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Alcohol is considered safe in moderation, but when occasional use becomes more common and begins to interfere with everyday life, it is typically classed as abuse. 

It is also possible to become dependent on alcohol without actually having an addiction. When alcohol dependence develops, your body will begin to crave it when its effects wear off. You may start to notice withdrawal symptoms and will feel the need to drink more than before now that you have built up a tolerance.
By the time an alcohol addiction develops you will have formed a deep physical and psychological need for it. You will also continue to drink, even when knowing that doing so will cause harmful consequences for you and those around you. 

The Big Deal about alcohol is that it negatively affects about 8% of the adult population in the U.S. Over consumption is one of the leading causes of preventable death. And alcohol is associated with a growing list of really bad diseases of the body and mind.

The alcohol detox stage is the first step in treating alcoholism. During this time, alcohol is completely flushed from your body. Withdrawal symptoms typically subside within approximately one to two weeks after starting detox; however, this could take longer depending on the severity of your AUD. From there, you will be able to focus on other aspects of the recovery process such as different activities, therapies, counseling sessions, and support options.

Alcohol is a depressant that your body begins to rely on over the course of months and years of drinking. Your brain eventually stops producing certain chemicals that it receives from alcohol, becoming dependent on the drug. That’s why when you quit drinking, it takes time for your body to adjust. This is what causes withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, irregular heartbeat and hallucinations.

Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking because they’re nervous about the withdrawal symptoms experienced during alcohol detox. While some people may only be affected by minor effects of alcoholism, others may face extreme pain. Withdrawal symptoms can change quickly and aggressively, which is why it’s important to detox under the care of medical professionals. Treatment specialists at a rehab facility will be able to help you manage your pain with different medications. This allows you to focus on your recovery and get better.

If you’re ready to quit drinking, get the help you deserve. A treatment expert can help you find top-rated rehab facilities that fit your needs and will guide you along your recovery journey. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

The alcohol detox phase can involve withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild intensity to life-threatening. Oftentimes, the longevity and severity of your alcohol use disorder (AUD) will play a role in the withdrawal symptoms you experience. For example, individuals who have struggled with years of heavy drinking are more likely to develop serious withdrawal symptoms like seizures or delirium tremens.

Minor symptoms of alcohol detox include:

  • Anxiety

  • Sweating

  • Nausea

  • Insomnia

  • Headaches

More serious alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Tremors

  • Seizures

  • Extreme hallucinations

  • Disorientation

  • Delirium tremens (in rare cases)

Although uncommon, the most serious effect of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens. It can start within two to five days after your last drink and can be life-threatening. However, less than five percent of people will develop delirium tremens when quitting drinking.

Due to the severity of some withdrawal symptoms, alcohol detox should be monitored by a medical professional. This is especially true for those who have a history of lung or heart diseases, or other medical conditions, as withdrawal symptoms can quickly worsen. Your treatment specialist will be able to track your blood pressure and heart rate to make sure your condition doesn’t worsen. You can also talk with them about the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as if you are in any pain. This information helps your medical team determine which medicine will help alleviate your discomfort.


Dependence, Abuse and Addiction

While drug use often begins as a way to seek recreation, the addictive properties of drugs quickly turn a perceived outlet for fun into a constant need to remain high. This compulsion is uncontrollable and may interfere with a person’s everyday life. While substance abuse comes with a great many side effects, ranging from mild physical side effects like nausea and dehydration to work-related consequences such as reduced productivity, one of the greatest risks of substance abuse is dependence.

What might begin as the occasional bump of cocaine or hit on the bong can quickly spiral into dependence and eventually full-blown addiction. Once addiction takes hold, comprehensive treatment is needed.

Even when the effects of drugs are damaging to a person’s body and relationships with friends, family members, and coworkers, the constant need for a substance often overcomes any rational thinking. Addiction is a persisting disease that requires ongoing management. Individuals are never “cured” of addictions.

Understanding Overdoses

Most people who struggle with drug addiction face the issue of tolerance buildup. After continuous use, the body becomes less and less stimulated by the drug. This may cause a person to begin using higher dosages to obtain the same high. Although the person may not feel as high, the damaging properties of the drug cause the same amount of harm. If the body receives a level of drugs that it cannot tolerate, this leads to an overdose. While some overdoses occur after continuous use, they can also happen after one single use of a drug.

Signs and symptoms of a drug overdose include: 

  • Losing consciousness.

  • Fever or sweating.

  • Breathing problems.

  • Abnormal pulse.

  • Change in skin color.​

If any of these signs are present, or if you believe a person might be having an overdose, seek life-saving medical attention immediately.

Getting Clean and Sober

The decision to seek out a clean and sober lifestyle is one of the most important steps in the recovery process. Since addiction is such a widespread condition, anyone seeking help will find numerous options for treatment.

These treatment options are designed to help walk a person through the steps to sobriety, which can make the transition easier.

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