Why Is Alcohol Detox Necessary?

People develop problem drinking habits for a number of reasons. Some people drink heavily and others drink less, but for many, alcohol has become a daily occurrence.

At the start, drinking may have been a social activity, and now it is impossible for them to imagine a pleasurable occasion devoid of alcohol. For others, alcohol cravings have become so strong that it feels impossible to face the day without a glass in hand. Whether you are a heavy/binge drinker or someone who drinks less but wants to be free of the perceived need for drink, the first step of recovery is detox.

Why is alcohol detox a necessity? When the body has been given a substance for a long period of time, you become physically and mentally dependent upon that substance. The more you have been drinking and the longer you have been drinking combine to make it more difficult for you to deny your body the substance, (alcohol in this case), that it feels it requires.

Just stopping cold turkey can result in physical and psychological symptoms which make it difficult to quit all by yourself. Entering a physician-supervised detox program can help to manage those symptoms and get you past a difficult first hurdle on the path to recovery.

Detox programs can last from two to six weeks. For the person who has not been drinking heavily or for an extended period of time, an outpatient detox program may be effective, but most people will find their greatest chance of success by entering a residential detox program.

Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol can range from sweating, nausea and vomiting to anxiety, tremors, insomnia, hallucinations and even convulsions. Having a physician and a team of health professionals on hand can minimize the dangers posed by the body's physical reaction to withdrawal of alcohol. Doctors are on hand to supervise and can give medications such as Chlordiazepoxide to help relieve some of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Poor nutrition is a common problem for those who abuse alcohol. A residential detox program will likely provide nutritious meals and vitamin supplements, but will also give nutritional counseling to patients teaching them how to create a new diet rich in protein, B12 vitamins and thiamin (common deficiencies among alcohol abusers). Having a knowledgeable staff on hand that is prepared to support you through the many stress points of ridding alcohol from your system can make the difference between recovery and relapse.

Why is detox necessary? It is a stage of recovery in which the body begins to realize that you will not give in to your alcohol cravings. As your body is denied alcohol, your emotional and physical reactions can be intense. A doctor-supervised detox program makes this transition as smooth and safe as possible.

Posted on February 1st, 2012
Posted in Articles

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