Alcohol detox tips

Since the dawn of civilization, alcohol has always been associated with rites of passage and celebrations. The tradition of social drinking is an age old one, and carried forward into our modern day life.

Enjoying an occasional drink does not present a problem in itself. Social drinkers have few problems with alcohol, and there is no preoccupation with drinking. Usually, they can control the amounts they consume. To them, drinking is a secondary activity. The danger lies in developing a tolerance to alcohol, which causes the drinker to consume more in order to achieve the same feeling of “well being”

The sad reality is that this is often how a longstanding habit of alcohol abuse begins. Initially, alcohol offers a very tantalizing promise. It creates the illusion of being carefree; you begin to relax as all your problems fade into the background. Any social drinker will tell you that a drink will enhance a good mood, and change a bad mood; a tantalizing promise indeed, but an elusive one.

This is why it so important to know where to draw the line. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, and has a nasty habit of sneaking up on you before you even realize there is a problem. The impairment that goes hand in hand with alcohol abuse includes physiological, psychological and social dysfunction. Psychologically speaking, the affects has less to do with how much you drink, and more to do with how it changes your personality when you drink.

The Effects of Alcoholism

The chemistry of alcohol affects almost every cell and every organ in the body, especially the brain. After regular exposure, the brain can even become dependent on it, leading to withdrawal symptoms when you abstain. On our website, we will give you a comprehensive insight into the full effects of alcohol abuse, not only on your body, but on your personal and social life.

What Causes Alcoholism?

The obvious answer of course would be developing bad drinking habits, but it is not as simple as that. Sure, alcohol is the tool by which the disease develops, but there are often underlying factors that are rarely considered.

People often lose sight of the fact that alcoholism really is a disease, brought on by biology, genetics and even culture. It is widely accepted that your genetic makeup will have a role to play. So alcoholics are naturally predispositioned to having an addictive personality, and will look for an emotional crutch in the form of a vice, be it alcohol or chemical abuse.

Genetic factors may include;

  • The Amygdala, the part of your brain that controls cravings, is reported to smaller in people who are prone to addiction.
  • Serotonin, a brain transmitter, is also associated with behavioral patterns. Abnormal levels of this neurotransmitter can lead to an unusually high tolerance to alcohol.
  • Dopamine, another neurotransmitter, also plays a role. Naturally high levels op dopamine helps to inhibit the response to alcohol, and can actually help to “protect” people against forming the habit.

Even if genetic factors can account for alcoholism, it does not explain all the cases of abuse. Biological and genetic factors do not doom you to a life of abuse. Emotional and environmental aspects play an even bigger role.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism rarely develops over night, and there is usually a clear line between normal drinking behaviors and abuse. It might take years of social drinking before the habit settles in comfortably before the drinker even becomes aware of it.

The symptoms are numerous, and we will cover it extensively on the website, but tell-tell signs include;

An increase in tolerance when you drink

  • Loss of control over the quantity you drink. This is also called binge drinking
  • A series of withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. In mild cases, these symptoms are very similar to the classic morning after hangover.
  • A preoccupation with drink at the cost of your personal and professional life.
  • Blackouts. Contrary to popular belief, the drinker doesn’t pass out. They simply can not remember certain events of the night before.
  • Episodes where they act out of character. Some alcoholics may become violent or abusive, while others will resort to promiscuity.

Do You Have a Problem?

By asking yourself these questions, and answering them honestly, you should get a basic indication of whether a problem is on the rise. Remember, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  • Are you suffering from withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you go without a drink for a while?
  • Have you tried to stop, but just found that you always have an excuse to stop the next time?
  • Do you have any control over you much and how frequently you drink?
  • Do you put yourself in dangerous and stupid situations when you drink?
  • Do you drink alone, or first thing in the morning?
  • Do you continue to drink in spite of the strain it is putting on all other aspects of your life?
  • Have you lost interest in all other things that you once enjoyed?

Treatment

Many alcoholics do not seek out treatment, mostly because of the stigma surrounding the disease. It is a misunderstood illness, and sufferers fear that they will be ridiculed. The fact is that if the disease progressed, the people around you will already know that you have a problem. There is only honor in seeking help and facing your demons.

Treatment will always start with a detoxification spell. Alcohol detoxification can be done in a controlled home environment, but in extreme cases, it needs to be done under medical supervision. Medical staff have been professionally trained to treat these specific problems.

During the detox and treatment period, your doctor may choose to prescribe you a series of medication to see you through the worst of the withdrawal. The treatment can include Benzodiazepines, Sympatholytics, Carbamazepine and even Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.

The severity of the condition will determine the treatment and course of action. Both Benzodiazepines and Sympatholytics are given as mood stabilizers and will help with feelings of panic and anxiety, whereas Carbamazepine will be typically used to combat withdrawals and convulsions.

The aim is not to replace one addiction with another. The prescribed drugs will only serve to see you through your treatment, nothing else. A successful treatment program will involve outpatient care, and support group programs. Alcohol abuse does not have to be a death sentence, and treatment offers a high success rate to those willing to complete the course. It is a hard road to walk, but one that is worth it to get your life back.