To some people, alcohol may seem like one of the least dangerous substances to abuse. After all, it’s available for sale in towns across the country. So if you find yourself drinking too much and want to stop, is alcohol detox necessary?
Despite its widespread use, alcohol is a dangerous substance and attempting to detox from it on your own can be difficult – and deadly.
Within six hours from the last drink, habitual users may begin to experience nausea, headaches, sweating and anxiety. These symptoms – and the desire to escape them – can often spark a relapse. (The notorious “hair of the dog” often comes as a result of these withdrawal symptoms.)
If you make it through that phase, dangerous symptoms begin roughly 12 hours later.
An irregular heartbeat, racing pulse, or even seizure or heart attack are possible. Within four days, you may experience blood pressure spikes or even a heart attack, making medical attention during this period crucial.
At a professional detox facility, the staff can provide medications and treatment that will make you more comfortable.
More importantly, they’ll monitor your vital signs and make sure none of your symptoms are heading in to the danger zone. If something unexpected does happen, they’ll be ready to dial for additional help or take you to the hospital right away.
Withdrawal symptoms should begin to fade by the end of a week. At that time, the detox staff can work with you to explore options for further treatment in a safe environment.
If you detox at home and make it through safely, you’ll still be stuck in the same environment and headspace that contributed to your drinking.
Ultimately, people who misuse alcohol are among those who need professional detox the most.
Or, if you’re still debating whether to quit, check out our 10-question quiz HERE.