It is easy to get addicted to alcohol without even realizing it. Most people who excessively drink alcohol are not aware or are most of the time in denial that they have drinking problems already. Some may even hide it from their loved ones. However, it is easy to identify if a person has alcohol use disorder even if they try to hide it.
Some of the most common signs that a person is suffering from alcoholism are:
- Problems with work, family, or school due to their habits or being sick after alcohol consumption
- Drinking longer or more than they intend to
- Inability to think of anything else aside from alcohol
- Give up other activities that used to be interesting or important to them just to have a drink
- Spend most of their time drinking or being hung over
- Attempted to reduce or stop alcohol intake multiple times but failed
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms once the alcohol effect had worn off such as restlessness, difficulty sleeping, seeing or hearing things that are not there, nausea, and seizure
- Continue to drink alcohol even if it caused health issues
The best way to defeat alcoholism is to stop drinking. However, this process may not be easy for some, especially for those with chronic alcohol use. Alcohol detoxification is the first step in treating alcoholism.
What is Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detoxification or alcohol detox is the process wherein a person abstains from drinking. This procedure is done to give their system time to adjust and function normally without being under the influence of alcohol. Detoxifying the body of alcohol can be agonizing and can sometimes be dangerous because of the withdrawal symptoms accompanied by detox.
There is also the danger of relapse, wherein a person goes back to their old habits of drinking. This is why it is important to take alcohol detox seriously and with the help of a medical professional if it is a severe alcoholism problem.
What Does Alcohol Detox Feel Like?
Symptoms of alcohol detox may vary from person to person, depending on how severe their alcohol problem is. It can go from mild to extreme physical discomfort that can sometimes be life-threatening.
Symptoms Associated With Alcohol Detox
When you start your alcohol detox, your body will experience withdrawal symptoms. Severe symptoms may require medically supervised detox to survive without harming one’s body. Symptoms may start to show within 8 hours from the moment you stopped drinking, though it may take several days for some.
Mild Withdrawal Symptoms
- Being irritable
- Mood swings
- Feeling tired
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Inability to think clearly
- Difficulty sleeping and experiencing nightmares
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of appetite
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms
Delirium tremens (DTs) is considered one of the most serious effects of alcohol withdrawal. Between 3 to 5% of heavy drinkers experience DTs. Those suffering from this condition should seek medical help, as it can be detrimental if not treated properly.
- High blood pressure
- Severe agitation and confusion
Where to Detox from Alcohol
If you have mild symptoms, you may not require medical treatment. As long as you have a supportive environment, you can detox from alcohol from the comforts of your own home. The only things you may require are the following:
- A peaceful place with soft and cozy lighting
- A supportive and positive environment
- A supply of healthy and nutritious food and fluids
- A place with minimal contact with other people
Apart from the things mentioned above, you need to have a trusted person to care for and look after your well-being. This is to ensure that you will not experience severe symptoms. You might also be required to have a daily visit with your doctor until you are physically well.
If you have severe symptoms you may need to be confined in a hospital or detox center to monitor your condition and get the appropriate treatment. A detox center will be able to provide you with medicines to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal.
What to Expect from Detox Centers or Hospitals
If you are admitted to a detox facility, your condition will be monitored 24/7. They will check and monitor your vital signs, and may even require IV fluids to ensure you won’t get dehydrated during the treatment.
Medications will also be given to help you survive the symptoms and to treat other complications. Some of the most common medications that are prescribed are benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and anti-seizure.
Long-term treatment may be required for people with chronic alcohol use disorder. However, whether you have mild or severe symptoms, stopping drinking alcohol completely is the best thing you can do for yourself and for the people you love. After treatment, the first thing you want to avoid is having a relapse. All your hard work in abstaining from alcohol will go to waste if you go back to your old drinking habits.