What Happens When You Detox From Alcohol?
By Midwest Detox Staff
It can be extremely daunting to undertake the journey that is alcohol detox. Abruptly stopping your alcohol intake can result in many unwanted side effects. You will suffer from intense cravings and both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. However, it is imperative to understand that once you have overcome the negative effects, you will start reaping all of the positive ones.
What To Expect When Detoxing From Alcohol
When setting out on any journey, knowledge of what the journey entails offers tremendous help to the one undertaking it. The knowledge will act as a guide, walking you through the difficult process of alcohol detox. Knowing what to expect along each step of the way will prepare the addict and allow them to set themselves up to successfully complete the process.
Before listing the withdrawal symptoms that occur when detoxing from alcohol, it is important to understand what happens to the person when they have abused alcohol. With excessive alcohol use, certain receptors in the brain alter their functioning, causing the person to experience decreased anxiety and a level of sedation.
With prolonged use, the brain will adapt and change the amount of chemicals released by these receptors. This is also why the addict will begin to build up a tolerance and will need larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the same results. Abruptly stopping your alcohol intake will disrupt this altered brain activity and place the addict in a hyper-aroused state.
In a matter of hours after the addict’s last drink, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The amount of symptoms and the severity of them will largely depend on how long the person has been consuming alcohol, the amount of alcohol consumed, and how many times they have previously attempted to detox. Other factors that will play a significant role are their physical and mental health and whether they have any other co-occurring disorders.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are typically broken up into three stages. Stage one is the most mild and includes both physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms include headaches, hand tremors, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, and heart palpitations. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, irritability, and moodiness.
During stage two, symptoms begin to increase in severity. Symptoms include elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, elevated body temperature, and confusion. Left unchecked, these symptoms can progress, bringing the addict to stage three of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This includes disorientation, visual or auditory hallucinations, and even seizures. This condition is more commonly referred to as delirium tremens and can be fatal.
These withdrawal symptoms can seem terrifying. It’s understandable for the addict to feel hopeless in their desire to stop drinking. However, along with the negative comes plenty of positives. It may just take a bit longer to experience them. Understanding the positive outcomes will play a major role in the addict’s success in their recovery journey.
Excessive consumption of alcohol will negatively impact the addict’s physical health. They will be more at risk for a plethora of ailments, including but not limited to heart disease, stroke, pancreatitis, cancer, and most commonly, liver disease. The second that a person stops drinking alcohol, not only will the risks begin to decrease dramatically, but the liver will actually regenerate itself.
With prolonged alcohol use, a person’s immune system will also begin to suffer. Alcohol inhibits the body’s production of white blood cells, thereby not allowing it to properly fight off bacteria and germs. It is for this reason that many addicts suffer from continuous colds, infections, and pneumonia. Once a person has detoxed from alcohol, their body is once again able to produce adequate levels of white blood cells, thus boosting their immune system and allowing them to experience better health. Other health benefits include better quality of sleep and improved mental health.
While it may not be as obvious, there are also financial benefits to detoxing from alcohol. Deep in the throes of an alcohol addiction, it can be almost impossible to keep down a job and remain a productive and committed employee. Many addicts will lose their jobs and have no source of income. Their life simply revolves around their next drink and they are unable to focus on any of life’s actual necessities.
Additionally, while the cost of alcohol may seem low in comparison to other drugs, excessive intake still means a lot of bottles and the price of the addiction will quickly become more and more expensive. Once a person has detoxed from alcohol, they no longer have to spend their money to fuel their addiction. They will also become a functioning and productive member of society, capable of holding a job and doing it well.
Last, but perhaps most importantly, are the improved relationships that you will begin to experience once you have detoxed from alcohol. When someone is an addict, their entire life revolves around when they can get their next fix. They crave their next drink like their life depends on it and everything else in their life falls to the wayside. Unable to prioritize the things and people that matter, they become loners.
Once the addict’s life is no longer controlled by their craving for alcohol, they can begin to focus on their relationships. No longer under the influence, they are able to engage with others in a socially acceptable way, thereby improving their family life, their work life, and their social life.
Alcohol Detox Centers Vs Detoxing From Home
With the benefits of alcohol detox abundantly clear, it can be easy to feel motivated to abruptly stop drinking. In fact, one may feel so inspired that they may decide to detox from the comfort of their own home. They may even think that the comforts of their own home will help ease the process and aid in their recovery. However, it is imperative to remember the withdrawal symptoms and how uncomfortable of a process it can be to become sober.
Left to their own devices, many addicts relapse before their recovery has even begun. As the severity of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms increase, the cravings can become almost impossible to withstand. Additionally, without the proper care and monitoring, symptoms can progress and become potentially life threatening. For the addicts own safety, they must complete the detox process in an alcohol detox center.
Detox Safely From Alcohol With Midwest Detox
At Midwest Detox, it is our mission to safely guide you through the alcohol detox process. Our highly skilled team of physicians, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, and addiction counselors are professionally trained to anticipate each patient’s needs through each stage of the withdrawal process.
With around-the-clock monitoring and support, we are able to provide the level of care necessary to detox successfully and safely. Our limit of only nine patients at a time allows Midwest Detox to understand that each addict has their own unique journey and our aim is to provide personalized treatment for the betterment of each individual. Allow us to help you begin your alcohol recovery journey.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Reach out to Midwest Detox at 414-409-5200 or send us a message today.