Alcohol is abused more than any other legal substance in the nation. In fact, almost a quarter of the population admitted to binge drinking sometime within the past month. There are significant fatalities and injuries every single day due to alcohol. Because of the negative short- and long-term side effects, many people are seeking treatment for alcohol dependence to get their lives back together. Detoxification is a necessary first step in the fight against alcohol addiction.
The process of detoxing cleanses the body of toxins while still managing withdrawal symptoms. However, ending an alcohol addiction can be dangerous. Sudden changes to the body are even fatal in some cases, and stopping drinking should always be supervised by an experienced medical facility. Going “cold turkey” should never be attempted without medical assistance from someone experienced in addiction treatment.
Once an individual chooses to detox, it’s completed in either inpatient or outpatient environments—typically dependent on the severity and duration of the addiction. There are three stages of this process: evaluation, stabilization, and transitioning to treatment. Each of them are an important part of ending an alcohol dependency safely and effectively.
Why Proper Nutrition Is Key
Detoxing from alcohol is a delicate time for the body because it’s going through so many changes. Although a reduced appetite may make food one of the last things on your mind, the best way to ensure quick recovery and overall health is to pay careful attention to your diet. The right foods can provide the nutrients necessary to heal and condition you for a future free from addiction.
- Stay hydrated - Lots of fluid is lost as your system flushes out and your blood alcohol level returns to normal. Withdrawal can present fatigue, anxiety, nausea, depression, and loss of appetite on its own. Any time these symptoms are coupled with dehydration, they’re exacerbated. It’s important to drink as much water as you can.
- Depend on liquid foods like soup - The initial detox period can be very taxing, and it’s not unusual for patients to have difficulty keeping food down. If you rely on liquids during this period, vomiting will be easier and more comfortable if it happens. You can also drink juices to help maintain your caloric needs.
- Don’t neglect your vitamins - Alcoholics tend to have several vitamin and mineral deficiencies because alcohol inhibits absorption. B vitamins are most commonly missing, and they’re needed to make energy. Vitamins A, D, E, and K should be supplemented as well. Aside from capsules and pills, they’re found in:
- Fish (Vitamin A and D, if the fish is fatty)
- Milk (Vitamins A and D)
- Almonds and other nuts (Vitamin E)
- Vegetable oils (Vitamin E)
- Olive oil (Vitamin K)
- Leafy greens (Vitamin K)
- Avoid excess sugar - Many people who are detoxing find themselves craving sweets and sugary snacks. Avoid eating empty sugar calories, like sodas, and instead opt for fresh fruits. Too much sugar can disrupt your metabolism, and in essence, slow the recovery process.
- Balance your diet - Consume a healthy number of fruits and vegetables. Moderate dairy and proteins as well as healthy oils like coconut oil.
Getting The Right Amount Of Exercise
Improving your physical fitness is beneficial as well. Conditioning the body will strengthen your systems, but exercise can also be a way to cope with the effects of addiction. Most people find relief and even euphoria after a workout. People benefit greatly if they can switch their urges to more constructive habits, like swimming or running.
Begin your exercise at a level you’re comfortable with that still offers a bit of a challenge. Rely on past experience to give you a starting point if you’ve ever routinely worked out before. If not, take small steps and set frequent goals. Reaching multiple, modest milestones can fuel a hunger for success and help a person achieve larger goals. These aims, along with the increased physical benefits of exercise, will fight off depression and make it easier to resist temptation in the future.
Detoxification is a fantastic time to build better habits and help your body recover. Focusing on a proper diet and exercise plan could be a crucial factor in the beginning of a new, alcohol-free lifestyle.