April 9, 2015 by Contributors
Addiction to drugs and substances is a modern epidemic. People are addicted to substances ranging from illegal drugs, to prescription medicine and alcohol. While some people are able to overcome addiction on their own, others benefit from external assistance. Alcohol addicts often seek help to overcome their habit, including as a patient at a specialist clinic.
Recovering from alcohol addiction has multiple steps. Initial detoxification may be followed by counselling and therapy. Successful treatment requires the person to be convinced of the need for change. They also need to distance themselves from things in their life that contribute to their alcohol problems. It could mean removing all alcohol from the home, following a different route home to stay clear of drinking establishments, and limiting contact with former drinking buddies. Every person trying to stop drinking alcohol can benefit from the support and encouragement of friends and family.
Making the move to detox
Going through alcohol detox is difficult but essential for anyone who wants to stop drinking and get their life back in balance. For severe alcoholics, who feel that they cannot survive without a drink, a detox centre can provide the essential structure for initially stopping.
Alcohol detoxification is hard mentally but also physically. Medical assistance and oversight is valuable during the first stage of recovery. A patient with a severe addiction will suffer intense withdrawals. Medication assists to make this phase easier. Medical supervision helps avoid unnecessary pain and suffering that may create a barrier to long-term rehabilitation.
Once a patient has made it through a detox program, they may be treated on an ongoing basis as an outpatient. This could involve attending the clinic for personal counselling and/or group therapy.
What is detoxification?
Detoxification through abstinence allows your body to flush toxins out of the body and remove of all traces of alcohol. Your body may react negatively to this if it is geared to processing alcohol regularly.
Withdrawal symptoms vary and depend the severity of addiction. For someone highly dependent on alcohol, symptoms may be extreme and potentially even life threatening. Medical supervision reduces risks and improves the likelihood of the treatment working.
Typically, when undergoing a treatment plan, the patient begins with detox before progressing to rehabilitation. There are different options available. The best course of action can be chosen based on discussions between the patient and caregiver.
In general, the worst phase of detox is around 24 to 48 hours after the patient’s last alcoholic drink. While most people undergo detoxification at a clinic, it can also be done at home. A support person is needed to assist the patient through the toughest stages of treatment and to help prevent relapse.
Are you a detox candidate?
Alcohol has some sort of grip on your life if you experience any withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from drinking. If the craving to drink feels unbearable, and you cannot give up on your own, you are a candidate for enrolling in a detoxification program.
If you are living with an alcoholic person, you know how damaging addiction can be. Potential issues are poor communication, low job functioning, financial difficulties, and even verbal abuse and violence. Confronting an alcoholic is difficult and best done when the person is sober. A professional who works in alcohol intervention can help you do it well.
Entering a detox program is ultimately a personal decision that must be made by the person with the alcohol problem. Once someone acknowledges alcohol issues and genuinely wants things to change, they may be a good candidate for starting detox.
Withdrawal stages and symptoms
Alcohol detox effects (withdrawal symptoms) show when the body is not getting the amount of alcohol it is conditioned for. The human body works adjusts to the presence of alcohol, both in the brain and in the functioning of organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Mild alcohol detox symptoms appear early after a person stops drinking. They are not especially hazardous and may include anxiety, a bad temper and irritability, persistent headaches, heavy sweating (especially on the palms), nausea and vomiting, jitters, nervousness, insomnia, loss of appetite, and paleness.
Moderate alcohol detox symptoms occur later and include depression, an inability to think clearly, elevated heart rate, mood swings, emotional instability, fatigue, bad dreams, dilated pupils, sweats, uncontrolled eyelid movements, trembling hands and other irregular body motions.
Eventually, the person may exhibit severe detox symptoms. These symptoms may start showing from 48 hours to 6 days after the person has stopped drinking alcohol. Severe symptoms threaten a person’s life and must be treated properly and immediately.
Severe alcohol detox symptoms include fever, convulsions, delirium tremens, seizures, high anxiety, blackouts, muscle tremors, heavy depression, extreme irritability, inability to think clearly, wild mood swings, and hallucinations.
Alcohol detoxification is a painful process for the person going through it and, at times, for supporters. It is vital that there is proper follow up after the program is completed. Slipping back into a drinking habit just sets the person up for another detox round in the future.