Why It’s So Dangerous to Detox from Alcohol

Why It's So Dangerous to Detox from Alcohol
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Why It’s So Dangerous to Detox from Alcohol

It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it can be to detox from alcohol. Since alcohol is used so widely and casually by the general population, its withdrawal effects get swept under the rug and are rarely talked about. However, withdrawal from a moderate to severe alcohol addiction can result in life-threatening mental and physical problems if not treated properly.

How Does Alcohol Use Affect the Body?

Despite the widespread drinking culture and the acceptance of drinking in everyday social situations, alcohol is a potent drug. It acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, slowing everything from breathing rate to brain activity and the transmission of information between nerves.

When a person drinks every once in a while, the body will eventually flush the alcohol out, and the nervous system will return to normal. With chronic and frequent alcohol use, however, the body rarely, if ever, has time to process it all before more alcohol floods in. The nervous system, under constant stress from having to function in a slowed state, will begin to compensate by working overtime, speeding up nerve impulses in an attempt to return to a normal level of activity.

With chronic alcohol use, the nervous system becomes fairly adept at compensating, which is why “functioning alcoholics” can go months or years before the alcohol abuse starts to catch up with them.

When alcohol is abruptly removed from the equation, the nervous system is suddenly in overdrive with no depressant effect to slow it down.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Since the withdrawal of alcohol leaves the nervous system working double-time, withdrawal symptoms usually reflect this hyperactive state.

A person in alcohol withdrawal may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Shaking or trembling, especially of the hands
  • Sweating

In about 5% of people attempting a sudden detox from alcohol use, Delirium Tremens, or DTs, can occur. DTs cause more severe and dangerous symptoms, such as:

  • Elevated pulse and blood pressure
  • Severe and vivid hallucinations or delusions
  • Mental confusion
  • Fever
  • Seizures

If you believe you or a loved one may be experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, including those of the DTs, seek medical care immediately.

Why is it Dangerous to Detox From Alcohol Without Assistance?

Mild withdrawal symptoms can be treated at home. However, severe symptoms resulting from the withdrawal of heavy, long-term, and/or frequent alcohol use should be managed by a qualified detox care team. Most people will be able to detox from alcohol without life-threatening effects, but severe cases can be fatal.

DTs, in particular, can cause death from seizure, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack from low electrolytes, or coma and respiratory arrest from low phosphate levels.

How Clear Life Recovery Can Help

The acute stage of detox from alcohol is just the beginning. Clear Life Recovery’s experienced staff offers full-service addiction recovery and withdrawal assistance. This means that you will still have full, intensive support after your detox is over.

You can choose our inpatient, outpatient, or partial-hospitalization program for your specific needs. You will also have access to therapy, proven recovery protocols, and a caring team of professionals dedicated to your long-term sobriety.

Choosing rehab instead of going it alone sets you up for success. Clear Life Recovery provides a healthy and holistic path to ongoing recovery that is nearly impossible to recreate at home without help. We know that lifelong sobriety is a process. We can help you develop the skills and tools necessary to master that process and avoid relapses and triggers.

How You Can Begin Your Recovery Today

Break the addiction cycle right now by contacting Clear Life Recovery today for help.

About Benjamin Hogan

Over the years, Benjamin has held positions in many different areas of alcohol and drug addiction services all over the country. He made a name for himself as an interventionist and has held certification as a Certified National Drug and Alcohol Interventionist (CNDAI-II). Benjamin specializes in helping support families of people struggling with addiction by focusing on education and instilling healthy boundaries to ensure lasting changes. Addiction is a progressive disease, but using an evidence-based approach, an intervention, when done correctly, can help to increase the willingness of a loved one to seek sobriety faster. "In my experience, by helping families make necessary changes, they not only get their lives back, but they also help change the mind of their loved one more quickly. In an intervention, family and other loved ones take a proactive approach, instead of waiting and being stuck between fear and (false) hope. I realized in my own recovery, that when my family changed, I had to change in response. That is where I found sobriety. This is why I believe in what I do!"