Have you ever looked in the mirror and the reflection back has said something like, “Alright, already! You’ve GOT to quit drinking!” If you’re like me, you’d certainly prefer to have a switch somewhere nearby you could flick and voila! All our alcohol problems would magically disappear and we’d be able to live our lives free of the cravings or obsessive thoughts about getting the next drink, let alone the countless consequences of our continued drinking.
Realistically, though, there’s no “magic switch” to detoxing from alcohol. It’s guaranteed to be challenging, both mentally and physically (and you may as well also throw in emotionally and spiritually). But the good news is that it’s the start of recovery, and by going through the detox process, we can begin our way forward down a new road toward freedom and a better quality of life in every way.
Still, there’s a high likelihood that upon detoxing we experience negative, even dangerous symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol. This point needs to be made loud and clear: Attempting to detox from alcohol at home can lead to far greater risks. It is highly recommended, instead, that you seek medical help when detoxing from alcohol.
The fact is, quitting alcohol can set you on course for one of the most difficult periods imaginable, even if you’re earnestly seeking recovery from an alcohol use disorder. Throughout the detox process, it’s quite likely you’ll experience negative physical and mental symptoms, some of which may be so severe they trigger the risk of a relapse, as though returning to drinking would ease the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
So, if you’re tempted to try detoxing from alcohol on your own at home, think again! What we’ll provide here (in this 2-part blog-post; be sure to read ‘Part Two’ next week, as well) are some concrete reasons why having medical support at hand when detoxing from alcohol is hugely better—and safer—than trying it at home.
First and foremost, if you undergo alcohol detox at an accredited treatment center, you’ll be averting any of the more dangerous and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
To clarify, detox from alcohol refers to the period of time during which alcohol leaves the body, and withdrawal symptoms are the effects you may experience as a result of beginning the detoxing process.
The severity of your withdrawal symptoms will depend largely upon your alcohol tolerance and the amount of time you’ve been drinking alcohol heavily. The standard “formula” is: the more frequently you drink and the larger the amount of alcohol you drink, the greater the risk of having withdrawal symptoms.
So, you may be asking, “What are some of the possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms I might experience during alcohol detox?”
The following are potential symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:
● tachycardia (increased heart rate)
● raised blood pressure
● visual disturbances (such as sensitivity to light)
● auditory disturbances (sensitivity to sounds)
● disorientation (confusion)
● delirium tremens (also known as “DTs”)
Now, this side of dying, having delirium tremens (DTs) can be one of the most severe effects caused by withdrawal from alcohol. If you experience DTs, it’s both crucial and reassuring to have a specialized medical professional (i.e., a doctor who is well-trained in addictions medicine) on-hand to help ease any potential withdrawal symptoms with medical support and medications.
You see, if your withdrawal symptoms are severe and no one is available who has sufficient medical knowledge and appropriate medications, you could potentially die from them. You could experience seizures, heart problems and many other severe side effects, any of which would require immediate medical support… which you would not have if you were attempting to detox from alcohol at home!
In Part Two of this 2-part blog-post (which will be posted next week), we’ll cover what specific kind of medications are used to detox from alcohol (and why they’re necessary), why medical support and constant monitoring of a person undergoing alcohol detoxification is essential, and what happens after medical detox from alcohol.