Is Alcohol Detox Necessary?
Alcoholism is a common problem in the United States, with roughly 15 million Americans reported to have an alcohol dependence or abuse disorder. Research reveals that alcohol adversely affects the body and disrupts many of the organ systems.
Many people think alcohol only has an adverse impact on the brain, but the illustration below shows many other the areas of the body that alcohol affects. Treatment for alcoholism can help, but the first step is stop drinking before entering rehab, and quitting is the most difficult and harmful part.
Because alcohol addiction disrupts so many areas of the body, it’s imperative that a proper alcohol detox regimen is supervised by a trained detox professional, which is often a medical doctor.
Alcohol Abuse affects every part of the body including the:
- Reproductive System
Varying Effects of Alcohol Abuse
In the short term, alcohol misuse can cause euphoria and excitement leading to increased self-confidence, shortened attention span, and lowered inhibition.
Some of these effects are the primary reason why people prefer to use alcohol in the first place – to forget about their worries and anxieties. As an individual drinks, they can have slurred speech, difficulty walking, and suffer prolonged periods of lost consciousness and suppressed reflexes. These are normal side effects of “being drunk” on alcohol.
With prolonged use, problems with the lungs and reproductive system become noticeable. As an individual habitually drinks, the liver becomes more efficient at removing alcohol from the bloodstream, so the alcoholic must consume increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effects, which greatly contributes to alcohol dependency. This results from an increased tolerance to alcohol.
Heavy drinking may also result in dementia and several types of cancer including:
- Liver cancer
Other problems associated with alcohol dependency include:
- Memory loss
- Stomach ulcers
- Liver damage
- Vitamin deficiency
- Emotional instability
- Sexual performance problems
It’s easy to see that alcohol abuse compromises the entire body. When the tolerance becomes so severe, and the reward system in the brain stops working properly, addiction sets in. This causes functional and structural changes to the brain. The other organs in the body follow, and it becomes nearly impossible to quit without serious consequences.
When an alcoholic tries to quit on their own, these consequences can become fatal if not properly supervised by a medical specialist trained in addiction medicine and detox.
It becomes necessary to seek the help of a professional alcohol detox center to safely stop drinking.
While many treatment centers will begin recovery without using proper detox protocols, the results can be traumatic or result in death. Worse still, many individuals will try to detox on their own at home.
Even if alcohol recovery treatment won’t take place at a proper facility, alcohol detox should take place under the supervision of a medical doctor.
Most of the time, detox can be completed in less than a week, and recovery can begin immediately after that time.
If you or a loved one has an alcohol abuse problem and are considering quitting cold turkey, please speak with medical doctor first to find an appropriate place for alcohol detox to take place. The life you save could be your own.
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