Detoxing From Alcohol
Detoxification of alcohol and also any chemical substance is not just hard, but very painful too.
The withdrawal symptoms from Alcohol can be near to fatal if not done with care and properly.
Those who are addicted to this sedative face many consequences in the long run. Potential liver cirrhosis, brain damage, blackouts, memory loss, anxiety, hypertension, cancer, internal hemorrhaging, and even death if consumed greatly.
Withdrawing from Alcohol, and the process of detoxing might seem mountainous as a task, but it is worth it completely in the long run.
1. Withdrawal and its Symptoms
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome is the reaction of the body to the decreased quantity consumed. Depending on how much one drinks per day, they symptoms may vary. The more one consumes, the more damaging the symptoms are.
Minor alcohol symptoms usually appear 6-12 hours after one has stopped consuming. These symptoms may include –
1) Mild Anxiety
5) Profuse Sweating (Diaphoresis)
12 to 24 hours later, after drinking, they may experience auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations. This condition is called alcoholic hallucinosis and may end within 48 hours. 24 to 48 hours later, withdrawal seizures usually strike.
It is more prone to people who have previously detoxed.
Severe or major alcohol withdrawals are called Delirium Tremens, or DT for short. After 48 hours of cessation of alcohol consumption, these symptoms usually show.
3) Rapid Breathing
7) Irregular heartbeats
8) Intense sweating
9) Blood pressure spikes
One in 5 people who leave these symptoms untreated die to DT.
2. Detoxing From Alcohol
Detoxing is the most important preliminary part of managing alcoholism. Usually medically supervised during this time, one may be prescribed medication to control symptoms and is constantly monitored to ensure the safety of the patient.
Detoxing is the process of getting rid of the toxicity of alcohol, which is within your body still.
Alcohol detoxing can be done in two ways.
1) GOING COLD TURKEY :
Going Cold Turkey, or abstaining from any alcohol at all is one way of detoxing. Removing all alcoholic beverages to prevent temptation is a must. Those who have a serious dependency on alcohol should not consider going cold turkey, as the withdrawal symptoms may be fatal.
In regular or heavy consumers, the body compensates for the depressive effect of alcohol by producing more hormones and brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine.
When withdrawing, the body becomes flooded with abnormally large quantities of these chemicals and this causes the brain to undergo rapid changes in order to normalize function and maintain it.
There are many complications associated to this, like dehydration, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, erratic behavior and other DTs.
Those who experience seizures are more prone to DTs, and it is considered a medical emergency. Unattended, this may even lead to heat stroke, seizures, confusion, heart attacks, strokes, or even choking on their own vomit.
Around 15% of patients with DTs unfortunately die.
It is best to consult a medical physician before taking any steps to go cold turkey.
2) TAPERING OFF :
Tapering off is a form of detoxing which may not involve those many complications, but tends to be a very long process itself.
Tapering off, is basically where a high quantity consumer slowly reduces the amount consumed, till it hits 0.
It is more recommended to those who drink very heavily, as going cold turkey may be fatal to them. Their dependence on alcohol would strike symptoms fast and dangerously.
Those who taper off, usually take anywhere between 1 day to a week to do this, but it can be extended to slow down the process more.
Beer is the best choice of an alcoholic beverage to taper with, as it has a nominal amount of alcohol present compared to other beverages like wine or hard liquor.
Setting up a Tapering Schedule
One important aspect of tapering is that you have to have a schedule. A Deadline for what you are attempting is needed, to prevent you from relapsing and giving up the withdrawal.
Starting from your normal drinking habits, and reducing one or two drinks per day, all the way till when you hit no drinks. You may still have slight withdrawal symptoms, but it is nowhere as near as bad as going Cold Turkey.
There is nothing like going too slow, and if you decide to go slower, reducing as much as you can per day, taking your time and reaching no drinks, then your withdrawal symptoms may not even show.
Those who are detoxing and want to break the habit of over consuming alcohol, have two options to look into.
If you are a heavy or a moderate consumer, then you may face withdrawal symptoms severely. Consulting a doctor, and attending a rehabilitation course will greatly help you. Based on your intake, they may suggest an inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment.
When your consumption is great, and your withdrawal symptoms will be fatal, they will suggest for an inpatient treatment, where you will be under strict medical supervision, and kept in safe ranges while detoxing. You will be educated about the dangers of alcohol while withdrawing from it too.
In an outpatient treatment, every few days, you will have to visit the facility to consult your doctor and make sure your process of detoxing is safe and will not take a fatal turn.
2) SELF DETOX :
This is not as recommended as a facility, as you can not test yourself on how the process is going on.
Many choose this over a facility, as there is no place more comfortable or controlled as your own home.
Either one may taper off or go cold turkey, but either way, it is advised to consult your doctor before doing anything.
3. HYDRATION AND DIET :
With alcohol withdrawal, many symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite, nausea, depression which may last anywhere between 24 to 72 hours will limit your ability to eat. During this time, staying hydrated is very important.
Water and fruit juices are recommended as they will hydrate your body and keep your energy up too.
With hydration, when you feel you can eat again, start off small, and build your appetite and diet back up.
Have a balanced meal and make sure it is energy rich. In order to remove toxins while detoxing at home, you can take B vitamins, multivitamins, Vitamin E and C, Calcium, Magnesium, and also consume garlic.
Alcohol Withdrawal and detoxing are dangerous if not done correctly, so it is advised to visit rehabilitation centers.
In the long run, your health will improve and your energy levels and normal hormonal levels will return.
Detoxification from Alcohol, and going through its Withdrawal symptoms may be a hard step, but it is worth it.
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