Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction can be difficult to overcome. However, addressing that you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. The next step is finding the right treatment - and then starting your detox.
Alcohol detoxification is the first stage of alcohol dependency treatment. There are different ways to detox from alcohol, but what is the best way to detox from alcohol? And what should you expect from alcohol withdrawal symptoms? This is what we’ll be exploring in this blog - read on to learn more.
What is an Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detoxification is the process of eliminating alcohol from your system. During an alcohol detox, you will stop drinking alcohol in order to overcome the physical dependence you have on it. During an alcohol detox, you should have no access to alcohol. Likewise, if you are completing a drug detox, you should have no access to the substance you are addicted to. This is so your body can cleanse itself of the substance, and begin to adjust to functioning without alcohol. The alcohol detox process can vary from person to person, as can the detox symptoms/ alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The length of time it takes to detox successfully can also vary. Factors such as your height, weight, age, and addiction history can impact how long it will take you to detox from alcohol. If you have been alcohol dependent for several years, for example, it may take you longer to complete an alcohol detox than somebody who has been addicted to alcohol for a shorter amount of time. Likewise, the process may be more difficult if you have a severe addiction. Detoxification addresses physical dependence.
It is the first stage of alcohol addiction treatment - you must detox from alcohol in order to proceed to alcohol rehab. Ongoing alcohol addiction treatment may include therapy (e.g. family therapy or CBT) and secondary treatment (e.g. support groups). This can address the social, behavioural and psychological aspects of addiction.
What Are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
If you have an alcohol addiction and detox from alcohol - whether you suddenly cease your alcohol intake or drastically lower the number of alcohol units
your body is used to - you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, alcohol withdrawal is much more than just alcohol cravings. In simple terms, withdrawal occurs because your body becomes so used to alcohol that it struggles to function without it. In more specific terms, alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur due to the GABA neurotransmitter. Drinking alcohol increases the effects of GABA - but also decreases glutamate levels. This makes you feel calmer and more relaxed. The more alcohol you drink over time, the more your brain gets used to these changes in GABA and glutamat
e. Because of this, your body may begin to produce more glutamate and less GABA, in order to make up for these changes. When you start drinking significantly less alcohol or stop drinking altogether, your body continues to produce less GABA and more glutamate. This can leave you feeling uneasy - at first, you may feel a range of negative effects on your physical and mental health when detoxing from alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, but many people will experience a range of psychological, behavioural and physical effects.
List of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal isn’t usually severe - however, some symptoms can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Alcohol cravings
- Hand tremors
- Stomach ache
- Mood changes
- Anxiety and affected mental health
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty sleeping or trouble staying asleep
Some people will experience mild symptoms, whereas others may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Delirium Tremens (DTs) is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal - and involves the most severe symptoms. Although it is very rare, it is dangerous and usually requires hospitalisation - DTs can be fatal.
Typically, withdrawal symptoms will peak on the third day
or around this time. That being said, the process varies from person to person. You may experience withdrawal symptoms for just a week or so, whereas others may experience acute withdrawal symptoms that persist for months.
How To Detox From Alcohol Safely
There are safe ways to detox from alcohol, and there are unsafe ways to detox from alcohol. For example, detoxing from alcohol ‘cold turkey’ is considered an unsafe method of detoxification. This is when you suddenly stop drinking alcohol without any professional support or assistance. Detoxing cold turkey can be dangerous, especially if you have a severe alcohol addiction or experience severe symptoms. Some people can detox from home safely
- however, at Help4Addiction, we have certain criteria you must meet in order to be eligible for at-home alcohol detox
. Medical detox is considered a safer option. This is because you will have medical support - you may be given detox medication to ease the withdrawal symptoms or to prevent you from drinking alcohol during the process. Some alcohol detox medications include benzodiazepines, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. A medically-assisted detox involved medical supervision. This is ideal for those with severe alcohol dependence. Medical professionals may monitor your symptoms, and be on hand to help when needed. Some people choose to eat alcohol-detox foods and implement an alcohol-detox diet. Others find that simply eating healthy foods can help ease withdrawal symptoms.
Find The Right Alcohol Detox With Help4Addiction
Quitting alcohol and recovering from addiction can be difficult - but with the right support in place, the process is likely to be much more streamlined. One size does not fit all when it comes to detoxication. Some people will benefit from a medical detox or medically-supervised detoxification programme whereas others may be more suited to an at-home detox. At Help4Addiction, we can find the right alcohol detox
programme for you, and provide advice on the best rehab options out there for you. We’ll discuss your circumstances, preferences and requirements to ensure you receive the treatment you not only need but the treatment you deserve. As well as sourcing the right detox for you, we can explore the best alcohol rehab
programmes in your local area. If you’re concerned about the cost of rehab
, we can help you whether you’re looking for NHS treatment
, private rehab or luxury rehab
. Likewise, we can help if you’re looking for inpatient rehab or outpatient addiction rehab. It’s not just alcohol use disorder that we have experience with - our friendly team of addiction experts can also find the right drug rehab if you have a drug addiction or substance abuse issues.