Detoxing from any substance can be a highly uncomfortable experience. While this uncomfortability can at times seem like it is life threatening it usually is not. Heroin, which many would describe as the most dangerous drug, has terrible withdrawal symptoms, but none of which can cause life-threatening conditions to occur. The same goes for cocaine and many other drugs. This, however, is not the case with alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal and the symptoms that come along with it are amongst the most severe and medically precarious. Depending on the level of a person’s alcoholism attempting to detox from alcohol without medical supervision can easily result in death. Many people find this fact shocking due to alcohol’s legality in this country and how widely accepted it is, but if prescription drugs have taught us anything in the last 20 years, it is that legality does not always necessity safety. So if you are at a point where you think you may be addicted to alcohol and are thinking about stopping, the information below will hopefully allow you to do this safely and successfully.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal and if you are planning to stop drinking you need to seek professional medical help. The reason being is that many of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal can be fatal if the proper medication and medical supervision are not available. Below is a list of some of the common symptoms that people experience when detoxing from alcohol.
Shaking or trembling
Many alcoholics experience this on a daily basis, as symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can set in after only 2 hours without alcohol. Many former alcoholics describe waking up shaking, being almost unable to bring the bottle of booze to their lips to take a sip.
Delirium tremens is described as a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation. People in the throws of delirium tremens often describe seeing horrific hallucinations and due to the altered state of their minds they often believe they are real. Delirium tremens is considered to be a medical emergency and this why it is suggested you seek professional help if you plan on stopping drinking. The medical professionals assisting you in your detox will provide you with medication to avoid delirium tremens and help you detox safely.
Vomiting or Nausea
Vomiting or nausea will usually be a symptom of withdrawal from any substance and usually is not life threatening, but when coupled with the other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal it can lead to other complications. For instance, if a person is suffering from delirium tremens and their mind is in such an altered state that they are incapable of caring for themselves then they could possibly choke or easily become very dehydrated to the point where their life is in danger.
Depression is an often underestimated symptom of withdrawal from alcohol. It can lead to such severe feelings of hopelessness that a person can be drawn right back to the bottle in order to alleviate them. It can also put people at risk for self-harm. Feeling completely hopeless while also experiencing the physical components of alcohol withdrawal can be a recipe for disaster if the proper supervision is not in place.
Insomnia is similar to depression in that its effects are often underestimated. While not imminently dangerous to the person withdrawing from alcohol, it can lead someone back to drinking. A lack of sleep heights the emotionality of a person, affecting their decision-making ability. This heightened emotionality when mixed with the desire for sleep can lead someone right back to drinking if not properly managed.
Besides delirium tremens, seizures are probably the most dangerous aspect of detoxing from alcohol. Seizures occur as the direct result of cessation from drinking and a person is most likely to experience one 12 to 48 hours after their last drink. Seizures can result in permanent injury or death, especially if they are continuous. Besides this, the possibility of falling and hitting your head or inhaling vomit is greatly increased, all of which could result in serious bodily damage or death.
Alcohol Detox Procedures
Some of the mains reasons why it is highly suggested that you seek professional medical assistance, such as a Detox, when attempting to stop drinking is because of the medications that will be available to you and the 24-hour medical monitoring. Both of these components ensure that you can detox safely and securely without having to experience the more severe symptoms listed above.
Just over half a century ago the procedure for detoxing an alcoholic was strapping them to a bed so that they wouldn’t hurt themselves during convulsions. Many alcoholics were forced to deal with hallucinations and seizures because the medical community had not found remedies for these problems. This is not the case today and while checking yourself into a detox might sound frightening, it pails in comparison to the horror that can be delirium tremens.
It has been found that benzodiazepines such as Ativan or Librium help dramatically with the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. Usually, the procedure consists of three days of some sort of benzodiazepine. These three days are when many alcoholics are most likely at risk for seizure or other serious complications. During this time period, the person withdrawing is also given anticonvulsants so to help reduce any further risk that a seizure may occur. It is important to note that vitals are taken during this time period and they are closely monitored so that if any complications occur, they can be dealt with immediately.
It may take some time for the person to fell “normal” again, as years of alcohol abuse can have a substantial effect on our bodies, but typically after 3-7 days the worst of it is over and spiritual and mental recovery can begin.
Seeking Treatment Today
If you are ready to take that first big step and seek help for your alcoholism then call the professionals at Broadway Treatment Center today, at 714-443-8218. They will be able to help you mange your withdrawal symptoms and ensure that your detox from alcohol is a safe and successful one. You do not have to go it alone and they are here to help.