Alcohol is the poison of choice for the majority of humans all over the world. Although alcohol is legal, its addiction is not something to be taken lightly. There is not much difference when comparing alcohol’s addiction to other drugs ( excluding Schedule I or II drugs ). For many years, there has been a comparison between marijuana and alcohol.
Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana, as driving under the influence has led to countless fatalities. Still, alcohol does not mess with your brain and induce psychosis and other severe mental diseases like marijuana does.
You might have started with social drinking, then started drinking on weekends, with your addiction slowly escalating. The most addictive aspect of every ‘drug’ is the enhanced production of serotonin and dopamine, also known as the ‘happy’ chemicals.
It is for this reason that the withdrawal from alcohol has severe psychological addiction. Depending upon your usage, the intensity of the withdrawal from alcohol varies.
According to drug rehab Louisville, withdrawal sets in as early as 6 hours after your last drink. The symptoms may vary for each individual according to how much they drank and for how long. The mild symptoms include :
- Unstable hands
More severe symptoms include :
- Racing heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Sweating profusely
The rarest of the withdrawal symptoms are hallucinations, seizures, and delirium, experienced only by only a small fraction of heavy drinkers.
Detox refers to getting the substance out of your system. It is the first step on the path to sobriety. Detoxification is accompanied by medical treatment, including counseling to help the addict handle both the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal.
There are two phases of alcohol detoxification.
Phase – 1
Phase one is the phase during the acute withdrawal symptoms. It starts a few hours after the last drink and lasts upto days or weeks, depending upon the individual. The most severe side effects take action during this phase, mainly :
- Irregular heartbeat
These symptoms are kept in control using medical assistance. This phase can be quite challenging to overcome by yourself and without any medicines to reduce the withdrawal symptoms, especially for heavy drinkers. Medicines are accompanied by therapy to help cope with stress, avoid triggering cues that lead to relapse and dealing with friends who continue to use.
Phase – 2
This phase includes the brain’s recovery as its functioning goes back to normal after all the abuse. This phase takes a lot more time than the first phase. During this phase, there are reduced physical symptoms and more psychological factors to combat. Symptoms during this phase are :
- Reduced appetite
- Mood swings
Tips for detoxification and staying sober:
- Avoid cold turkey detoxification. Cold turkey means stopping the use abruptly and avoiding medical assistance. Doing this has a greater chance of relapsing.
- Join AA ( alcoholics anonymous ) groups. Don’t avoid therapy. Talking to people facing the same situation is helpful.
- Eat healthily and drink plenty of water. Make sure your body receives all the essentials to recover as quickly as possible.
- Get adequate sleep. Sleeping helps cleanse your body, remove toxins and replenish energy.
- Avoid drinking buddies and drinking environments. You might not always be able to avoid these, but you should try to stay away as much as possible if you have low self-control as these are key triggers to relapsing. Even if you find yourself in these situations, follow the tips you get during counseling to control yourself.
Quitting isn’t hard. Make up your mind and seek medical help to pave the way to sobriety. Detoxification is bound to go to waste if you take up your drinking habits again, so make sure to get the whole treatment and not quit as soon as you get rid of the acute withdrawal symptoms.