuse only after the detox period ends if you want to recover successfully.

It is true that is not easy to go through alcohol detox and even the first hours can be difficult. You may experience cravings within hours of your last drink. Along with cravings, you may notice physical tremors, higher blood pressure, and heart rate, depression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares and physical sickness. Once you overcome the first two hours of detox, follows more serious symptoms, which can endanger your life. These symptoms include seizures, hallucinations, chest pain, and rapid heart rate that will continue suggesting that you are facing heart and blood pressure problems. In some cases, it may appear delirium tremens, which manifests through irritability, body tremors, severe confusion or disorientation, fever and sweating, fast mood changes, seizures, and hallucinations.

The detox symptoms can continue for days after their appearance. It will not be easy to overcome them, but with the help of close people and medics, you will succeed. All these symptoms may seem frightening, but they are the way your body reacts to eliminating toxins and preparing for recovering. You need to improve and after the detox period ends it will be easier to start a treatment and continue your life without suffering anymore from a drinking problem.

Alcohol detox at home

Sometimes, it may seem a better idea to self-detox, from the comfort of your home. Surely, is not easy to admit you have a drinking problem and could be embarrassing to ask for professional help. Unfortunately, alcohol detox at home is not a good idea for everyone. As it works for some people, it can complicate things for others. If you can overcome physical withdrawal symptoms, you need to prepare for facing several psychological symptoms may occur. You can experience alcohol cravings, depression, suicidal thoughts, depersonalization, paranoia, anxiety, mood swings, and negative thinking.

Is not easy to give up drinking alone, while you experience all these symptoms, and you are trying to resist the temptation of consuming alcohol. Self-detox is not easy, and the desire to get sober can decrease in time, leading you to start drinking again. Those who have abused alcohol for years could experience severe withdrawal symptoms that may be life-threatening. For them, it is better to receive professional help than to choose self-detox. Sometimes, it can be disappointing when you are not able to resist the first 24 hours of the detox process. Keep in mind that cravings can be powerful enough to determine you to give up sobriety.

If you think the best thing for you is to self-detox, make sure you have a friend or a family to monitor you. This person can seek help when your situation deteriorates. Before starting the detoxification, it helps if you receive a medical opinion to assure your health allows it. No matter how much you want to succeed in quitting alcohol, when the symptoms become too difficult to bear, seek help. To make things easier, you should get rid of all the alcohol from your house and make sure the friends who consume alcohol or different drugs will not visit you during the detox.

For a successful rehab, you can start exercising and getting some fresh air, but is also useful if you stock up on enough books and DVDs to distract you from drinking and ease your situation. Although it may seem easy at first, self-detox is a complicated process that is not successful for everyone who tries it. Sometimes it is a challenge for a person to resist in the first 24 hours without drinking. It is better to ask for help when you want to follow a cure of alcohol detox because the symptoms that can occur can be life-threatening and you may need monitoring.

Asking the help of professionals

There are many reasons why it is a wise decision to seek professional help when you want to quit alcohol. Symptoms that may occur during detoxification may be easier to bear if you receive professional care. Thus, you will be safe, while your chances of curing your drinking problems are higher. Entering a professional alcohol treatment program ensures your safety for the duration of the entire process of detoxification when you have to face severe withdrawal symptoms.

Your safety is more important than anything else and opting for professional treatment provides you with emergency medical care and even treatment for psychiatric problems. As a patient, you will receive all the attention and care that you need to successfully overcome any obstacle that may appear. For instance, a doctor can prescribe different medications that will help you reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

The treatment for alcoholism has the goals to prevent the complications of using alcohol, to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and to help you stop drinking. Patients with moderate to severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may need inpatient treatment, which they have to follow in a hospital of a unique facility dedicated to these types of problems.

As a patient that follows an inpatient treatment, you will be sedated with medicines until the end of withdrawal, and you will take fluids or medication through a vein. Also, a specialist will monitor your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure and blood levels of different chemicals in the body, to make sure you are out of danger.

Patients with mild-to-moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms can follow an outpatient treatment. It is important to have someone to stay with them during detox and be closely monitored. The treatment for these patients includes blood tests, sedative drugs for reducing the withdrawal symptoms and testing for other medical conditions related to alcohol abuse.

Preventing a relapse after alcohol detoxification

You manage to stay sober for some time, but you still have not managed to win the battle with alcohol. To help you prevent an alcohol relapse is important to recognize the warning signs. You must be strong, even when you remember the good times you had when you were drinking. It was fun to go to parties and drink, but life can be even funnier without alcohol. It can help if you make a list of things that makes you happy when you are sober.

A huge mistake is to think you can start drinking again without developing an addiction. You may believe that you will have only one drink, but it is better to remember all the difficulties you have overcome to get here and how beautiful your sober life is. No beverage in the world is worth risking everything. Avoid reconnected with friends from your addiction period and make new friends that have a good influence on you. Start doing again the things that you love and discover new hobbies. This will keep you distracted, while you have a lot of fun doing exciting recreation activities.

If you experience sudden withdrawal symptoms then it’s a clear sign of relapse and people around you will realize that you start drinking again.

When emotional regression appears, you experience anxiety, isolation, anger, defensiveness, and intolerance. Mental relapse occurs when you start thinking about using alcohol. Even though you want to do the right thing, it gets more complicated each day. It can help if you tell someone about your relapse problem and ask for help. Recovering from an alcohol addiction is not easy, and you need to take it one-step at a time.

If a physical relapse happens, when you drive to a liquor store, it is the most difficult moment to stop it. All the efforts that you made so far can be in vain and indeed you don’t want to get into this situation. It is wise to pay attention to any sign that may indicate the appearance of relapse. This way you will be able to prevent it and continue happily your sobriety life.

After a relapse, the best thing we can do is to stop drinking and ask for help. It won’t be easy, but speaking with someone that can help you can be the decision of your life. Stop feeling ashamed or guilty because of your relapse. These things happen, but most importantly is what you do to overcome them. Whether you manage to prevent relapse or stop in time from drinking again, it is important to realize that your alcohol problem had returned or will return, if you have no one around you to observe this. With some effort, you’ll become sober again, and you’ll be able to enjoy every minute of your sobriety.