Alcohol addiction is a condition where one struggles to regulate or stop drinking. It develops after frequent long-term drinking, which disrupts brain chemistry, making one more dependent on alcohol to feel good. The alcohol triggers dopamine release in the brain, a feel-good chemical that encourages more drinking. (1)
Alcohol addiction leads to challenges in the society including alcohol-induced accidents and fatalities, property damage, health issues, lack of productivity, domestic violence, crimes, and financial strains related to all these troubles. (2)
The first step to addiction recovery is detoxification, a process of flushing alcohol from the body. It helps a person safely manage withdrawal symptoms and maintain focus on the next recovery steps. (3)
At Neworld Medical Detox, we evaluate addiction and other health issues and detox while stabilizing patients through withdrawal with the best medicine and supportive interventions.
The Alcohol Withdrawal Process
If someone is used to alcohol, their body reacts when they quit or reduce drinking. These reactions are called withdrawal symptoms, ranging from mild headaches to deadly seizures.
Alcohol Withdrawal Stages and Symptoms
Withdrawal occurs in three major stages: (4, 5)
- Early/Mild: Symptoms can be headaches, anxiety, mood swings, tremors, sleep problems, sweating, gastrointestinal issues, and heart palpitations.
- Acute: Symptoms include confusion, high blood pressure, heightened heart rate, imbalanced breathing, hyperthermia, and Delirium Tremens (DT).
- Post-acute: Post- Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) include memory problems, depression, sleep problems, hallucinations, and lack of concentration. These symptoms can last up to 2 years.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
Withdrawal symptoms start within six hours after drinking. They often feel worst during the first two days, after which the body starts adjusting. However, the symptoms can remain mild for a week.
The withdrawal severity and duration for everyone commonly depends on: (6)
- How often they drink (Frequency)
- How much they’ve been drinking (Dosage)
- How long they’ve been drinking (Duration)
- State of health
- Co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders
Medical Detoxification: Ensuring Safe Recovery
Medical detox is a process involving medicine for eliminating alcohol from the body, and managing withdrawal symptoms and complications.
One may detox at home to avoid the cost and stigma associated with seeking addiction treatment or because they don’t understand the detox process. But this exposes them to the risks we’ll discuss below.
The Importance of Medical Supervision
The detox process can be both mentally and physically overwhelming. Without medical supervision, it’s easy for the person to relapse or even accidentally overdose. Loss of appetite and diarrhea plus other immunity-affecting withdrawal symptoms trigger further health complications avoidable in a professional detox.
Moreover, withdrawing from alcohol leaves a regular drinker in a mental imbalance that can result in relapse and even suicide.
Note that almost 5% of withdrawals involve delirium tremens, leading to death in 10% of affected people.
But when one involves medical professionals, they ensure health, comfort, and safety by: (7, 8)
- Tracking and treating life-threatening withdrawal symptoms
- Addressing overall health conditions with the best medicine and related interventions
- Providing 24/7 support
- Alleviating alcoholism stigma with understanding
- Providing a recovery-focused, private environment
The Neworld Medical Detox Approach
Our medical team includes physicians, therapists, nutritionists, and other healthcare staff working together to make your detox journey the most efficient, safe, and comfortable. These professionals are part of a nation-wide network of clinical experts providing best-in-class medical detox and treatment for substance use disorder and behavioural addictions
We tailor the detox program to every client’s needs using evidence-based interventions to kick off long-term recovery. After they’re done with detox, we help them find the best rehab program for their goals.
Strategies for Coping with Withdrawal Symptoms
Medical detox involves medicine and other interventions to provide a safe and smooth recovery.
Medications used during detox include: (9, 10)
- Benzodiazepines for preventing withdrawal symptoms by replacing alcohol effects
- Barbiturates for treating symptoms like seizures, insomnia, and anxiety.
- Disulfiram for discouraging drinking by producing unpleasant feelings when one drinks.
- Naltrexone for blocking feel-good feelings from alcohol, thereby reducing cravings.
- Anticonvulsants for helping treat seizure symptoms.
- Supportive medications for keeping the body healthy as it recovers from withdrawal symptoms.
At Neworld, we use a combination of these medications to target the client’s withdrawal symptoms and overall health needs. We carefully track their progress, adjusting treatment to ensure the safest, smoothest detox for every individual.
Holistic interventions address the health needs of the whole person — their physical, mental, and social well-being. All these affect a person’s dependence on alcohol, so addressing them helps foster full and long-term recovery. (11)
For instance, physical activity helps reduce stress, improves moods, helps you sleep better, and strengthens the immune system. All these benefits help manage withdrawal symptoms during detox and promote alcohol abstinence. In fact, a recent research review connected exercise to reduced drinking.
Moreover, drinking causes nutrient shortages in the body and drives poor food choices. This leaves someone struggling with alcohol addiction malnourished, which in turn promotes addiction. In medical detox, nutritional therapy can be included to help patients better their chances of successful recovery.
Mindfulness is another practice commonly used in holistic addiction recovery. It involves exercising awareness of the present moment. There’s evidence that it reduces alcohol cravings and also deals with addiction-causing issues like anxiety, stress, and depression.
At Neworld Medical Detox, we provide a psycho-social assessment to determine mental and social factors affecting one’s addiction plus on-site psychiatric care. We also facilitate our patients’ holistic recovery through nutritional adjustments, physical activities, and mindfulness training.
Continued Care and Relapse Prevention Post-Detox
Why go for continued care after detox?
Importance of Continued Care
More than 75% of people relapse within one year of alcohol addiction treatment. This is why continued care is paramount, to prevent relapse and promote lifelong recovery.
After detox, someone might go back to their old habits because friends are still using and loved ones don’t support their recovery. Also, if they still haven’t dealt with psychological risk factors like trauma, they can drink to cope.
But in continued care, they can learn to manage drinking triggers, make transitions fostering recovery, address psychological conditions driving addiction, and also access a support system.
At Neworld, we not only help our clients with psychosocial support but also help them choose the best post-detox continued care program that matches their needs. (12)
Understanding and Preventing Relapse
Alcohol addiction relapse triggers are mental and social situations that bring up strong emotions leading to old drinking habits.
Here are some common relapse triggers and their coping strategies: (13, 14)
- Stress – Look to healthy coping strategies like mindfulness meditation.
- Alcohol-involved celebrations – Avoid if unnecessary or take non-alcoholic drinks if you must go.
- People or places you associate with drinking – Make new friends and hang out in new places promoting your sober lifestyle, but if you can’t, remember you don’t need to satisfy the trigger.
- Illness – Get treatment for physical or mental illnesses prompting you to drink.
- Tough negative emotions – Build healthy emotional management skills through training by qualified therapists.
- Social isolation – Make friends with sober people and connect in recovery support groups.
- Overconfidence – Remind yourself that addiction recovery needs discipline. Stay around other recovering people to maintain sobriety awareness.
Triggers are expected during recovery, but the best way to avoid giving in is to have effective coping strategies in place.
Neworld supports patients’ relapse prevention by providing the best continued care recommendations and after-detox resources.
Conclusion: Begin Your Recovery at Neworld Medical Detox
Alcohol detox is no easy feat without medical supervision. It causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which trigger relapse. Life threatening health complications can also arise during detox.
But medical detox experts can make the process as comfortable as possible, helping you avoid relapse or associated severe health problems. At Neworld, we prioritize safety and recovery of our patients through the most improved evidence-based, medical and holistic interventions.
It’s time to escape alcohol addiction and change your life. Make a step today and contact us at Neworld Medical Detox. We care for you!