Once people have become physically dependent upon alcohol, detoxing is never safe to do alone. Heavy and prolonged drinking have a significant impact on how the brain and body work. If you’re ready to face your alcohol addiction head-on, seeking treatment in a facility that offers medical detox support is definitely the best bet. Medical detox gives patients the benefit of constant, around-the-clock monitoring, medication assistance, and many other inventions for ensuring that this process is as safe and as comfortable as it can possibly be. Although many alcohol users think that abstaining is purely a matter of will, most are completely unprepared for the painful and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms that they’ll face.
One of the most important things to know about alcohol withdrawal symptoms is that they can quickly spiral out of control if they aren’t mitigated early-on. Long-term alcohol users have a high risk of developing delirium tremens without proper treatment. During delirium tremens, withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Dramatic changes in vital signs
If left unchecked, delirium tremens can even lead to death. For most people, receiving medically assisted detox is safer and easier all-around. In some cases, these services can even help shorten the duration of withdrawal.
What to Expect in Medical Detox for Alcoholism
If you’ve ever tried going “cold turkey” before, then you’re well-aware of how quickly the body starts sending out distress signals. Most people begin experiencing early withdrawal symptoms within just six to eight hours of having their last drink. When you check into a rehab center for a medical detox, you’ll start receiving medical support right away. You’ll be given a thorough physical exam, and you’ll receive a complete psychological evaluation. From the start of your care, your well-being will be constantly monitored by a dedicated team of professionals, and you’ll receive customized, needs-specific support until your detox is finished.
Why Detoxing With Support is Always Safer
Alcohol makes people feel relaxed, euphoric, and significantly more confident by triggering surges in neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that drive the brain’s reward system. By constantly consuming large amounts of alcohol, most heavy drinkers wear their neurotransmitters out. Unfortunately, neurotransmitters don’t just exist to elevate a person’s mood. They also play important roles in basic functions throughout the body. Once they become worn out, people are unable to stop drinking on their own without risking serious and potentially permanent physical injuries. Sudden cessation of alcohol use after natural neurotransmitter production has declined can cause:
- Digestive distress
- Respiratory distress
- Altered cognition
and many other problems. During alcohol detox, a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body temperature can all fluctuate wildly. Medical detox is designed to monitor and manage these changes so that systemic distress never spirals out of control. With medications, good nutritional support, proper hydration, and a variety of other interventions and therapies, detox professionals can limit withdrawal symptoms, prevent many withdrawal symptoms from recurring, and minimize overall discomfort. This care can even expedite the detox process to shorten its overall duration.
How Medical Detox Limits the Risk of Relapse Early-On
Although alcohol detox can be incredibly physically challenging, people are not completely out of the woods once they’re physical withdrawal symptoms have gone away. Alcohol use has a significant impact on how the brain works, particularly when it comes to moderating and balancing emotions, keeping people motivated and focused, and limiting the likelihood of severe depression. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms or PAWs can begin manifesting within the first one to two weeks of abstaining. During this time, many people experience:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Without interventions for PAWS, life can seem incredibly bleak. These are all indications that normal brain chemistry and brain functioning have yet to be restored. Even after having suffered through stomach cramps, nausea, sweating, and other painful symptoms, this is a time when people face extraordinary temptation to drink. When people attempt to detox entirely alone, the risk of relapsing is extremely high. Medical detox support continues throughout PAWs so that patients can experience general mood balance and a greatly increased sense of well-being. As such, they sleep better, focus easier, and have a greater ability to take part in other aspects of addiction treatment. Best of all, once a person’s medical detox is finished, they can seamlessly transfer into their rehab programs so that there are no gaps in care, and no gaps in essential support.
If you’re ready to stop using alcohol, choosing to go to rehab is important. Medical detox for alcoholism is always safer than going cold turkey. It can also make this portion of your journey infinitely easier. To learn more about your options in medical detox, call us today at 844-903-2111.