According to Psychology Today, improperly detoxing from alcohol may kill you. Improperly detoxing from anything could kill you. Alcohol withdrawal is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Symptoms can develop within a few hours or a few days after a person stops drinking.
The safest method of detoxing from alcohol for people who are long-term, heavy drinkers is under a doctor’s care or at a professional medical detox clinic.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal During Detox
Alcoholics consistently and regularly drink to excess and are obsessed with satisfying their compulsion to drink. This excessive drinking makes the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal more severe. This is what makes improperly detoxing from alcohol so deadly.
Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a heavy drinker suddenly stops drinking. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate and/or high blood pressure
- Convulsions or seizures called delirium tremors or DTs
Someone who is detoxing from alcohol must be supervised to monitor breathing, heart rate, and ensure proper hydration and nutrition.
Improperly Detoxing from Alcohol Can Be Avoided
One of the symptoms of alcoholism is the desire to reduce or stop drinking. Occasionally, someone will try to go “cold turkey,” which means to stop drinking abruptly. This type of improper detox from alcohol may be fatal especially if the person is trying to go through the process alone.
Professional Medical Detox Programs Can Provide Proper Treatment
Detoxing from alcohol is the first step in treating alcohol abuse. According to WebMD, you should look for a professional medical detox program that also helps with breaking the addiction cycle.
There are two options for medical detox programs:
- Inpatient where you receive constant care at a hospital, detox clinic, or rehab center during the withdrawal process.
- Outpatient where you stay at home but have a healthcare professional visit you regularly.
Depending on how long you have been drinking, how much you typically drink, and your personal situation, it may be safer to detox as an inpatient. For example, if you live alone or do not have family or friends who can stay with you, you are safer in a supervised environment.
Medications Can Make Detox Safer
Some people who improperly detox from alcohol are at risk for fatal injuries from severe seizures or hallucinations. In these cases, a doctor or medical detox center can administer medication to lessen the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that slow down the central nervous system. They can be effective in treating alcohol withdrawal. Their use must be limited because they can also be addictive for some patients.
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Improperly detoxing from alcohol may kill you, but even at its best, withdrawing from alcohol is an unpleasant physical and emotional process. Medical experts agree that detoxing should be supervised to avoid injury and death.
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