Alcohol Detox and Recovery Options

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Alcoholism has a way of making people feel hopeless and helpless. Perhaps you’ve been suffering from the effects of an alcohol use disorder. Maybe you are feeling as if there’s no way you can overcome this problem. But, what if we told you that there is a way to break free from addiction? With the right kind of help and plenty of support, you can make alcohol abuse a part of your past. Let us help you here at Northbound Treatment Services!

About Alcohol: What is It?

Alcohol is a substance that is used to make beverages such as liquor, beer, or wine. The process of making alcohol involves fermentation. When certain starches, sugars, or yeast ferment, this produces alcohol. Alcohol is considered to be a depressant substance. This is due to the way it affects the central nervous system (CNS). Unfortunately, many people struggle with alcohol abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, generally speaking, 0.6 ounces, or 14.0 grams, of pure alcohol is a standard drink. The CDC gives a clear explanation of what one can consider a “drink”, or alcoholic beverage. The measurements differ depending on the type of substance. About 5 ounces of wine is a drink. When it comes to malt liquor, 8 ounces is a drink. 12 ounces of beer is considered a drink.

This substance is legal and many people of all ages use alcohol on a regular basis. It’s common to find alcoholic drinks at most social gatherings, including business parties, holiday events, weddings, and so forth. But, everyone is different and unique. So, individuals who drink alcohol can expect the substance to affect them differently than it affects others. Still, many of the effects of alcohol are often the same in most people who use the substance.

Effect of Alcohol on the Body

When a person uses alcohol, he or she may experience some short-term effects such as the following: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lack of perception

Depending on how much alcohol a person consumes, the short-term effects can be quite extreme. Sometimes, those who drink alcohol experience blackouts or unconsciousness. Also, it’s fairly common for people to have trouble remembering where they were, what they did, or what they said while drinking.

Alcohol use can also have very negative long-term effects on people. This especially occurs in cases where people drink excessively and/or frequently. Some of the common long-term effects of alcohol use include

  • Stroke
  • Gastritis
  • Liver damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart problems
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • High blood pressure

Individuals who struggle with heavy drinking, binge drinking, or any other problematic drinking problem may experience some very serious health issues. Some may even suffer from permanent brain damage, depending on the extent of their alcohol misuse.

Problematic drinking can also be dangerous in that it can lead to car accidents, unintentional injuries (falls, burns, etc.), unprotected sexual activity, and more. There are also some other ways in which excessive alcohol use can affect people’s lives. However, first, we will discuss the physical effects of alcohol use in further detail. 

More About the Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol interacts with the body by engendering an increased stimulation of the GABA receptor. This results in a depression of the central nervous system. Over time, continued heavy use can and will result in a reduction and desensitization of these receptors. This is referred to as tolerance and the subsequent physical dependence.

Once a person becomes dependent on alcohol, the abrupt removal of alcohol from the system can result in an uncontrolled firing of synapses in the central nervous system. These are symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. If the alcohol detox process is not handled properly and overseen by medical professionals there can be severe repercussions from seizure, tremors, hallucinations, shakes, and in some cases it can result in brain failure and death.

This is why it’s so important to get professional help when trying to end alcohol abuse or dependence. Individuals who wish to overcome alcoholism can get help through an alcohol detox program. The detoxification process for someone who suffers from chronic alcohol abuse can be a very dangerous one if the individual doesn’t get professional help. But, thankfully, there are facilities that can offer people the guidance and supervision they need in order to safely end alcoholism. We provide this care here at Northbound Treatment Services!

How Do I Know If I Need an Alcohol Detox?

Often, people who suffer from alcoholism are unaware of the problem. In many cases, the signs are a little difficult to identify. This can be extremely harmful because it prevents individuals from getting help for substance abuse. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the signs of alcoholism, as unnoticeable as some may be. By understanding these signs, you can determine whether or not it’s time to reach out for help from a detox and treatment facility.

You may need to consider an alcohol detox if you:

  • Make excuses for drinking too much.
  • Hide or isolate yourself in order to drink.
  • Can’t control how much alcohol you drink.
  • Sometimes use alcohol in order to “escape”.
  • Have no interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Frequently use alcohol in order to feel relaxed.
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms between uses.
  • Have gotten into legal trouble because of your drinking.
  • Think about alcohol often (i.e. first thing in the morning, etc.) 
  • Frequently argue with loved ones about your drinking.
  • Feel offended if someone confronts you about your alcohol use.
  • Drink irresponsibly (i.e. before/while driving, before work, often become drunk, etc.)
  • Struggle to keep up with responsibilities (work, school, home) because of alcohol use.

Problematic alcohol use can also cause people to experience relationship problems with loved ones. Families may struggle to stay together because of the effects of alcoholism. Alcohol abuse can also cause financial hardships as individuals may not be able to hold a job. Or, individuals with alcoholism may spend more and more on alcohol, neglecting basic monetary needs. 

Of course, you may not see all of these signs in your life. Alcoholism affects people in varying ways. But, if you have noticed any of the signs we mentioned, it may be time to seek help. 

About the Alcohol Detox Process

The term “detoxification” can be a misleading one for the process that actually takes place. It is, in most cases, not the sudden elimination of toxins from the body. Instead, it is actually a process of introducing toxins in a different form that can be controlled and monitored.

Often, those who go through an alcohol detox process for substance abuse will go through a medication-assisted program. In other words, professionals may use medications in order to help individuals to wean off drugs or alcohol. These medications can help to block the unpleasant, uncomfortable, and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. With help from medication-assisted treatment (MAT), individuals can successfully and safely end alcohol abuse.

It’s important to note, however, that MAT is not the action of replacing one substance use problem with another. Although many people believe that’s the case, professionals work to make sure this doesn’t happen. Again, medical professionals administer these medications in a controlled way. They monitor patients in recovery to make sure they are not receiving too much medication in order to prevent dependence.

Over time the dosage of the medication will be gradually taken down until it is safe to eliminate the use of the drugs. Because it is such a delicate process, if someone is seeking help for chronic alcohol use and is willing to go through the detox process, it is highly advisable to do so under the supervision of medical professionals who have the experience and know-how to safely go through the detox process.

More About MAT and Other Detox Options

It usually takes about three weeks for the body to repair itself to the point that the risk of withdrawal and the various symptoms of withdrawal are minimized. There are multiple different options or methods for handling the detox process. It is unwise to continue to put substances in your body if it is unnecessary. A doctor may administer the drugs for a short period of time and keep a close monitor on the individual’s physical state and adjust the dosage as necessary. 

Another option is to wait until symptoms begin and if withdrawal begins then administer a benzodiazepine. Some individuals try to manage the detox process on their own, through diet and herbal substances among other things. While this method has been effective in some cases it is not advisable because of the dangers that go along with the detox process. 

It’s true that some detox facilities can be very expensive. But, there are multiple price-points and facilities available. If you have an insurance policy, your insurance company may cover the detox process at a qualified medical facility. For more information about this, you can speak to someone on our team here at Northbound.

Let Northbound Treatment Services Help You!

If you’ve been struggling with alcohol abuse, now is the time to walk away from this issue. Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we understand that it can be very difficult to simply end alcohol abuse. Just like alcohol dependence is a process, recovery is a process. So, it’s best to work through your recovery in a way that ensures long-term freedom from addiction.

At Northbound, our goal is not just to help people stop using alcohol or drugs. Our mission is also to help people remain free from substance abuse. So, if you are ready to take the first step in ending alcoholism, contact us today! After all, recognizing your need for help and reaching out to get it is really the first step toward recovery. Please allow our team here at Northbound to walk with you as you pursue a new and healthier life for yourself. 

To learn more about the services we offer and how we can assist you, just contact us today. You can give us a call at (866) 311-0003 to talk to a professional here at our facility.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#what 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243 

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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