Did you know that when you consume alcohol it has a very definite impact on the way your body operates? Not only that, some of the compounds in alcohol can remain in your system for up to 72 hours. That’s why it is possible to have a few drinks in the evening and still feel the effects of ‘being drunk’ the next morning.
For the alcoholic, this is an exceptionally severe problem. After years of consuming alcohol, the physical effects are a lot more complicated. In every case, detox is the first step in becoming alcohol-free.
What is detox? It is a process of allowing the human body to naturally rid itself of the alcohol while, at the same time, the alcoholic is not allowed to consume any more. Complete detox takes between five and seven days in most cases. Unfortunately, it is a very uncomfortable experience.
Things to Know about Detox
The most important thing to know about detox is that the alcoholic should not attempt it on his/her own. At the very least, it is incredibly uncomfortable and requires a certain amount of endurance and perseverance. Attempting it without the support of others makes it very difficult to succeed.
That said, detox could also be physically dangerous. Depending on the amount of damage the alcohol has done to the body, withdrawal symptoms could cause serious injury and, in some cases, even death. Appropriate medical care is necessary to reduce these risks.
Here are some other things you need to know about detox:
- Medications – If cold turkey detox could be potentially dangerous, a rehab clinic can use certain medications to slowly wean the alcoholic of his or her addiction. These medications reduce the risk of injury or potentially fatal complications.
- Symptoms – Alcohol withdrawal carries with it a very specific set of symptoms that can last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. Those symptoms include anxiety, depression, involuntary shaking, excessive sweating, headache, and nausea. For most people symptoms will peak near the end of the first day or at the start of the second, then wind down from there.
- Physical Dependence – Detox only deals with the physical dependence on alcohol. For some people this is enough. For others however, several weeks of rehab is necessary in order to deal with the mental and emotional dependence. A doctor or addiction recovery specialist will be able to assess whether or not detox is enough for the individual.
Whether the alcoholic undergoes detox only or combines it with rehab, it is vitally important to seek aftercare. The idea behind aftercare is to provide support services, like group counselling, to help the former alcoholic learn how to live life without drinking.
Proper aftercare greatly increases the chances of long-term success. It gives the former alcoholic hope, support, and motivation to live an alcohol-free life.
If you or someone you love is in need of alcohol detox, please consider getting in touch with Alcohol Help right away. We are a professional referral service working with the best alcohol rehab clinics in the country. We know what each clinic offers, so it’s easier for us to match up the alcoholic with the appropriate program than it is for friends and family.
Feel free to contact us by telephone, e-mail, or through our online contact form. We will be happy to assist you in breaking the alcohol addiction you are dealing with. You may contact us whether you are an alcoholic or a family member or friend.