Would it surprise you to know that alcohol is the most abused drug in the UK? Indeed, the ease of access and social acceptance of alcohol make it the most likely candidate for addiction. We refer to alcohol addiction as either ‘dependence’ or ‘alcoholism’. Regardless of the term used, however, alcohol addiction is a severe problem that can have devastating consequences for both the drinker and his or her family.
Recovering from alcohol dependence begins by understanding the severity of the problem. Unlike some other drugs, dependence on alcohol is not always cut and dried. The early stages of a problem can often be treated without the individual undergoing a dedicated detox process. On the other end of the spectrum, a deeply rooted alcohol problem that has been years in the making will usually require detox as the first step toward recovery.
Only a doctor or alcohol recovery specialist can determine whether detox is necessary or not. The good news is that it is fairly easy to reach that determination. In the event that you or a loved one requires detox, BlueSkies can help. We offer supervised detox along with a full range of alcohol rehabilitation therapies.
In cases where a professional has determined detox is needed, a deeply rooted addiction has resulted in a condition known as tolerance. This condition is one in which the individual in question must continually increase the amount of alcohol consumed in order to experience the same effect. Tolerance is a condition in which the brain adapts to a certain level of alcohol in the system, thereby negating the pleasurable impact of drinking unless larger volumes of alcohol are consumed.
Detox is necessary in an addiction scenario because, without it, the brain cannot function properly. Moreover, until brain function is restored to normal, it is nearly impossible for rehabilitative therapies to be effective. It is very similar to the interaction between the operating system and the apps on a typical smartphone.
If the smartphone’s operating system is corrupt, it is likely that most of the apps will not function properly. However, simply reinstalling the apps is not good enough. The operating system must be restored before the apps will function properly. Detox and rehab work the same way. Brain function must be restored to normal in order for rehab to be successful.
BlueSkies offers a managed alcohol detox that takes about seven days to complete. Once the process starts, we monitor the client’s physical health and do our best to provide an environment that is as comfortable as possible. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within a few hours after the last amount of alcohol was consumed.
Withdrawal symptoms gradually become more severe until they peak somewhere between the second and fourth day. After that peak, withdrawal symptoms gradually subside until they completely disappear. Typical withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detox include:
- anxiety and irritability
- headache, nausea, vomiting
- increased heart rate and perspiration
- insomnia and/or nightmares
- alcohol cravings.
Most of the symptoms will subside within 7 to 10 days. However, alcohol cravings and anxiety can continue for weeks or months in some cases. More serious side effects (these are rare) can include seizures, tremors, and delirium tremens.
Alcohol is a drug that may require certain medications to help take the edge off withdrawal symptoms. If medication is appropriate in your case, it will be included in your treatment. If not, we will still do our best to ensure detox is as comfortable as it can be.
Ultimately, however, recovery is not complete until such medications are no longer necessary. A life free of alcohol and all associated treatment medications is the eventual goal you want to achieve. Only then will you be able to fully embrace all that life has to offer apart from alcohol consumption.