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The Ugliness of an Alcohol Detox Symptom

A single universal alcohol detox symptom doesn’t exist however, there are several different symptoms an alcoholic might encounter.

First, we need to understand what alcohol detox is. Detox is short for detoxification, which means cleansing the body of all harmful substances. In the case of alcohol addiction, this means ridding the body of alcohol.

When a person is physically addicted to alcohol, their body craves it. They need it every single day or they don’t feel like they can function. Coffee drinkers are notorious for saying that they "need their morning coffee" or they just can’t function. If they don’t have it they get tired and irritable, which has a negative impact on the rest of their day. Alcoholics feel the same way, only on a much larger scale.

When an alcoholic is put into detox, they are removed from all sources containing alcohol. This includes mouthwash and hairspray. Both of these substances include some alcohol and a desperate alcoholic might try to drink one or both to feed his or her habit.

Once the alcoholic is placed in detox, their body starts to go through alcohol withdrawal. This is when the alcohol detox symptoms kick in. Mild detox symptoms include profuse sweating, clammy hands and stomach cramps. More intense alcohol detox symptoms include hallucinations and seizures. The withdrawal symptoms subside after the alcoholic’s body gets used to not having alcohol. This usually takes around seven days.

The doctors overseeing an alcoholic’s withdrawal and detox can give the alcoholic medication that will help curb some of the symptoms. However, many doctors opt not to do this especially if the symptoms aren’t too severe. Many doctors feel that it’s important for the alcoholic to get rid of their physical dependence without the aid of another substance. When a person is in detox, they are also deprived of other potentially addictive substances including sleeping pills. The last thing the doctors want is for the alcoholic to trade one addiction for another.

A Temporary Stay

Just because an alcoholic goes to detox doesn’t mean that they’re going to complete an alcoholic treatment program. For many alcoholics the detox program is the first step in an alcoholism recovery program. However, others will leave the hospital or facility once they’ve gone through detox. This is really up to the alcoholic, especially if they’re of age.

College kids sometimes get thrown into a detox center after a hard night of binge drinking. This can happen if someone calls the police because they’re worried that their friend has had a dangerous amount of alcohol. It can also happen if cops are called to a party and notice underage kids that are extremely inebriated. Minors who are taken to detox must get a parent’s permission to leave the facility. These kids may or may not have an alcohol detox symptom or two while sitting in detox.

Finding an Effective Alcoholism Cure

There’s a debate among the medical community and alcohol treatment centers as to whether there is actually an alcoholism cure.

You certainly can’t take a pill and be cured of alcoholism. It’s not like alcoholics can walk to a doctor and get a prescription that will cure them in the week. Alcoholism is not like strep throat. A cure for strep throat attacks the virus and helps the body’s immune system fight the sickness. With alcoholism, you have to fight the person’s desire to drink alcohol.

12-Step Programs

Most experts say that a 12-step program is the most effective alcoholism cure, though it’s better defined as a treatment rather than a cure. Alcoholics are never truly "cured" of their disease. An alcoholic can slip back into the depths of the disease as soon as the pick up a drink. This is a very tricky aspect of alcoholism.

What alcoholics really need is emotional and physiological help to quite drinking. They need to figure out why they drink and what things trigger their drinking. They also need to learn how to remove themselves from situations where they might drink. They need to cope with the issues that have led them to alcohol. A 12-step program creates a supportive atmosphere for alcoholics. These programs are made up of recovering alcoholics who talk to each other and support one another through a 12-step process.

What exactly is included in the 12-step process? The 12-step process starts with step one, which is when the alcoholic admits they have a problem. As the alcoholic moves through the process, they have to make restitution with the people they’ve hurt. They also have to deal with the underlying issues that cause them to drink. There’s no telling how long the 12-step process will take because it’s different for each person. It takes some people longer than others to get through certain steps. Also, sometimes the alcoholic will fall off the wagon and have to start all over again.

Even though the 12-step process is generally recognized as the most effective alcoholism cure, there’s not a 100 percent guarantee that the alcoholic will be cured.

Some Alternative Approaches

Some people believe that orthomolecular medicine can help cure alcoholism. This type of medicine acts to correct molecular imbalances in a person’s body by using vitamins, enzymes, hormones and amino acids. The idea is that these items will restore the body to a state where it will no longer be dependent on alcohol. This type of medicine is also used to treat other disorders.

Other people believe that items such as apples, bitter gourd, grapes and celery will help cure alcoholism. Most experts would agree that eating grapes or bitterroot will not help cure alcoholism. The only true alcoholism cure is if the alcoholic makes an effort to stop drinking.

Healing an Addiction at a Drug Alcohol Rehab Program

Going to a drug alcohol rehab program doesn’t give you a 100 percent guarantee that you’re going to kick your habit, but it’s a good place to start.

What Drug Alcohol Rehab Programs are About

Drug alcohol rehab programs are solely about helping the addict recover. These places are safe places where drug addicts and alcoholics can recover from their addiction without having access to drugs or alcohol. These centers are located all over the country. Most of them require the patient to stay in the center. This is to keep them from gaining access to drugs and alcohol while they’re in the middle of their recovery. Addicts are very susceptible to relapses, so it’s best that they’re physically removed from substances.

Every drug and alcohol rehab program is different. Some of them are faith based and others are not. They all include some sort of therapy including group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy or a combination of both. Some drug alcohol rehab programs are free and others cost money. If you can find a drug alcohol rehab program that specializes in your particular addiction, it’s best to go to this center.

Drug alcohol rehab programs also have detoxification centers. This is where an addict or alcoholic goes while their body is withdrawing from the abused substance. Withdrawal is an ugly experience to watch and an even uglier one to go through. Withdrawal symptoms include profuse sweating, seizures, hallucinations, dehydration, stomach cramping, vomiting, cramps and other mental and physical side effects. Withdrawal symptoms vary according to the type of addiction a person has. They tend to be more intense in addicts and alcoholics that have been involved with an addiction for a long period of time. An addict or alcoholic will spend roughly seven days in the detox center. They usually start therapy when they leave detox.

Unfortunately, these places cannot guarantee that the addict will heal. Addiction is a physical as well as a psychological problem. Because there are so many components involved with addiction, it’s very hard for a person to recover.

What to Expect

If you’re going to a drug alcohol rehab program, expect to go through one of the hardest couple of months of your life. If you’re going into one of these programs, you’re probably well aware that kicking a drug or alcohol addiction isn’t easy. If it were, you wouldn’t need to go to the drug alcohol rehab program and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this article.

Drug and alcohol rehab is a mentally, physical and emotionally exhausting process. When an addict is deprived of drugs or alcohol, they have to face all the painful issues in their life. They have to face all of the things that drove them to the substance. They have to face all of the people they’ve hurt. They have to face themselves and the destruction they’ve done to their lives.

However, if a person can complete a drug alcohol rehab program, they’ll learn important skills to help them continue fighting the addiction for the rest of thier lives.

Dealing With Teen Alcoholism Treatment

Teenagers certainly aren’t immune from alcoholism and those who suffer from it should be put in a teen alcoholism treatment center immediately.

A Sense of Urgency

Why is it so important to get teenagers in a teen alcoholism treatment program as soon as possible? Unlike adult alcoholics, teenager’s brains are still developing. A person’s brain doesn’t fully develop until they’re 30. A teenager’s brain is still developing and repetitive alcohol use has a negative effect on brain development. Getting a teenager in treatment early can combat these negative effects.

Teen alcoholics should also be treated right away because they’re still under their parent’s instruction. Adult alcoholics do not have to get help unless they are court ordered to do so. A court order may require the alcoholic to go to classes to treat their addiction or given some kind of anti-drinking medication to help them stop drinking. However, once the court ordered treatment is finished, the adult is allowed to do as he or she pleases. Teenagers still have to do what their parents say because they are minors. So, if a parent wants to put their teenager in an inpatient alcohol treatment center, they can and they can keep them there as long as they want to.

Though forcing someone to get help doesn’t guarantee that they’ll kick the addiction, it does force them to face their problem. It’s better to face these issues early in life. These programs also give teenagers life tools to resist alcohol and drug addiction.

Teens are Different

Alcoholism among teenagers is prevalent in the world and the United States. In fact, it’s during the teen years that people tend to drink the most heavily. Most kids will stop dirking on their own, but if you notice that your teen is drinking, you should talk to him or her about drug and alcohol addiction. As mentioned before, if you determine that your teen has a problem, you should seek treatment right away.

Dealing with teen alcoholism treatment is different than dealing with adult alcoholism treatment. Teen alcoholics are putting a substance in their body when they’re at a key stage of development, which is different than adult alcoholics. Aside from physical development, teens experience great emotional development at this age. The path they take as a teenager lays the foundation for what they’ll do with the rest of their life. Interrupting this process is extremely dangerous and will result in a rocky foundation. It will also create a very emotionally immature adult.

Because teenagers are dealing with so much (puberty, school, setting life goals, dating, etc.), teen alcoholism treatment tends to be most successful when the teens are counseled in groups. To some extent this is also true for adult alcoholics. Working in groups makes the alcoholic understand that they are not the only one suffering from the disease. Working in groups allows teenagers to talk to peers about other challenges (dating, school, peer pressure) that may lead them to drink. Kids in group teen alcoholism treatment care about what their peers say and will look to one another for positive reinforcement.

The Benefits of an Alcoholism Treatment Program

By the time a person needs to go to an alcoholism treatment program, they’re in serious trouble. Alcoholism treatment programs are designed to help alcoholics quit dirking and get back on their feet.

Out-of-House Treatment

Out-of-house alcoholism treatment programs allow alcoholics to continue living their daily lives. The alcoholic isn’t confined to an institution so they’re free to live at home, go to work or school and engage in daily activities. For many alcoholics, this can become a problem because they’re not physically removed from access to alcohol. However, these programs can be effective because they teach alcoholics to avoid drinking while living their every day lives.

The most well known out-of-house treatment program is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. AA is a 12-step program that uses individual therapy, group therapy, religion and discipline to help alcoholics stop drinking. AA develops a support group of alcoholics for alcoholics. Regardless of each individual’s background, they’re all struggling with overcoming an addition to alcohol. This knowledge helps the alcoholic feel less alone.

There’s no exact timeframe as to how long an alcoholic has to remain in an alcoholism treatment program before they’re "cured." Some need to remain longer than others and many never successfully finish the program. Alcoholics who are not succeeding in an out-of-house treatment program might have to enroll in a residential treatment program.

Residential Treatment

Residential alcoholism treatment programs require the alcoholic to stay in a residential home or hospital while they’re trying to kick their addiction to alcohol. These programs include some of the same components outlined in the AA programs including therapy and support. These centers usually enlist family members to participate in family counseling. Family counseling can help the alcoholic and their family members cope with the alcoholic’s addiction. It can also help the family resolve underlying issues that may have contributed to the alcoholic’s drinking problem.

Alcoholics usually enter residential alcoholism treatment programs when they’ve hit rock bottom. The alcoholics who go to these programs frequently have to go through detoxification. Detoxification, or detox, is when the alcoholic is deprived of alcohol and any other addictive substance for at least a week. When an alcoholic goes through detox the can get violently ill. Their body doesn’t know how to function without alcohol, which causes the person to get sick.

After the person’s gone through detox, the alcoholism treatment program staff might give them medication that should discourage them from drinking. Antabuse and Disulfiram make alcoholics extremely sick as soon as they take a sip of alcohol. Though the thought of being sick might be enough reason for non-alcoholics to drink, it doesn’t always work with alcoholics.

Residential alcoholism treatment programs are good at keeping alcoholics away from alcohol. However, it’s up to alcoholics to stay away from alcohol when they leave the alcoholism treatment program.

Behavioral and Physical Signs of Alcoholism

If you think you or someone you love might be an alcoholic, its’ extremely important that you’re able to recognize the signs of alcoholism.

Intangible Signs

The tricky thing about alcoholism is that it can be hard to detect. Many people hide their addiction really well. They go to parties and drink socially with everyone else and then they go home and drink alone. Alcoholism is hard to hide from people who are with you every day. It’s much easier to hide from people who aren’t intimately involved with you.

Though the following signs are not physical signs of alcoholism, they’re behavioral signs that should help you determine if you or someone you know is an alcoholic. These signs include: drinking well after everyone has finished drinking; drinking on a daily basis; consuming large quantities of alcohol and not appearing drunk; switching to other alcohol in hopes that they won’t get drunk as quickly; neglecting responsibilities to drink; receiving a DUI or other drunk driving-related offence and getting annoyed with family members for asking about their drinking habits.

Physical Signs

The physical signs of alcoholism are numerous, though they can take a while to develop. The most visible physical signs of alcoholism are constant slurred speech and unstable walking or other lack of coordination. When a person exhibits these behaviors, it’s easy to tell that they’re drunk. When you see this behavior as well as frequent blackouts, the person may be suffering from alcoholism.

Many physical signs of alcoholism are not so visible. For example, as a person falls deeper and deeper into alcoholism, their heart rate and breathing patterns slow down. This is because alcohol has a negative effect on blood cells and the heart. Alcohol abuse can increase the size of the heart, which makes the heart muscles weaker and the person’s heart rate slow down. Alcoholics also have liver problems and can get liver cancer. The liver processes chemicals and when it has to process too many chemicals, such as alcohol, it enlarges and fills with scar tissue. This restricts the liver’s function and ability to fend off other diseases.

How Does It Happen?

You’re not a bad person if you’re addicted to alcohol. The key is to get help with your addiction. Alcoholics come from all different backgrounds. Many of them get addicted to alcohol because they have addictive personalities and alcohol is easy to obtain and is a socially acceptable drug. Others get addicted to alcohol because they believe it helps them cope with difficult life situations. Many alcoholics are genetically predisposed to alcohol. If any of your blood relatives have been addicted to alcohol, watch yourself. Heredity plays a huge role in alcoholism. The one thing to remember about alcoholism is that no one chooses to be an alcoholic.

If you see any of these signs of alcoholism in yourself, admit to yourself that you have a drinking problem and seek out an alcoholism support group.

Using and Finding an Alcoholism Treatment Center

Going to an alcoholism treatment center will only have a positive effect on an alcoholic if the alcoholic is willing and ready to get better.

There are alcoholism treatment centers all over the country. People frequently refer to the as "Betty Ford" centers because former First Lady Betty Ford had a drinking problem and was a huge advocate of alcoholism treatment. These centers are different in location, cost and style, but they all have one mission — to help alcoholics recover from their disease.

These centers isolate the alcoholic from any kind of addictive substance. This includes keeping them away from mouthwash and other alcohol-based products. It is not beyond a desperate alcoholic to drink a bottle of mouthwash or cough syrup just to get their "high." The centers then use a combination of support groups, group therapy, individual theory and faith-based initiatives to help the alcoholic recover.

The idea behind these centers is that an isolated setting where an alcoholic has no access to alcohol and is relieved from his or her daily life and routine, will help them fully focus on recovering. Alcoholism treatment professionals try to help the alcoholics understand why they drink. They also help them learn how to resist alcohol.

For many people, alcoholism treatment centers are a last resort. Many times alcoholics will try different types of treatment before they agree to, or are court ordered to check into an alcoholism treatment center. Many alcoholics first try to quite drinking cold turkey. This means they just stop drinking. This technique does not work for a true alcoholic because the nature of the disease prohibits them from resisting alcohol. Even if they make it for a few days, they’ll probably experience alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal includes excessive sweating, headaches, nausea and hallucination. This is an extremely difficult thing to deal with and will usually drive the alcoholic to drink before the week is out.

Alcoholics who get in trouble with the law frequently get court ordered to go on prescribed medications that are designed to stop their drinking. Antabuse and ReViaTM are two common medications used for this purpose. They work by making the alcoholic sick as soon as they take a drink. However, many alcoholics will drink anyway. Those that don’t usually resume drinking when they’re no longer on the medications.

Alcoholics will also try to go to support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) well before they go to an alcoholisms treatment center. AA is effective however, the alcoholic continues their normal life while attending these meetings so they’re not kept away from alcohol.

An alcoholic that has tried several times to quit drinking on their own but failed, might decide to go to an alcoholism treatment center.

Reading the Big Book Alcoholic Anonymous

The big book Alcoholics Anonymous is an alcoholism recovery bible for Alcoholics Anonymous members. The book intertwines faith messages and hope to help the alcoholic kick his or her addiction.

What’s Included in the Big Book Alcoholic Anonymous?

The big book Alcoholic Anonymous is based off of AA’s 12-step program. The program is designed to get alcoholics to admit they have a problem. In fact, admitting you have a problem is the first step in the program. When the person admits that they have a drinking problem, they also need to resign themselves to the fact that they are "powerless over alcohol" and that their life has become "unmanageable."

The steps in the big book Alcoholics Anonymous sets goals for the alcoholics as well. For example, step five requires that the alcoholic admit to God and to another person "the exact nature of their wrongs." This is usually an extremely painful process for the alcoholic and the person who hears the admission. It is not easy for someone to make a sober admission to someone they’ve hurt. It forces the alcoholic to really think about the consequences of their drinking.

As the alcoholic moves through the big book Alcoholics Anonymous program, they start to become more aware of the effects alcohol has had on the lives of those they love. At the end of the program, they have to make a list of all the people they’ve hurt and make direct amends with them. This means that if the alcoholic hit someone at a bar, they have to try to find that person and apologize. If they destroyed their daughter’s toy while in a drunken rage, they have to apologize for that offense. Getting through this list is very difficult and can take a lot of time depending on how many people the person hurt. Generally the longer a person’s been an alcoholic, the more amends they have to make.

Getting to the Breaking Point

Successfully completing all 12-steps outlined in the big book Alcoholics Anonymous is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of dedication and willpower for the alcoholic to make it through the steps without taking a drink.

So how does a person get to a point where they need a 12-step program to quite drinking? Alcoholism has a tendency to sneak up on people. One day they’re having a beer at a baseball game acting social and before they know it, they’re having a drink in the morning to take the edge off of last night’s bender. Some people might get help as soon as they’re taking their first morning drink. Others will wait years before getting help.

Every alcoholic reaches his or her breaking point at a different point in life. Some never get there. But, an alcoholic will not successfully receive treatment unless they reach step number one in the big book Alcoholics anonymous, which is admitting they have a problem.

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The Ugliness of Alcoholism Withdrawal

Alcoholism withdrawal is a very real and very serious problem that requires medical attention and follow up treatment.

What is Alcoholism Withdrawal?

Alcoholism withdrawal is a body’s response to not having enough alcohol. This happens to serious alcoholics when they do not give their body alcohol for a period of time. Because alcoholics feed their bodies excessive amounts of alcohol every day, their bodies go into withdrawal when they are deprived of alcohol for a period of time. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can last 5-10 days after the person has had their last drink. Sometimes it lasts longer, especially if the person is also a drug user.

Sometimes alcohol withdrawal symptoms are nominal. A person may experience some shaking or get the sweats. The technical term for this is delirium tremens (DT). In more advanced stages of DT, the person will become confused, anxious or hallucinate. Mild symptoms of alcoholism withdrawal include rapid heart rate, vomiting, enlarged pupils, clammy skin and abnormal eyelid movement. Very serious alcoholism withdrawal symptoms include fever, convulsions and blackouts. Severe alcohol withdrawal problems can be compounded if the person has also been using other drugs, including tobacco.

If you or someone you love is experiencing alcohol withdrawal, they need to see a doctor. These symptoms can become sever and can result in serious health problems so they need to be treated. Fortunately, many people who experience alcohol withdrawal have been put in the hospital or are in being detoxified. Detoxifying a person means that they have been confined to an area (usually a hospital) and have been forced not to drink for a period of time.

Doctors will monitor the symptoms and will be able to help in the event that the person experiences seizure. They can also prescribe medication that will help ease the feelings of anxiety and restlessness. However, the doctor may not give an alcoholic these medications because they want the body to get to a normal, drug-free state. They also may not want the alcoholic to trade one addiction for another.

Doctors can also provide someone who’s going through alcoholism withdrawal with emotional support. They can lead a willing alcoholic to support groups and help them find treatment plans.

Avoiding the Tipping Point

Alcoholism is a tricking disease because it can sneak up on people. An alcoholic usually starts out as a social drinker. They drink with friends on weekends and have a few drinks a couple of times a week. Then the number of drinks and the frequency with which they drink increases. However, they may not notice this because they’re preoccupied with other things in their lives.

To keep yourself from slipping into alcoholism, pay very close attention to your drinking habits. If you’re frequently in situations that involve alcohol, keep a written record of when you drink and how much you drink. Also, pay attention to your genetics. If alcoholism runs in your family, you’re much more likely to be an alcoholic than someone who does not have alcoholism in their family. Alcoholism withdrawal is a wicked experience, but it can be avoided if you make a serious effort not to go down that road.