Tag Archives: Alcohol Detox

Understanding the Alcohol Detoxification Process For Recovery

Understanding the Alcohol Detoxification Process For Recovery

What You Need To Know Regarding Alcohol Detox

Alcohol is one of the most difficult substances for your body to stop. And, unlike many drugs, alcohol is legal and available in most places. Additionally, alcohol withdrawal symptoms set in quickly, about eight hours after your last drink. Many times, symptoms are so severe alcoholics give up on recovery before it has begun.

If you struggle with alcohol dependency, know that you can make a full recovery. Understanding what to expect from the detox process helps you stay physically and mentally strong. In addition, it is crucial to go through detox with a support system. Trying to quit alone lessens your chances for lasting sobriety.

The First Steps Toward Recovery

Because of how physically debilitating detoxifying from alcohol makes people, the process is best done in a facility with medical care, either inpatient or outpatient. At a facility, you have immediate and ongoing access to professionals, as well as other alcoholics who know what you’re going through and can lend support.

Before entering a detox facility, you should have a full health exam. This lets your doctor and other clinicians know how to help you. If you have particular needs that will influence detoxification, clinicians can tailor the process to fit them. Your doctor will continue monitoring your health throughout detox and recovery.

An Overview Of Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol withdrawal happens in three stages with varying symptoms. The first stage can begin as soon as eight hours into detoxing, but it could take longer; some alcoholics don’t experience symptoms for a couple days. During the first stage, expect to symptoms to range from headaches and sweating to shaking and mild-to-moderate anxiety. Alcohol cravings are often intense in this stage. Stay close to professionals and other supports to avoid temptation.

Withdrawal usually peaks within 24-48 hours, though peak symptoms can last five to seven days. The symptoms include increased anxiety, confusion, and disorientation. Some alcoholics lash out or become violent. During peak withdrawal, physical symptoms become more severe, too. Your body temperature will fluctuate more; many alcoholics develop fevers at this stage. You may sweat and shake profusely, vomit, or have diarrhea.

Why Medical Care Aids Recovery

Some alcoholics experience Delirium Tremens, or DTs. This is a potentially dangerous medical condition involving the above symptoms as well as hallucinations or seizures. Hallucinations are usually visual but sometimes are auditory. Tactile hallucinations, such as the sensation of bugs crawling on your skin, are less common but not unheard of. Seizures may occur in short flurries, or you may experience more intense seizures at longer intervals. The longer you’ve had an alcohol addiction, the more at risk you are for DTs. Other risk factors also apply, such as being over 30.

During the final withdrawal stage, your symptoms will decrease considerably, but you may not be well enough to fight the mental need for alcohol, which can be extremely powerful. The third withdrawal stage is the longest and possibly most difficult. For some alcoholics, this stage lasts a month or more. You may experience symptoms periodically long after withdrawal is “over.” In such cases, inpatient treatment helps tremendously.

Have Support During The Detox Process

Many alcoholics believe they can detox alone, especially if they use anti-alcohol drugs. Drugs such as Naltrexone and Antabuse do help, but they are no substitute for medically assisted treatment.

Alcoholics are prone to risky behavior during withdrawal, especially if they were heavy drinkers before. Accidents, including head injuries, are common. Most alcoholics struggle to eat and drink properly during recovery, but not eating and drinking properly worsens symptoms. Additionally, the symptoms of delirium tremens and severe withdrawal can cause coma or death if left untreated.

An Overview Of Alcohol DetoxificationMany alcoholics have comorbid disorders – other dangerous disorders in addition to alcohol dependency. For example, some anorexics drink alcohol in place of eating, leading to a phenomenon called drunkorexia. Others have psychological disorders such as depression, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and psychosis. If you know or suspect you have one of these, you need a dual diagnosis from a medical professional. Coexisting disorders often lie at the root of addiction, so treating them properly is crucial.

The Psychological Need For Professional Alcohol Detox

Recovering from alcoholism causes a range of emotions. You may feel sad, frightened, angry, or overwhelmed. Without healthy coping mechanisms, you will solve these feelings with alcohol. However, a facility like Pathways provides the psychological help you need. Counselors familiar with addiction will guide you through a number of therapies. Your treatment will include cognitive behavioral therapy and might include role-playing, equine therapy, recreational therapies, or music and art.

During therapy, you will gain the coping mechanisms and self-regulation to get control of your alcohol dependency. You’ll learn how to build healthy relationships, as well as how to repair the relationships alcoholism has damaged. Additionally, therapy will challenge you to change your thought processes. Negative thought processes like, “I’m worthless,” “I’m not good at anything,” or “I can’t change” drive people to unhealthy solutions. Once you learn to say, “I have value,” and “My life can change,” you will be less likely to return to addiction.

What Are Facilities Like?

Many alcoholics fear detox and recovery in a facility. They may picture Spartan environments where people will treat them without respect. However, most facilities around the country are the exact opposite. Many offer luxury treatment, because alcoholism recovery is such a personal and challenging process. Luxury facilities include private rooms, internet access, and more one-on-one attention than is typical in traditional facilities.

However, traditional facilities are often as warm and welcoming as luxury ones. In traditional setups, addicts receive access to a wide variety of therapies. Their meals are satisfying and nutritious, and they receive a balance of private time and time with others. For many facilities, including ours, the focus is on building rapport with clinicians and potential friends.

Learn More About Pathways Recovery's Professional and Safe Drug and Alcohol Detox Program:

Our Detox Program

Alcohol Awareness Month: Spread The Word & Help A Struggling Loved One

Embrace-Alcohol Awareness Month-Spread Word, Help Struggling Loved OneApril is the official month dedicated to alcohol awareness. Initiated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month is focused on reducing the stigma of alcoholism and strengthening awareness of the risks of alcohol, as well as the opportunity for recovery.

Understanding The Statistics Of Alcoholism

Many people are surprised by alcohol abuse statistics. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Nearly 17 million Americans can be classified as alcoholics.
  • Approximately 50 percent of college students who consume alcohol are actually binge drinking.
  • Nearly 88,000 individuals die from alcohol-related causes each year, making it the third leading, preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems.

Do You Have A Friend Or Loved One Who Is Struggling With Alcohol Abuse?

Whether it’s a spouse, a sibling, a friend or a colleague, it is never straightforward and easy to be in a relationship with someone who is an alcoholic. During this month of increased awareness of this progressive disease, you have an opportunity to share information, and perhaps even guide someone you care about towards getting help.

Depending on the depth of their problem, you may want to recommend starting with alcohol detoxification. There are options for alcohol detox in Northern California, such as Pathways Recovery which offers a holistic detoxification program for alcoholics that provides comprehensive treatment protocols, including detailed assessment, individual and group therapy and family education.

An Integrative Approach To Addiction Treatment

Reaching-Alcohol Awareness Month-Spread Alcohol’s Risks, RecoveryAt Pathways Recovery, we are here 24 hours a day if you’d like to speak with an addiction counselor. We can provide you with details of our safe and comfortable detox treatment program that can help you or a loved one begin the journey of recovery. There is no need to struggle alone or to attempt recovery without professional help.

Our inpatient alcohol detox treatment facility is located near Sacramento and offers a comprehensive range of benefits to support a life of sobriety that include medical care by a board certified doctor of addiction medicine, a highly experienced detox staff, a three to one staff ratio, balanced nutritious meals, vitamins and supplements to heal the addicted brain, yoga, meditation, and more.

The first step is calling us now to discuss options for alcohol detox treatment.

Learn More About Our Alcohol Detox Program

Join us in spreading the dangers of alcohol and the first steps of recovery by sharing this post with loved ones, colleagues and friends.

Alcohol Detox And Nutrition

Alcohol Detox And NutritionAlcohol 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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)
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome And Other Alcohol-Related Problems

Alcohol Dependence SyndromeAlcohol dependence syndrome is mental or physical dependence on drinking. Alcohol problems affect more than 16.3 million adults across the nation. People who can recognize the symptoms of alcohol dependence syndrome and similar issues can potentially save themselves and their family members from physical, mental, and social health problems. They may also be able to curtail the situation before a loved one becomes debilitated by alcohol use.

There are a variety of disorders associated with the excessive use of alcohol. Since the terms are so often misused, there’s quite a bit of confusion about the differences between them. Many people mistake alcohol abuse for alcohol dependency or alcoholism. Abuse is defined as drinking too much and/or too often. Dependency is the inability to quit. Both conditions are serious, but not being able to stop poses a bigger issue and a greater risk to the drinker.

Symptoms Of Alcohol Dependence Syndrome

Before it can be fixed, alcoholism must be noticed. There are several things to look for if you suspect someone is alcohol dependent:

  1. Blood Alcohol Level - Developing a pattern to maintain one’s blood alcohol level. People who are dependent on alcohol will start to drink at the same time every day. The point is to remain intoxicated as much as possible and avoid any symptoms of withdrawal.
  1. Prioritizing Alcohol - For addicts, the consumption of alcohol will take precedence over their wellbeing. No matter what condition their bodies or lives are in, drinking will be more important.
  1. Increased Tolerance - The more someone consumes alcohol, the higher the resistance to the effects. A noticeable increase in the amount someone is drinking could be cause for concern.
  1. Signs of Withdrawal - When the concentration of alcohol in the blood lowers, it can trigger some unpleasant side effects. Tremors, nausea, sweating, itching, muscle cramps, hallucinations, and even seizures can occur. Two to three days after cessation, the individual can experience even more severe symptoms from delirium tremens.
  1. Drinking at Strange Hours - Consuming alcohol at random times to stop or prevent withdrawal symptoms is called relief drinking. Some people will wake up in the middle of the night to drink or start with alcohol first thing in the morning.

The Consequences Of Alcohol Dependency

Routine and excessive consumption of alcohol wreaks havoc on the body. The longer that someone is dependent on alcohol, the worse the side effects become. Some of the results are irreversible and even potentially deadly.

Physical Repercussions

Alcohol addicts suffer from neurological, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiac, and skin conditions, among others. One of the most prominent risks is brain damage. The deterioration is both structural and functional, and it can lead to chemical imbalances and cognitive issues. Alcohol also increases the risk of several types of cancer—mouth, throat, and liver cancer are the most common, but it has also been linked to breast cancer.

Someone dependent on alcohol will likely have a damaged heart too. Hypoglycemia, myopathy, arrhythmias, and even cardiac failure can occur. These problems become more dangerous in older individuals, especially if they combine other poor habits such as smoking.

Mental Health Effects

Alcohol works as a depressant and can strongly alter chemistry in the brain. People who become dependent are at risk for a variety of mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are the most common, but mania, hallucinosis, and “blackouts” are recognized as well. There’s a high prevalence of alcohol use found in those who commit suicide as well, presenting a 7% lifetime risk for the addict.

Social Consequences

The most prominent social problem with alcohol dependence is traffic accidents; sufferers are often unable to access when they should and shouldn’t drive. People who drive under the influence are far more likely to wreck, and many accidents involve fatalities. Even without an accident, a DUI or DWI can affect work and social interactions. Other incidents can happen at home. Dependency on alcohol boosts the chances of violence, child abuse, homicide, and general crime.

Alcohol abuse damages personal relationships as well. Divorce can be a result of alcohol addiction, both from the psychological changes that occur and poor decisions like infidelity. It’s not uncommon for people to lose friends in direct relation to their behavior.

Occupational Dangers

High-stress jobs like this are more likely to lead to alcohol abuse. With alcohol dependency syndrome, the individual’s performance can suffer greatly. He or she may be unable to focus because of withdrawal symptoms or simply because of the “urge” to go home and drink. Alcohol dependence syndrome should be treated as early as possible to increase the likelihood of long-term success.