Detox – Never Attempt to Do It Without Professional Help
It’s a pivotal moment when someone with an addiction to alcohol realizes they need to quit drinking. It’s critically important to point out the dangers of detoxing from alcohol without medical supervision. Recognizing this fact can be the difference between life and death. Detoxing from alcohol should never occur at home because of the dangers it presents.
Fear and not having health insurance or access to medical treatment are why some individuals attempt to stop drinking cold turkey without help.
- “While you’re withdrawing from other drugs,” Cyndie Dunkerson told NBC News, “you may want to do die, but alcohol detox is the only actual drug detox you can die from.”
According to the NIAAA, “withdrawal heavily affects chronic drinkers who decide to decrease their alcohol intake or stop altogether. It is because the body’s central nervous system adapts and compensates for the depressive effect constant alcohol consumption has on the brain.”
- Going cold turkey throws the central nervous system into a state of shock that brings on severe symptoms.
The symptoms of alcohol detox will vary from person to person, depending on their alcohol intake, the length of time they have been drinking, and at what intensity. Symptoms can include:
- Fatigue and Insomnia
- Shaking hands
- Moods (anxiety, irritability, depression)
Side effects such as insomnia or depression can present as quickly as two hours after an individual’s last drink. Left untreated, however, the symptoms can quickly escalate.
- When detoxing from alcohol, the withdrawal symptoms can become excessive and cause seizures or heart problems that become fatal.
Detox must be supervised by a medical professional to monitor vital signs and take appropriate action if necessary.
Some of the side effects of alcohol withdrawal can include:
- Anxiety or agitation
- Irritability and other mood swings
- Hyper-excitability or sensory overload
- Hand tremors
- Loss of appetite, digestive distress
- Excessive sweating
- Heart palpitations
Detoxing from heavy, long-term drinking raises the stakes and should never be done at home or without medical supervision.
These symptoms can arrive two to three days after a person’s last drink and lead to Delirium Tremens, which may include:
- The general confusion about surroundings
- Body tremors
- Sensitivity to light
- Abnormally rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Profuse sweating and agitation
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a high-profile death to remind people about the dangers of alcohol withdrawal and, most significantly, detoxing at home.
- In 2017, 39-year-old actor Nelsan Ellis, most famous for his work on HBO’s vampire series “True Blood,” attempted a home detox. His struggle with alcoholism lasted for many years. He’d decided to withdraw independently, which resulted in him going to the hospital, where he ultimately died of heart failure.
“During his withdrawal from alcohol,” Ellis’s father told the Hollywood Reporter, “he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, liver problems, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.”
Alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic disease, not a moral failing. For those struggling with it, the physical and mental symptoms are genuine.
- There is no shame in asking for help, getting treatment, and returning to a fulfilling, healthy life.
A comprehensive range of centers in the U.S. offers medical professionals who understand how to address withdrawal symptoms.
There’s no doubt that alcohol addiction brings with it an emotional storage room packed from the floor to the ceiling with guilt, remorse, and shame.
Every person is different, and it’s not worth taking a chance without medical supervision.
It is due to the effects alcohol abuse has on the brain’s chemical makeup, which often increases the symptoms of depression.
Another factor is public perception. Society views people battling alcoholism as being weak or lacking morals. Despite numerous studies proving alcoholism is a chronic disease, like diabetes, cancer, or Crohn’s.
Trying to detox alone from benzodiazepines can also have fatal consequences. In contrast to alcohol, though, many people take benzos under a doctor’s care. As a result, they can usually taper off per their physician’s instructions instead of trying to do it alone.