Do you have questions about acute alcohol intoxication and alcohol detox? Whether for its for you or a loved one, asking for help can be scary. We are here to help. We’ve put together this article to answer some basic questions about alcohol detox.
What Are The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?
It’s curious that we’ve chosen alcohol to be our legal and socially acceptable drug. Contrary to popular belief, it is truly one of the most dangerous substances. As a society, we have normalized consumption and made alcohol readily available and even compulsory. Casual and occasional alcohol use is enjoyable for many, but for a significant proportion of the population, alcohol has led to emotional suffering, lifelong health consequences, and death.
What Is Acute Alcohol Intoxication?
Acute alcohol intoxication is in itself a health risk. Drinking is associated with increased risk of sexual assault, accidents, falls, poisoning, unwanted pregnancy, memory loss and blackouts, overdoses in combination with other drugs, car crashes, and physical altercations and violence. People often do things they would not otherwise do when sober, leading to regrettable choices which are often minimized and joked about. In our society, 95,000 people die annually from alcohol-related deaths, making it the third most preventable cause of death in the United States.
What Is Alcohol Detox?
The forgotten danger of alcohol, however, comes after the party is over. For people who become addicted to alcohol, which as of 2019 was 14.1 million people over 18, or 5.6% of the population, the withdrawal (detoxification) process is frightening and dangerous. Alcohol detox occurs when the body has become dependent on alcohol. Once a person stops drinking, or attempts to stop, their body not only experiences craving but also begins the physiological process of withdrawal. This is the body and brain crying out for a substance it has come to rely on just to remain functional.
What Are The Symptoms Of Detoxing From Alcohol?
Alcohol withdrawal includes: tremors, sweating, loss of appetite, agitation, restlessness, irritability, nausea, vomiting, overwhelming anxiety, tachycardia (fast heart rate), disorientation, head aches, insomnia, delirium tremens, and seizures. Withdrawal is further complicated if you have underlying health conditions, and many people do because heavy alcohol use does not allow us to properly tend to our health.
Delirium tremens (DTs) are one particularly alarming symptom of alcohol withdrawal. DTs start a few days after someone stops drinking and lasts a few days up to a week. About 5% of people who detox get Delirium Tremens (DTs). Delirium Tremens are associated with increased fatality, heart attack, and stroke. Web MD explains it this way: “Alcohol is a depressant. It slows your brain and nervous system. When you suddenly stop drinking after a long period of alcohol use, your brain and nervous system can’t adjust quickly. Your brain gets overstimulated. People with alcohol use disorder who suddenly stop drinking may also have a spike in an amino acid called glutamate that causes some symptoms common in delirium tremens, like sudden, extreme high blood pressure, tremors, severe excitability, and seizures.”
DTs are associated with: confusion, hallucinations, being easily startled, nightmares, hypertension, stupor, sensitivity to light and sound, and extreme hyperactivity. It is important to remember that people who drink heavily (8 or more drinks weekly for women, 15 or more for men), have detoxed before, have ever had a seizure, and have a long history with alcohol are at greater risk for DTs. DTs are fatal for 5% to 15% of people who experience them. They always need to be treated in an ICU first. Prior to ICU treatments, which have reduced mortality rates closer to 5%, death from DTs was as high as 35%.
How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?
The amount of time it takes to detox from alcohol depends on the person. At Stepping Stone, we will work with you on a case-by-case-basis to determine the timeframe to safely detox from alcohol.
Can I Detox From Alcohol On My Own?
Are you wondering how to detox from alcohol at home? All medical experts recommend you should not attempt to detox from alcohol on your own. Medical supervision is critical. “Toughing it out” is never the right approach for alcohol detox, and it literally can cost you your life. Aside from the dire health risks, it is also very uncomfortable and scary to do alone. The good news is you don’t have to. There are many options available to help you through the process.
How Can Stepping Stone Help In Your Alcohol Detox?
It is remarkable that with the proper medications, supervision, and monitoring, alcohol detox can be a completely different experience. Medications and monitoring keep you comfortable and safe throughout your alcohol detox when you receive the right treatment. While all risks cannot be completely eliminated, you dramatically cut down on risk and discomfort by getting professional help. You do not have to do it alone. Are You Ready To Take Control Of Your Life Or Help A Loved One? Learn more about our services and what to expect during alcohol detox.
Stepping Stone is here to answer all of your questions about withdrawal and detox, and help you down the road to recovery. and point you in the right direction. Send us a message or give us a call today at 619/763-1140.