Alcohol use is widespread in modern American culture. Many types of environments, from the workplace to recreational activities, accept or even encourage alcohol consumption. For this reason, it is sometimes easy for people to slip into alcohol addiction unnoticed. Perhaps the person who becomes dependent on alcohol doesn’t even realize it until he or she is already deep in the trenches of alcoholism.
Alcohol addiction or abuse affects nearly 17.6 million people in the United States alone. Millions of other people engage in a dangerous relationship with alcohol that could soon evolve into alcoholism. Alcohol addiction can ruin lives and be life-threatening as well.
An addiction to alcohol affects entire communities. Crime rates, incidences of abuse, and additional associated behaviors that negatively impact others rise when alcohol consumption increases. It’s in the best interest of everyone that alcohol addiction is treated promptly and thoroughly in those who suffer from it.
Alcohol addiction, also referred to as alcohol dependence or alcoholism, is defined as an inability to control one’s intake of alcohol, and it is usually marked by a physical or mental urge to consume an increasing amount of alcohol. Oftentimes this consumption of alcohol is compulsive.Alcoholism is considered to be a disease by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. While the consumption of alcohol in the amount involved in alcohol addiction has the potential to damage almost every organ of the body, stopping alcohol intake, without medical supervision, can also have severe physical effects for the addict.
As a result, treating alcohol addiction is a process that requires the successful execution of many different steps. Physical withdrawal from alcohol can be incredibly severe and even fatal if not handled correctly with supervision from a medical professional who specializes in alcohol detoxification.An addiction to alcohol doesn’t just carry physical consequences. This kind of addiction often affects many aspects of a person’s life – everything from work performance to school attendance to his or her ability to meet family needs.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction can sometimes be spotted through its signs and symptoms. Some of the common signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction might include the following:
- An inability to consume alcohol moderately
- A strong urge to drink
- An increasing tolerance to alcohol; requiring more alcohol on each occasion in order to receive the same feeling
- A tendency to hide drinking frequency or severity
- Physical discomfort, like nausea or sweating, when not drinking
- A loss of interest in activities that cannot or do not include alcohol consumption
- Engaging in methods of rapid alcohol consumption in order to feel “good,” which may include “chugging” or taking liquor shots in succession, for example
- Irritability when it is time to stop drinking or close to the time when drinking will end
- A lapse in memory that coincides with alcohol use, sometimes referred to as “blacking out”
- Drinking to deal with life’s difficulties or as a general coping mechanism
- A feeling of shame that is associated with drinking
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, work or school because of drinking or recovery from drinking
- Shakiness, quivering, chills or other forms of trembling
- Fatigue that never seems to cease unless drinking or asleep
- Depression that seems continual and hits hardest when not drinking
- Headaches that are difficult to manage and often come on hours or a day after drinking has ceased
- Anxiety, panic attacks, or other manifestations of nervousness, especially when not drinking
Detoxification from alcohol is a serious physical process that should be overseen by a medical professional.
In many instances, professionals may treat those who are addicted to alcohol with approved drugs that can help mitigate the negative symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. These drugs usually include benzodiazepines and sometimes extend to barbiturates. Other types of medication methods are also used to aid in alcohol detoxification, including the use of nitrous oxide, among other things.
A body that has become physically dependent on alcohol will experience withdrawal from alcohol when intake is ceased. Some of the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal might include:
- Nervousness or other forms of anxiety
- Depression or a general low feeling
- Sudden changes in mood
- Nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- An increased heart rate
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In severe cases of physical alcohol withdrawal, a patient might experience one or all of the three following symptoms:
- Alcohol hallucinosis: This occurs when a person who is withdrawing from alcohol experiences hallucinations. These hallucinations might be visual, auditory or tactile.
- Withdrawal seizures: These occur when a person who is withdrawing from alcohol experiences seizures that occur within 48 hours of alcohol intake cessation. These seizures might occur in multiples or just one at a time.
- Delirium tremens: This occurs when a person who is withdrawing from alcohol becomes incredibly disoriented and also experiences tremors, impaired consciousness, and hallucinations, among other symptoms. This is the most severe symptom of alcohol withdrawal and most commonly affects people who have had an alcohol addiction for 10 years or more, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Alcohol Detox Center
A person who is addicted to alcohol should go through the detoxification process at a specialized alcohol detox center, under 24/7 medical supervision. A study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that ever dollar that is spent on drug or alcohol treatment results in an average of seven dollars of savings for the general taxpaying public, which mostly comes in the form of crime reduction. Detoxing in a professional setting increases the success of alcohol detox, which helps everyone in society – not just the people who are addicted to alcohol.
At Orlando Recovery Center, we offer our patients around-the-clock medical assistance. No person who is detoxing from alcohol will go through the process, which can be daunting, alone. We assess the state of addiction in our patients before we begin so the detox process can be as effective and efficient as possible.
Typical Day of Alcohol Detox
During alcohol detox at Orlando Recovery Center, you will be guided through each day of the process by a medical professional who specializes in overseeing alcohol detoxification. A normal day at an alcohol detox center might include meeting with a professional to discuss your psychological relationship with alcohol, enjoying the facility’s amenities, or engaging with others at the center who understand what you are going through. We make sure that you are never without the care you need during your detox period.
Life Beyond Alcoholism
The average duration for alcohol detox ranges from three to 14 days, according to NIH; however, detoxing is just the first step toward a full recovery from alcohol addiction. While detox is necessary, it is only a physical treatment of alcohol addiction. Treatment must delve more deeply to address the emotional, mental or other psychological factors that led to addiction in the first place.Many patients are found to have co-occurring conditions – mental or emotional conditions – that accompany an addiction to alcohol. These issues must be treated as well in order for full alcohol recovery to become a possibility. Once a person has been physically detoxed from alcohol, he or she will typically move on to a recovery or rehabilitation center to begin the journey toward long-lasting sobriety.There is life after alcoholism. At Orlando Recovery Center, we’d like to help steer you toward a healthy and alcohol-free life, beginning with a full detox from alcohol. We accept most forms of insurance so you have one less worry on your mind during your period of detox. Contact us today for more information about what it means to go through alcohol detox with us by your side.