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Why You Need Treatment During Alcohol Detox



Why You Need Treatment During Alcohol Detox

Photo by Dylan de Jonge on Unsplash

When you are treating alcoholism, the first step is alcohol detox. This is the most physically painful part of this process. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most people with alcoholism experience the worst part of detox before the first week is over. After that, you are still detoxing and flushing it from your system, but the physical symptoms are tapering off.

This is true for many with alcoholism, and doctors estimate that approximately 3 in 5 alcoholics suffer from severe withdrawal. When enrolled in a detox program, you should start to feel better within the first five to seven days. Here is what to expect and why you need treatment when you first start to detox from alcoholism.

Why is Alcohol Detox So Hard?

Alcohol detox is so difficult because alcohol is a chemical that your body simply becomes dependent on. After you’ve been consuming it regularly for years, drinking is not just about feeling great. You reach a point where your brain chemistry begins to demand it. You can’t even help it. You will experience physical withdrawal when you make the decision to stop drinking.

Alcohol falls in the category of substances that are depressants. Your cognitive (thinking) and emotional functions are uninhibited when you are drinking. That is a simple brain chemistry matter. At some point, your brain will just stop producing the chemistry it needs to when it is induced by alcohol. This makes you dependent on the substance.

This is also what makes you ill when you stop taking it. Alcohol detox is hard, and it creates physical symptoms.

Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

The symptoms of alcohol detox can range from mild anxiety and sweating to serious physical tremors. These are the most common symptoms:

  • Anxiety and panic
  • Sweats
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens — most severe and rarest symptom

Delirium tremens is a serious complication of alcohol detox. It can begin as early as 2 days after your most recent drink, up to the fifth day. This is a life-threatening condition that impacts a small percentage of alcoholics. You may have heard the term “DT’s” with alcoholism. This does not refer to “detox” but rather, delirium tremens. Symptoms of DT include:

  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Body tremors
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Visual and/or auditory hallucinations

When you are undergoing serious detox, your vital signs should be monitored. Treatment from alcoholism should begin with treatment during detox because you could become more ill if you have a serious problem and are trying this on your own. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and pain will increase during detox. Help is available to you get through this difficult process.

You will probably begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms within the first 8 hours of your last drink. Most withdrawal symptoms decrease in intensity by the seventh day of detox.

Contact a Treatment Center for Support

Alcohol detox is a serious process, and you should seek medical care when you are undertaking this big decision. You may not be “that bad” when it comes to alcohol use, but if you are a regular drinker, talk to a medical professional when you decide to stop drinking. You deserve support during this process. If you are considering this step, view more options that will help make this process as comfortable as possible.

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