If you’ve become addicted to alcohol, the idea of quitting may be overwhelming. You may have tried unsuccessfully to stop drinking before or you may have heard that withdrawal can be painful. Even though you know you need to bring your drinking habit to a halt, you may not want to seek professional help. However, everyone needs a support system. Many addicts like the idea of being private when they detox from alcohol so no one knows what they’re going through. However, this is difficult and it’s only part of the process of getting sober. You will need to enter an addiction recovery program for ongoing support.
Generally, a number of factors affect whether you can safely detox from alcohol on your own. These include, among other things:
- How long you’ve been drinking
- How often you drink
- How many times you tried to quit
- Whether you have another disorder like anxiety or depression
Why Professional Help is Usually Best
Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening for heavy drinkers. Most people notice signs of withdrawal within six to 12 hours. However, withdrawal can begin as quickly as two hours after your last drink and continue for weeks. Some people experience only mild anxiety and tremors but others experience seizures and delirium tremens. The most common symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Clammy or pale skin
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heart rate
Delirium Tremens (DTs)
Delirium tremens is a form of withdrawal that produces sudden and severe symptoms. It often occurs when you stop drinking after a period of heavy drinking especially if you don’t eat enough. If you have a history of trying alcohol withdrawal, it’s more likely to happen. You’ll likely begin to experience symptoms between 48 and 96 hours after your last drink. However, some people don’t see the signs until seven to ten days later.
- Body tremors
- Irritability or agitation
- Changes in mental function
- Shorter attention span
- Disorientation and confusion
- Deep sleep lasting for several
- Mood swings
- Seizures within 12 to 48 hours
- Sleepiness and fatigue
- Sensitivity to light, touch or sound
Given how severe withdrawal symptoms can be, it isn’t recommended that you detox at home. Even people who haven’t been drinking for very long can experience rapidly changing symptoms. Some develop serious medical complications as a result. Detoxing without medical assistance, and possibly medications, is often painful. However, if this is your only option, you need to have a support system to rely on. You will need relatives or friends to help you detox safely.
Options for Medical Help
If you have a severe addiction or you’ve tried unsuccessfully to detox on your own, medical treatment will be particularly helpful. You can choose between inpatient and outpatient treatment. Each type of program has pros and cons which you need to think about.
Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment
People who have been drinking for a long time or who drank excessively often benefit most from inpatient treatment. If you need 24-hour care from a doctor, this is the best option. If your symptoms reach the point where you need medication, a medical professional will be on hand to provide it. Another benefit is that you’ll be removed from your usual triggers and temptations. If you don’t have a strong support system at home or in the community, you’ll be better off getting inpatient treatment. You’ll have access to people who understand what you’re dealing with.
If you don’t have a severe addiction, you may prefer outpatient treatment. This involves visiting a treatment facility regularly while you detox, and you may be prescribed medications to help you manage your symptoms. However, you will spend the majority of your time at home.
No matter which addiction treatment program you choose, you’ll benefit from:
- Stabilization with help from a medical professional
- Peer support
- A safe, structured setting
- Relapse prevention
- Therapeutic intervention
It’s up to you whether you try to detox from alcohol on your own or you seek professional help. However, alcoholics tend to have the best chance of recovery when they get assistance. If you’re not sure what you should do, it’s best to reach out to a professional for advice.
Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today
If you’ve been struggling with alcohol addiction and you want to get sober, contact us today. No matter how you choose to detox, we offer a wide range of outpatient addiction treatment options. Each service is customized to the patient. If you need us to refer you to a detox facility, we can do so. Schedule your consultation today!