Many people have heard of someone going through alcohol detox.
Maybe you are thinking of doing it yourself?
Today we are going to shed some light on the subject and provide you with the knowledge that will help you understand this process. Whether you are thinking of detoxing or you want to understand that “somebody” in your life, always remember to become well informed before making a major health change.
To start things off let’s start at the beginning with alcohol. Most of the time alcohol is used for its enjoyment purposes. Many people consume this substance without any issues. According to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism), moderate drinking is considered as four alcoholic drinks for men and three for women in any single day. The maximum amount per week should not exceed 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women.
The mayo clinic has also released research that goes into more depth on this subject. They state that “Drinking alcohol may offer some health benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, too much alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage your heart. When it comes to alcohol, the key is moderation.”
The key is moderation.
If you or someone you know seriously struggles with this, then you should probably consider getting help. Continuous consumption of alcohol at high levels can lead to serious health risks and death. However, deciding to quit drinking has its risks as well. It is recommended that you seek medical help before starting this process.
Let’s continue by outlining what “too much” drinking looks like.
What Is Heavy Drinking?
If you are a heavy drinker then you are consuming more than four drinks in one day (for men) and more than three (for women). You are also exceeding the weekly maximum of 14 drinks per week (for men) and 7 per week (for women). If you find yourself doing this on a consistent basis then you should consider yourself a heavy drinker.
Heavy drinking leads to many health risks. Some of the risks are internal and some are external.
Here is a list of the risks involved with heavy drinking.
- Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus
- Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease
- Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Accidental serious injury or death
- Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
If you find yourself combating the abuse of alcohol, it is very important that you seek help as soon as possible. Continuing down the road of alcohol abuse can lead to death.
Are There Dangers of Going Cold Turkey?
Are there dangers of going cold turkey? Yes, absolutely.
The risks with in heavy drinking lead to severe withdrawal symptoms when a person decides to quit. By the time the individual becomes dependent on alcohol, their brain is different. Alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. When alcohol enters the brain it tells the neurotransmitters to release dopamine and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). These chemicals are responsible for making you feel pleasure and controlling stress reaction. With too much alcohol over time, your neurotransmitters become accustomed to needing alcohol for the release of these chemicals. That is when dependency occurs.
The withdrawal symptoms that come along with alcohol can be deadly. Here is a list of alcohol withdrawal symptoms when coming off of alcohol.
- Muscle weakness
- Aggression or hostility toward others
- Clammy skin
- Appetite loss
- Rapid heart rate
- Cognitive difficulties
- Mood swings
- Short-term memory lapses
In severe cases, the individual may experience delirium tremens (DT’s). DT’s are a form of alcohol withdrawal symptom. DT’s include shaking of the body, confusion and sometimes hallucinations.
The Process of Alcohol Detox
When coming off of alcohol the withdrawal symptoms usually begin 6-8 hours after your last drink. Depending on the severity of your dependency the withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe. Mild withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, nausea, and trouble sleeping. Severe withdrawal symptoms include DT’s, fever and sometimes death if the symptoms go untreated.
When alcohol beings to leave your body your brain is screaming out in pain wanting the alcohol back. The reason for this is the dependency that has been acquired. In order to combat this process, you will need to enter into a medical detox program. The withdrawal symptoms can then be treated by a competent medical professional. Usually the medical professional will prescribe you some medication to aid you in the detox process.
The drugs that are used are usually Librium and Antabuse.
What is Librium?
Librium is the name for the drug chlordiazepoxide. This drug is for treatment of anxiety and acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Librium is a form of benzodiazepine. This form of the drug will affect the same neurotransmitters that alcohol effects. Librium is taken during alcohol detox in order to trick the brain into thinking it is receiving the same substance, all while your medical professional can treat your other symptoms. With time Librium is used as a tapering method in order to give the patient less and fewer amounts as the days go on. This allows the patient to go through the detox process with a significant decrease in risk and a much more pleasant process.
What is Antabuse?
Antabuse is the name for the drug bis(diethylthiocarbamoyl) disulfide. This drug is an antagonist to alcohol, which means it acts against the effects of alcohol. Fortunately, this drug doesn’t cancel the effects of Librium. Antabuse is has the ability to prevent the patient from drinking. When drinking alcohol and taking Antabuse the individual will most likely vomit. With time the individual may grow accustomed to vomiting while taking alcohol which can be a deterrent from drinking in the future.
Where Can I Detox?
There are many places to detox here in the state of Utah. However, each facility does it differently. If you are the person who prefers to go, inpatient, then please contact us for a list of referral options that might work with your insurance.
If you are an individual who doesn’t have the time to go inpatient at a hospital in order to detox there are options available to you as well. You can check out our outpatient medical detox here at White Tree Medical.
Our program here at White Tree Medical is specifically designed to meet the needs of the mother, family man, and working class individual who doesn’t have the time to go inpatient at a hospital. Our program is fully licensed by the state of Utah and we strive every day in order to provide Excellence in Care to all of our patients. Call us today and receive a free over the phone consultation with one of our trained staff.
We hope this article has been informative for you. Remember that detoxing is serious, let alone detoxing from alcohol. However, once the detox is complete the journey to a lifetime of sobriety is just around the corner. Also, make sure you check if the facility you choose has competitive rates. Not all facilities will charge the same amount. It never hurts to do some price matching beforehand.