Overview on Alcoholism
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem and has been for a long time. Alcoholism can be described as an uncontrollable urge and/or need to drink alcohol, despite the negative outcomes that may occur while you are drinking or after. If you have considered quitting your alcohol habit you may be wondering why you must go through detox if you’re an alcoholic. Not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop a problem and have a dependency to it. It is a possibility, but all depends on the circumstances of the person, their age, and what their medical history is.
If you become addicted to alcohol, it can create a multitude of problems in your life to arise due to your substance use. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 14.4 million Americans ages 18 and over suffer from alcohol use disorder, which is 5.8 percent of the total population. In addition, roughly 88,000 people die annually from complications from alcohol use, making it the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The other two health related preventable deaths include tobacco use and poor diet. Many people can suffer extreme consequences because of their alcohol use, no matter how young or old you are. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, there are addiction treatment centers available to help you or your loved one conquer your addiction and get sober.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
- Using alcohol causes legal or professional problems such as crime, prison or being fired
- Feeling depressed, tired, or having other mental health problems such as anxiety or panic attacks
- Needing alcohol to function everyday
- Hiding your alcohol use or drinking alone
- Avoiding people who do not drink
- Changes in relationships, including different friend groups so that you are around others who drink
- Increased frequency of use or quantity of alcohol
- Lack of hangover symptoms indicating a buildup of tolerance for alcohol
- Wanting to be in situations where alcohol is involved and avoiding times it’s not
- Drinking at times that are considered inappropriate such as at church, work, or first thing in the morning
Detoxing and Withdrawal from Alcohol
One of the most challenging aspects of getting sober from alcohol is detoxing or clearing your system completely from alcohol. It can be extremely dangerous to detox from alcohol, and potentially life-threatening if not dealt with properly. Withdrawing from alcohol can be uncomfortable for you and cause unfavorable symptoms to occur.
Detox can be a difficult process, and it can make you feel extremely uncomfortable, to the point that you don’t think you will be able to go on. This is the hardest part about alcohol addiction and why many people can’t quit. Your entire body is convinced that it needs alcohol to survive, and when it is deprived of it, it can go into shock. This is what causes the symptoms to occur within your body, because your body is responding to the need for alcohol in a negative way.
Why Must I Detox if I’m an Alcoholic?
A common question is, why you must go through detox if you’re an alcoholic? There are reasons why it’s necessary for you to go through detox if you are an alcoholic. For true treatment to begin, you must clear your body of all the alcohol or other substances. You can’t begin to start healing from the pain of alcohol abuse, until you stop drinking altogether.
If you continue to drink, even small amounts, you won’t be able to recover fully from alcohol addiction. If you keep drinking, it will be easy to fall back into the grips of addiction, potentially relapse and drink more and more and be right back where you were to begin. This is the main reason why you must go through detox if you’re an alcoholic. Once you are completely sober, you can start to understand the reasons behind your addiction, and why you need to drink to feel normal. Many times, it is due to underlying mental health disorders that cause you to be triggered and drink to cope with these feelings.
What Happens to you During Alcohol Detox and Alcohol Withdrawal
If you are an alcoholic, you probably have thought about what it would be like to quit drinking and are probably afraid of how it will make your body feel. The symptoms can be intense and deadly, if not treated in the right way. The best approach while detoxing, is to have a trained professional or medical staff present to ensure you are comfortable and safe.
Some of the mild symptoms that you could experience include:
- Shaky hands
More severe symptoms can include:
- Delirium tremens
- Racing heart
- Heavy sweating
What Causes Withdrawals from Alcohol?
When you drink alcohol, it has a depressive effect on your body which slows down the way the messages and nerves are sent to your body, in turn resulting in slowed brain function. After drinking for long periods of time, your body starts to recognize the need for alcohol because your central nervous system has alcohol all the time. Your body will continue to work hard to ensure that your brain is in an awakened state, and to allow your nerves to continue being in communication with one another. When alcohol suddenly is no longer present, the body goes into a shocked state and that’s when an alcohol withdrawal will typically begin.
Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause your body to build a tolerance, changing the biological aspects in the body, and false stability or homeostasis. It’s essential to get the body back to a balanced state, but it can also be a delicate process. Ensuring you are safe during your withdrawals is essential for the success of your alcohol recovery.
How to Get Treatment Help for Alcohol Abuse
Although it will be a challenge, it is possible to overcome your alcohol addiction. With the right alcohol treatment and rehab center and group of medical professionals, an individual can fully recover from alcohol abuse and move into recovery, becoming sober and clean from alcohol and other substances.
The first step in getting treatment for alcohol abuse is to see a doctor or physician to determine the extent of your abuse, and what the best treatment will be. The next and most difficult part in the process is to go through alcohol detox and withdrawal. Once your body is clear of alcohol, you can begin treatment at either an inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment center.
Alcohol Recovery Programs and Proper Care
Typical treatment methods that are offered for alcohol addiction treatment include behavioral therapies, counseling, 12-step programs, support groups, and possibly medications. All depends on the level of your substance abuse and what type of treatment will be best suited for your situation. The right help is out there, and you can become sober and live a happy, healthy, life free from alcohol.
Alcohol abuse treatment for clients usually consists of an inpatient residential treatment center or an outpatient program. A residential program will have you live and stay on campus full time, with the support of staff around the clock. An Outpatient program allows you to remain living at home and attending sessions weekly to connect with your support team. If you have a severe case, the best option and multiple levels of care for your addiction would most likely be a residential programs where you will have daily, constant support.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism and you need help or support, reach out to a treatment center near you for more info. There are many treatment and rehab services available that can help guide you through the process.