Functioning Relatively Normally During Alcohol Detoxification in Rehab
It’s true that withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous for a heavy user attempting to quit drinking. Some rehab centers, however, believe that it’s important not to overly dramatize the detoxification process. In the first few days at a rehab center, most men and women can continue with regular activities like participating in group therapy and exercising. The right medication, available at ARC, helps them through the process without serious effects.
Why Withdrawal Can Be Dangerous
Why is alcohol withdrawal hazardous for certain people? Nobody really knows why some individuals have worse effects than others, but the reason these troubling symptoms occur is indeed known. It’s because alcohol has depressing effects on the brain, since it suppresses some of the neurotransmitters. The person feels relaxed, but the brain increases its activity to compensate. That heightened activity continues when the person quits drinking.
This is what causes the onset of delirium tremens for a small percentage of people who quit abruptly. Possible symptoms of delirium tremens include confusion, hallucinations, shaking and hyperactivity. Seizures may occur. The entire nervous system is affected, and the condition is dangerous for the cardiovascular system.
Why Tapering Often Fails
Some individuals are able to safely wean themselves off of alcohol at home, thus avoiding the serious effects of acute withdrawal. The problem is that tapering tends to be very challenging for those who are addicted to the substance. For example, a sober person decides to consume five drinks instead of 10. After five drinks, though, this individual is intoxicated enough that the willpower to stop here is gone. A sober person made the decision but an intoxicated person is trying to carry it out.
Prevention of Symptoms with Effective Strategies
Acute withdrawal symptoms can be prevented with prescription medication. Its best if the person is under supervision at a rehab facility during detox, just in case he or she starts to feel ill. The medication levels might need to be adjusted. Some TV shows display detox as a process requiring a hospital bed and intravenous lines, but that is very rarely necessary. IV lines usually would be intended for someone who is severely dehydrated and needs fluids. If nausea is a problem due to detox, drinking fluids may not work.
Rehab patients are likely to be somewhat dehydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, causing more frequent urination. In the morning, a person addicted to alcohol is likely to feel abnormally thirsty because of this effect. People chemically dependent on alcohol also have a tendency, on average, to be undernourished to a certain degree. They benefit from eating a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients and also from taking high-quality supplements. All of this is provided in a residential rehab center.
By being able to function relatively normally during the detoxification process, the client can keep his or her mind off any unpleasant symptoms that are not dangerous. The worst symptoms are prevented by the medication. The others may feel like a mild case of flu, such as fatigue, slight nausea and a headache.