The Dangers of Alcohol Detox
You know that alcoholism is a dangerous disorder. But, did you know that you also face serious risks (including death) when you decide to abstain from alcohol?
That can feel confusing; which health risk seems more manageable?
There is an answer: there is no risk-free way to drink in excess, but there are ways to protect yourself from the risks of alcohol detox and treatment.
How do you know if your relationship with alcohol is unhealthy?
The medical condition called an alcohol use disorder is diagnosed by medical professionals when your drinking causes distress or harm. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism approximately 17 million people in the US have an alcohol use disorder.
You may be one of these people and, if you are, you need to stop drinking. However, you should not cease drinking without the oversight of addiction professionals. Alcohol detox poses some legitimate dangers that the average person isn’t prepared to navigate.
Plus, there is no single detox method that works for everyone, so even if you had some information, it wouldn’t necessarily make you certain about what would work for you as an individual.
How can you find professional detox and treatment? You need to go to experts. SubstanceAbuse.org can answer questions, connect you to resources, and direct you to rehab programs that can use their knowledge to ease you through detox and general treatment. Give us a call at 800-683-3270.
Risks of Heavy Drinking and Alcoholism
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, even rates of simple things like accidental injuries are increased by heavy or at-risk drinking. Alcohol is involved in:
- Roughly 60% of fatal burn injuries, drownings, and homicides
- Roughly 50% of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults
- Roughly 40% of fatal motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and fatal falls
But, you are probably more familiar with the health problems caused by excessive drinking. They include greater risk of:
- Bleeding from the stomach
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Several types of cancer
- Sexually transmitted infections from unsafe sex
- Sleep disorders
You may also face problems managing high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions.
In addition to health and injury risks, you must also deal with the effect that heavy drinking creates for your emotional, financial, spiritual, and mental states.
Detox is the first step in rehabilitation from an alcohol addiction, but what is it?
Detox is the transition from acute intoxication to a drug- and alcohol- free state. It is managed in a number of ways, but all of them have to do with mediating the withdrawal symptoms that set in when you stop using substances. It isn’t easy but it is possible to make it through; tons of people do it.
General withdrawal will pose some risks.
When you enter treatment, you will be assessed and you will have taken your last drink, 6-24 hours after that final drink, the first symptoms of withdrawal will manifest. You might even get withdrawal symptoms when you still have alcohol filtering out of your system.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognizes the following probable withdrawal symptoms:
- Auditory (sound) or visual (sight) illusions
- Anxiety and touchiness
- Vivid dreams (often nightmares) and sleeping trouble
- Weakened memory, judgment, and attention span
- Sound and light sensitivity
- Confused beliefs about being victimized and paranoia
- Grand mal seizures: loss of consciousness, brief lack of breathing, and rigid muscles
- Nausea, vomiting, and absence of appetite
- Heightened heart rate and blood pressure
Professional, medical care can alleviate these symptoms and help you to weather the discomfort.
Grave withdrawal symptoms include:
- Heart enlargement and erratic pumping
- Swelling of the pancreas
- General impaired brain functioning
- Reduced blood sugar
- Intestine and stomach bleeding
- Liver failure
But, the most dangerous possible outcome during detox is delirium tremens, a combination of delirium and shaking. Approximately 5 to 20 percent of alcoholics going through detox experience DTs; 5 percent of them will die because of it.
If you know the time has come for you to cease drinking, you deserve help. Don’t risk your life. Call our dedicated treatment helpline at 800-683-3270 and speak to an expert.