Many people are of the opinion that abrupt and complete cessation of alcohol consumption is equivalent to getting rid of addiction. But they fail to realize that the process of de-addiction is not so easy. The path to recovery involves detoxification and certified therapeutic intervention.
When a heavy drinker suddenly stops consuming alcohol or cuts down on his alcohol intake, the person is bound to experience symptoms (both physical and emotional) that are called Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS). The symptoms include mild nervousness, insomnia, extreme sense of hallucinations and frequent seizures. As seizures can be fatal, doctors prescribe medication for a short duration to ease the pain during withdrawal symptoms and ensure the patient’s safety. The process of detoxification allows the body to get rid of the toxins formed due to alcohol consumption. Alcohol detoxification marks an abrupt end to alcohol intake and is the first step in the de-addiction process.
At times, alcoholics are reluctant to give up the abuse because of the stigma associated with heavy drinking and the fear of discomfort during alcohol withdrawal phase. The importance of detoxification in enabling the alcoholic to stay sober cannot be underestimated. Going cold turkey and restraining drinking can be risky. The process of detoxification involves getting the body rid of toxins that may have accumulated due to alcohol abuse.
Effects of detoxification
Detoxification can be a painful process depending upon the nature of addiction and the stage at which treatment is sought. The patient may show either one or a combination of the following symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Frequent mood swings
- Increased blood pressure
- Body aches
The gravity of the addiction determines the severity of the detox withdrawal symptom.
Expectations from alcohol detoxification
Before taking to an alcohol addiction treatment, patients generally want to know about the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and its duration. Mild withdrawal symptoms last for approximately a week, while in case of severe drinking problem the withdrawal symptoms can continue for more than a week.
Minor symptoms like cravings followed by anxiety, fatigue, feeling of depression and confusion might creep in within the first few hours of alcohol withdrawal. Mood swings during the day and nightmares at night are indications of the detoxification process.
The symptoms that develop during the detox process, such as sweating, constant headaches, dilated pupils, appearance of pale and clammy skin, palpitations and physical tremors are life threatening and hence, the patient is usually kept under medical observation. Irrespective of the mode of treatment – inpatient or outpatient – medical supervision is advised for detoxification.
Way to recovery
Realization of the fact that alcohol dependence is a disease is the first step to detoxification. The Florida Institute of Technology says, “Alcohol is such a big part of American life today that we rarely stop to consider our pattern of drinking. We drink wine with dinner, or have a few drinks after work, or even a few glasses of beer while watching a ball game, but when a pattern of drinking begins to emerge, it can become a problem.”
If you or your loved one wishes to learn more about the alcohol detoxification process, you may approach Rapid Detox Helpline to seek professional medical help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-403-5591 to begin the journey to recovery from alcohol addiction.