Why Go to Rehab? Alcohol Addiction Detoxification Explained

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Alcohol Addiction Detoxification
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Last Updated on December 15, 2021 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

Do you have a friend or loved one who drinks too much and needs help to quit? Or perhaps you are the one looking to get sober. Regardless, your quest for answers has led you here.

In this post, we’ll talk about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and alcohol addiction detoxification programs, so that you can make a decision that is right for you.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Why Go to Rehab Alcohol Addiction Detoxification Explained
Why Go to Rehab Alcohol Addiction Detoxification Explained

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction and alcoholism are interchangeable terms that describe a serious condition marked by compulsive drinking and an inability to stop doing so.

Alcoholics continue to drink despite the many severe effects it has on their lives, physically, mentally, socially, legally, and financially.

Globally, about 1.4% of the population suffers from alcohol use disorder, which is essentially the clinical term for alcoholism. That translates to 105 million people who are addicted to alcohol. Each year, alcohol abuse causes almost 3 million deaths worldwide.

Being an alcohol addict means:

  • You experience tremors, headaches, nausea, and other alcohol withdrawal side effects as soon as you reduce your drinking.
  • You may already have severe diseases that you don’t know about. This can include ulcers, cancer, heart disease, liver disease, pancreatic problems, and more.
  • You are unable to function properly and manage your responsibilities.
  • You regularly experience pain and discomfort, and are therefore easily angered and annoyed.
  • You are unable and uninterested to socialize because you are either drunk or suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
  • You are losing money, friends, and your sense of purpose.
  • You are highly susceptible to harming yourself and the people around you through violence, reckless behavior, and accidents.
  • You are constantly at risk of falling victim to crime or becoming the perpetrator of one.
  • You can end up in jail or prison.
  • You risk being sentenced to a hospital bed for the rest of your life.
  • You are unable to stop drinking even if you want to.

When you continue to use alcohol, the adverse effects will keep ruining your life. You will likely need help if you want to quit.

And often the best way for an alcoholic to stop drinking is by using professional alcohol addiction detoxification or rehabilitation services. Programs like these are often referred to as “rehabs” for short.

Alcohol Withdrawal Explained. Courtesy, YouTube.

Why Go to Rehab?

An alcoholic or alcohol addict, by definition, cannot stop drinking despite enormous consequences. Often, this means they can’t stop drinking on their own.

And once they do stop drinking, they will face significant challenges, mostly from withdrawal symptoms that often need to be monitored by medical professionals professionally trained in detoxification services.

  • You can effectively manage your withdrawal symptoms in rehab.

Alcohol addiction means you have been drinking significant doses frequently for an extended period of time. As such, your body and central nervous system have adapted to the alcohol and are used to working double-time to keep you alive and functioning while intoxicated.

  • As soon as you stop drinking, your body will often push back, even though it’s the right thing to do.

You may experience nausea, chills, anxiety, sweating, or insomnia. These are typical symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.

  • For more severe cases of alcoholism, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous.

For example, cutting off alcohol abruptly after heavy use causes your heart to overwork, which can lead to delirium tremens and increased risk of cardia arrest.

  • This type of problem isn’t something that you can manage alone at home.
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Rehabs offer support, education, accountability, and medically monitored alcohol abuse detoxification services. These things will help you more comfortably manage the potentially serious effects of withdrawal.

Let’s say you are able to stop drinking without serious physical side effects of withdrawal. Now all you have to do is continue to abstain from using alcohol.

But then, weeks into alcohol detoxification, you experience depressive moods caused by the hormonal imbalance of stopping regular drinking. The depressive feeling can drive you to seek comfort from alcohol and drink again.

And when this situation happens in a place where you can still be exposed to your social, emotional and psychological “reasons to drink”, you will be at risk of relapse.

For example, if you are trying to stop drinking while still being around people cause you stress or anxiety, you might not be able to control your urges. Or if you are withdrawing, but are with friends who like the party, your chances of achieving long term sobriety will significantly decrease.

You will undergo a personal program that allows you to manage your anxieties and stress better, so that you can detoxify effectively.

Additionally, you will be removed from most of the things that triggered you to drink in the first place.

  • You avoid being susceptible to transferring to another vice, which is often what alcoholics do.

Often, the pain and discomfort of withdrawal leads to restlessness, forcing you to look for something else to occupy both your mind and your time. For some attempting to detox alone, they can simply distract themselves with chores or sports.

But it’s tough for people recovering from severe cases of alcoholism, because they are usually physically incapable of sustaining activities that demand energy.

One of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience is lethargy. So you can be significantly susceptible to easy ways out, like self-medication with other drugs.

For example, an alcoholic may switch to smoking cigarettes or marijuana. And this doesn’t help you in the long run.

You can avoid this problem in a detox center where you will be given safe prescriptions to deal with the pains and discomfort of withdrawal.

Final Thoughts

Getting sober isn’t easy in the best of circumstances, so you want to surround yourself with as much support as possible.

Family interventions and community groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can be critical for your success, but they simply cannot provide assistance the way a professionally-run alcohol abuse detoxification program can.

The best way to increase your chances of success is to enroll in a facility like Addiction Detox, a detoxification center where healthcare professionals monitor you 24/7 and ensure you get through the acute phase of alcohol withdrawals.

Doing so can lead to a new, more comfortable, and pain-free life without alcohol.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be taken as medical advice. Please talk to a licensed physician first before making any decisions about your health.

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Randy Withers, LCMHC is a Board-Certified and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at a private practice in North Carolina where he specializes in co-occurring disorders. He has masters degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Education from Florida State University, and is the managing editor of Blunt Therapy. He writes about mental health, therapy, and addictions. In his spare time, you can find him watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG with his dog. Connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also see what he writes about on Medium.

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