If you or someone you love has reached the point where alcohol use has become a problem, it’s important to seek help immediately.
If you are in physical withdrawal, it is tempting to think that you can just detox at home. There are potential risks that make that decision dangerous. Depending on the amount and duration of your alcohol use, withdrawal and health issues can make the process of detoxifying uncomfortable or even fatal.
What are these risks, and can they be safely managed at home?
What Alcohol Withdrawal is Really Like
When you regularly consume large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, it changes your brain composition. It also affects how it functions. You can begin to experience health problems like weight gain, bloating, and organ failure.
Alcohol and other substances change the nature of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. This is the part of your brain that regulates neuron performance. Too much, and the neurons will fire less rapidly, too little, or too quickly.
This is the activity that leads to feelings of intoxication and physical symptoms like slurred speech and balance problems. Alcohol mimics GABA and causes the receptors that regulate dopamine and serotonin to react slowly and flood the brain with feel-good chemicals. Some of us become addicted to this feeling and eventually require more drugs or alcohol to get the same reaction.
Over time, this type of brain malfunction leads to dependence on alcohol or drugs to make the user feel “normal” again.
Suddenly quitting a substance that your brain has learned to depend upon to function will cause physical discomfort and mental anguish. In extreme cases, it could even be life-threatening. This is due to the effects of alcohol on organs like your liver, kidneys, and heart over time.
What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?
Many of us experience symptoms like headaches, sleepiness, and lethargy after a night of heavy drinking. With the person who has become dependent on alcohol, the symptoms are more severe and prolonged.
Withdrawal Symptoms Include:
- Rapid heartbeat and respiration
In the most severe cases, the user can experience hallucinations, confusion, and coma. This can lead to depressed respiration, cardiac arrhythmia, and pneumonia from aspiration. All of these symptoms are potentially fatal.
This amount of pain and discomfort is what leads the alcoholic to continue drinking even when there are negative health consequences.
The Dangers of Detoxing at Home
Let’s say that you’ve had enough. You’ve decided that you don’t want to live this way anymore. Perhaps you’ve lost your family, your job, or even your home due to your alcohol abuse. Now you’re ready to quit drinking and live your life clean and sober.
You decide to just quit drinking. You’re already aware of how difficult it is to stop cold turkey. You’ve tried before. You just need a little “hair of the dog” to get you over the shakes and you’ll be okay.
However, this is also what begins the cycle of drinking, quitting, and drinking again. It will never end unless you seek professional help.
Another danger of detoxing at home is the temptation. If you’re in a stressful or co-dependent situation, it’s too easy to reach for the bottle. It’s important to not only detox safely, with medical assistance but also essential to remove yourself from your current environment while you get healthy again.
How We Can Help You Detox Safely
If you’re physically dependent on alcohol, you’ll begin your treatment with us in our medically-supervised detox program. This level of care is designed to keep you comfortable while your body and brain detoxify from alcohol. With the supervision of our medical team, you’ll be given appropriate medication and monitored 24 hours a day. Our doctor can also assess your physical condition throughout the multi-day process and begin to treat any concurrent health issues.
After the initial detox, you’ll be evaluated and presented with an action plan for additional treatment. This could include participation in residential treatment, partial hospitalization, or outpatient care.
This final decision will depend on several factors, including:
- Length and severity of use
- Concurrent psychical or mental health issues
- The mindset and readiness of the participant
- Life circumstances, such as a stable home or work life and support systems
No matter your ultimate path to wellness, your program will include one-on-one therapy with a trained counselor, group sessions, and continued medical monitoring whenever indicated. Those who remain in our facility will also enjoy a cozy living environment, regular meals and snacks, and additional therapeutic options like art and music therapy.
All of our participants will receive supportive aftercare.
Your New Life Begins Here
There’s no reason to detox at home when you can do so safely in the comfort of our homelike, inpatient center. The Mississippi Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center is an intimate, residential detox facility that proudly serves the Biloxi community. Best of all, our services are covered by most major insurance plans.
Please, feel free to browse our website and check out our program to learn how we can help you or your family member begin a new life. You can also call us at any time at 855-334-6120 to get more information or start the intake process. We look forward to walking your new path with you every step of the way.