Whether you have an addiction to alcohol, alcohol use disorder, or you simply enjoy a couple of drinks on the weekend, you should be aware of the benefits of stopping drinking.
However, if you are dependent on alcohol, it’s especially important to seek treatment and detox from alcohol. Alcohol addiction can affect your life in many ways, from your finances and relationships to your physical and mental health.
Detoxing from alcohol can benefit you in many ways – but what exactly is an alcohol detox, and what are the key benefits of detoxing from alcohol? That’s what we’re going to explore on this page.
Read on to learn more about alcohol use disorder, alcohol detox, and the key benefits of detoxing from alcohol.
Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse/ alcohol misuse are both forms of alcohol use disorder. Medical professionals have begun to cease using terms such as ‘alcoholic’ and ‘alcohol addiction’ as they are considered harmful terms that can stigmatise those with addiction.
Alcohol use disorder varies in severity – it can be diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe. Alcohol dependence is the more severe form of alcohol use disorder.
It is considered a chronic and relapsing illness that is characterised by the urge to drink alcohol. People with alcohol abuse problems and alcoholism will continue to drink alcohol despite the negative impact it can have. They may also try to stop drinking, but end up relapsing.
If you struggle to control your drinking – whether it be the amount you drink, how often you drink, when you start drinking or stop drinking, or even what you drink – then you have an alcohol problem. In England, there are an estimated 700,000 drinkers – equating to 1 in 30 women and 1 in 12 men.
Over 14 million people had a form of alcohol use disorder back in 2019, with roughly 414,000 young people in the range of 12-17 displaying symptoms of AUD.
We provide personalised support and resources for addiction recovery. Take the first step towards a brighter future today.
The NHS suggests that we should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week – and this should be spread across three or more days. For reference, 14 units of alcohol equate to around six medium glasses of wine or six pints of beer (4%).
Anything over this guideline is generally classed as heavy alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse and binge drinking can have many negative consequences – affecting your physical and mental health.
Although not everybody who abuses alcohol is an alcoholic, most alcoholics tend to binge drink or abuse alcohol.
Binge drinking is when you drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a short space of time – whether it be four or more drinks or five or more drinks. It’s when you drink so much alcohol to the point that it causes physical damage.
Our bodies can only process around one unit of alcohol per hour, which is why it’s important to drink in moderation. Drinking a lot of alcohol quickly can lead to dangerously high blood alcohol levels – and puts you at risk of alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning should be considered a medical emergency. Some symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, seizures, and unconsciousness. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal – especially due to the combination of vomiting and unconsciousness.
If you’re struggling to control your alcohol intake, or you drink heavily regularly, you should assess your drinking habits and seek treatment if necessary. See ‘How We Can Help You Stop Drinking’ to learn more about addiction treatment.
Detox is essentially the act of dispelling a toxic substance from your body – and in terms of alcohol, it means that you stop drinking completely for a time. The main goal of alcohol detox is to stop consuming alcohol, usually to treat an alcohol addiction.
Alcohol detoxification aims at dealing with the physical aspect of addiction. During alcohol detox, you’ll have no access to alcoholic beverages – as the goal is to quit drinking.
The length of time an alcohol detox takes can vary from person to person, depending on factors such as your drinking habits, age, height, weight, and previous history with addiction.
There are different types of alcohol detox. If you have a severe alcohol addiction, you may benefit more from a medical detox.
Others prefer to detox from alcohol at home, whether it be over time with support, or ‘cold turkey’ However, quitting alcohol cold turkey without support is never recommended if you have physical alcohol dependence.
If you are alcohol dependent and detox from alcohol, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Read on to learn more about alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Not everybody experiences withdrawal symptoms when they detox from school. Alcohol withdrawal only usually affects those who are dependent on alcohol.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are usually manageable – however, the general rule of thumb is that the more severe the alcohol addiction, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms. Some common withdrawal symptoms include:
Some more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include agitation, hallucinations, confusion, and even seizures. If you have a severe addiction, it’s generally best to undergo alcohol detox with medical supervision (by medical professionals), whether it be in a medical facility or a rehab centre.
Delirium tremens is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, characterised by an altered mental state and hyperactivity.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms or delirium tremens, seek professional medical advice. People with delirium tremens usually need to be hospitalised and receive appropriate medical treatment. DTs (delirium tremens) can be fatal if not managed correctly.
That being said, it is very rare, and only affects a small percentage of people withdrawing from alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms don’t usually present immediately – most people tend to notice withdrawal symptoms on the second or third day after their last drink. However, if you drink heavily, then you may notice withdrawal symptoms as soon as a couple of hours after your last drink.
Making positive changes and detoxing from alcohol isn’t always easy, but there are countless benefits to quitting alcohol.
Skipping alcohol has numerous benefits, and contributes to a healthier lifestyle. Read on for some of the key benefits of detoxing from alcohol, from improving your mental health and reducing alcohol-related health risks to maintaining a healthy weight.
Although your mental health may be negatively impacted during alcohol withdrawal, detoxing from alcohol can lead to better mental health in the long term.
There are many links between alcohol addiction and mental illness – for example, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
Likewise, many people turn to alcohol to self-medicate – to relieve negative emotions associated with mental illness and trauma. However, excessive alcohol use tends to exacerbate the problem rather than address it.
Those who drink heavily may also be at a higher risk of suicide. From 2007 to 2017, there were close to 6,000 suicides amongst mental health patients with a history of alcohol misuse. This equates to around 10% of all suicide deaths in England.
As alcohol can not only worsen your mental health but can be a contributing factor to poor mental health, quitting alcohol may help you better manage symptoms of mental illness. Therapy in rehab can also be extremely beneficial to your mental health.
Long-term alcohol abuse has also been linked to problems sleeping, with many people with alcohol use disorders reporting insomnia symptoms. When you stop drinking and complete alcohol detox, you may notice improved sleep. Better sleep can improve your overall mood and productivity.
Stopping drinking alcohol can lower the risk of developing alcohol-related health conditions. Alcohol is linked to many health risks; it’s been found to be a causal factor in over 60 health conditions.
Abusing alcohol can weaken your immune system over time, affecting your body’s ability to fight infections.
This means that you can become seriously ill from common infections. Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking are also linked to high blood pressure and cholesterol. Drinking alcohol can put you at an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
A study on the effects of alcohol abstinence on blood pressure found that detoxing from alcohol and stopping drinking can significantly lower this risk.
If you stop drinking, you also lower the cancer risk. Excessive drinking can increase the risk of developing different types of cancer, as found in the National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens.
Alcohol consumption has been classed as a known human carcinogen – and the more you drink over time, the higher the risk. Cancer can increase the risk of you developing:
Excessive alcohol consumption can make you gain weight. Although it has the same amount of calories per gram as pure fat, calories in alcohol are empty calories. This means that they hold no nutritional value, so don’t fill you up like calories in food do.
Alcohol can reduce your inhibitions – so you may be more likely to make unhealthy food choices when intoxicated.
It can also make you hungry – alcohol can make it difficult for your liver to control blood sugar levels, meaning it may not release sufficient glucose into your bloodstream. This can lead to you feeling hungry.
Certain types of alcohol contain more calories than others – for example, a large gin and tonic can contain up to 400 calories, and a pint of 4% beer contains around 180-200 calories.
If you drink ten large glasses of gin and tonic in one night, you’ll be consuming 4000 calories, which is double the recommended amount of calories per day for women.
Quitting alcohol and completely cutting it from your diet can significantly lower your daily calorie intake, ultimately helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Alcohol abuse can have negative effects on your skin – if you drink excessive amounts of alcohol, over time you may notice broken capillaries on your face and nose, giving your face a red appearance.
Likewise, your skin may dry out due to dehydration – or become inflamed. Long-term alcohol abuse is linked to jaundice, which gives your skin a yellow appearance.
Alcohol also affects your collagen levels, making your skin loose and saggy. When you stop drinking, your skin will begin to restore elasticity, and the redness and yellowing will fade.
Alcohol detox can reduce the risk of developing these unpleasant alcohol side effects. If you wish to stop drinking, read on to learn how Help4Addiction can help you.
If you want to stop drinking and undergo an alcohol detox, you have several options – whether you choose to detox at home with an at-home detox kit or undergo medical detox in an alcohol rehabfacility.
Quitting alcohol isn’t easy – but with the right support and treatment, the process should be much easier.
With treatment locations all around England and Wales, our team at Help4Addiction can find the right addiction treatment for you so you begin your alcohol recovery journey and quit drinking once and for all.
When part of a larger treatment plan, detoxification is only the first stage. Upon successfully detoxing from alcohol, you may wish to receive alcohol addiction therapy.
The aim of therapy in rehab is to give you a further understanding of yourself and your addiction and teach you effective coping strategies.
There is a range of therapies available that can help you to stop drinking, whether it be talking therapy or behavioural therapy. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and counselling are common, as well as group therapy and family therapy.
Secondary treatment aims at keeping you on the path to recovery by providing you with ongoing support. Some people benefit from attending support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
If you want to quit alcohol for good, contact our team at Help4Addiction today to discuss your options and get help for substance abuse/ substance use disorder.
Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.
Receive a callback, we’re ready to help you get on the road to recovery.
Don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re here to provide the support you deserve, anytime, day or night.