Global Parents Day: Support for Parents of Addicted Children

Help for Parents of Addicted Children

Today, June 1st, is Global Day of Parents, a holiday created by the UN to recognize and appreciate the parents in our lives and society. To all parents of addicted children: we see you, we appreciate you, and we support you. 

We know that holidays can be particularly painful for parents of addicted children, we’ve listed some coping strategies for dealing with this crisis.

 

Learn all you can about Addiction 

Addiction is a chronic disease that takes over the lives of those it affects and their loved ones. There are many misconceptions around addiction and substance abuse. Learning about how addiction happens, how it affects your child and how it affects you and your family are all important steps to understanding and healing. Educating yourself on the subject can also help you spot signs and symptoms as well as help manage expectations before and during the recovery process. 

 

Understand the Difference Between Helping and Enabling

As parents, we love our children. We have spent our lives as parents keeping them safe from harm, teaching them, helping them grow. To watch them in crisis is unnerving. Our protection instincts kick in and all we want to do is help. Unfortunately this helping instinct can lead to enabling. Addicted children will take advantage of this to keep the flow of their addiction running. 

It’s important to ask yourself, “Will this action enable my child’s addiction?” To get your child through addiction means you must ask yourself this at every turn. Every action you take, every boundary you establish needs to be working towards getting them into sobriety. 

Enabling comes in when the actions you take make it easier for your child to continue using drugs. Sometimes it’s pretty clear: Giving food or gas money that may be used to buy drugs, paying their rent so they still have a place to live, or bailing them out of trouble their drug use has caused are all overt acts of enabling.

But enabling can also be more subtle. Do you minimize their drug use to family members? Have you ever lied for them to cover their addiction? Do you avoid it altogether, so that when your child comes home for dinner one week things can just “be normal for once”? Staying quiet to keep the peace or minimizing the scope of the situation are both dangerous acts of enabling. Addiction thrives in the dark. 

 

Understand that their choices are not reflections of your parenting 

Addicts lie, cheat, and steal. They are consumed by finding their next fix. It is not because you did not teach them right from wrong, it is not because you failed them as a parent. There is a phrase in addiction circles called the “3 C’s”: You did not cause their addiction, you cannot control their addiction. All you can do is change yourself and your reaction. Do not blame yourself. Find support groups, seek therapy, and find ways to care for yourself. In truth, all we can ever truly have control over in life is ourselves and our emotional response. Learning to change the natural, impulsive reactions we have to situations like this can go a long way in weathering the storm. 

 

Create boundaries to protect yourself and your family 

Boundaries are the anti-enabling. It is important to set clear rules and boundaries with addicted children to protect yourself, your loved ones, and ultimately your addicted child. Not letting them come to the house while high, if they’re still living at home not allowing them to have drug-using friends over, not allowing them to abuse, insult, or manipulate you. These are all healthy boundaries that can protect your family physically and emotionally from addictive behaviors. 

 

Practice Self-Care 

This journey you are on is a painful, stressful, exhausting one. Living in crisis can cause serious mental and physical health issues which is why it is so important to take time to prioritize your wellbeing. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating right, and taking time for yourself. 

 

Establish an Open Dialogue

Learn to communicate with honesty, vulnerability, and acceptance. Anger, yelling, and/or blaming do not create safe spaces in which to discuss problems and can push the addict further away. Once you have stopped enabling and have firm boundaries set, having this open channel of communication will be helpful when your addicted child does decide to discuss their situation. A safe space is one in which help can be asked for, and treatment can be suggested. 

 

Treatment is the answer, but they need to want it for themselves 

Getting your addicted child into treatment is the best possible option for getting them into a life of sobriety and health. However, it is important to know that treatment works best when the addict truly wants to change. Sometimes an addict needs to hit rock bottom to make this change but not always. Learn all you can about treatment options and continue encouraging it until they decide they want to get help. When the time comes, professional treatment can change their life. 

 

Seeking Help

Being the parent of an addicted child is one of the biggest and most painful challenges a parent can face, we hope this article was able to offer some support and coping strategies. If you are struggling with an addicted child and don’t know what to do, please reach out. 

Our expert team at Harmony Recovery Group are here to help, both as a supportive ear and a strategy for change. Call us at (866) 461-4474

How Long Does Liquor Stay in Your System?

Liquor is a distilled form of alcohol with an average alcohol per volume of 40%, or 80 proof. Liquor, otherwise known as spirits, can found in several different forms, including vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, tequila, and many more. The body processes liquor in a manner similar to all other forms of alcohol, such as beer and wine.

On average, a normal functioning liver can process about ten grams of ethyl alcohol, or one standard drink, per hour. Shortly after consuming alcohol, about 20% will travel through blood vessels on the way to the stomach and then to the brain. The rest to sent to the small intestine, where it is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream. After this, alcohol is moved to the liver, where it is processed and metabolized.

Alcohol in a person’s body is at its peak, and BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is highest just before metabolization begins. When a person consumes more than one alcoholic drink in an hour, the liver gets backed up and cannot process the extra alcohol in the bloodstream. This excess alcohol causes intoxication as well as many mental and physical impairments.

Testing for the Presence of Alcohol

There are a few different tests for alcohol that may be used by law enforcement, the legal system, or employers to determine if a person is intoxicated or has consumed alcohol in the recent past.

Breathalyzer – A breathalyzer is an instrument commonly used by police law enforcement to determine if a driver has consumed too much alcohol before operating a motor vehicle. A breathalyzer is a kind of apparatus in which a suspected drinker must blow a puff of air. The device estimates the person’s BAC as grams of alcohol per mL of blood. 

Blood Tests – Alcohol can be identified in the blood for up to 36 hours after the last drink, but it detects most accurately between 6-12 hours. Blood tests are not used as often as breathalyzers because they are more costly and invasive, but occasionally they will be ordered for legal purposes. However, testing for alcohol using blood is considered to be the most accurate method available.

Urine Tests – Alcohol can also be detected in urine from between 8-80 hours. Again, urine tests are not usually administered by employers because alcohol is legal, and a person may have consumed alcohol several days before the test. They also are not good for on-the-spot testing if a person appears to be intoxicated. Urine tests are most likely to be required for legal purposes, such as for people on probation.

Saliva and Hair Tests – Occasionally saliva swabs are used, and they can detect alcohol for up to 24 hours. Hair follicle tests are rare, but when used, they can detect alcohol for up to 90 days, perhaps longer.

Rate of Intoxication

Several factors influence the rate at which an individual will become intoxicated. Alcohol is metabolized at about the same rate for most people, assuming they have a healthy liver, and their overall health is stable. Other factors that may affect a person’s level intoxication include the following:

  • Age and sex
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight and body fat percentage
  • Duration and amount of alcohol use
  • Amount and fat content of food in the stomach
  • Other substances in the body
NOTE: A standard drink of alcohol is defined as 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1 oz. of liquor.

Effects of Alcohol

How Long Does Liquor Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

For many, the effects of alcohol begin as rewarding, relaxing, and pleasurable, which is the primary reason people enjoy drinking it. Nevertheless, there are a litany short- and long-term adverse effects and very few, if any, positive long-term consequences of alcohol use. Alcohol’s short-term effect on the body is closely related to a person’s BAC.

Short-term effects include the following:

At 0.03–0.12% BAC:

  • Enhanced mood
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Impaired attention span
  • Flushed face or skin
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Impaired decision-making and judgment

At 0.09–0.25% BAC:

  • Sedation
  • Impaired memory
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensory impairments
  • Impaired balance and motor skills
  • Reduced ability to react to stimuli

At 0.25–0.40% BAC:

  • Amnesia
  • Staggered movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Incontinence
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Transient consciousness or unconsciousness

At 0.35–0.8% BAC:

  • Loss of pupillary light reflex
  • Profound respiratory depression
  • Perilously slow heart rate
  • Weak pulse
  • Acute liver failure (rare)
  • Coma or death

A BAC of 0.40% or above is considered to be life-threatening in many instances. Depending on an individual’s level tolerance, when this BAC is reached, coma or death may be imminent. 

Alcohol Poisoning

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing alcohol poisoning, please call 911 immediately. If you are watching over a person suffering, do not let them “sleep it off” and do not leave them alone until emergency medical help arrives.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Profoundly impaired coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures (uncommon)
  • Stupor or unresponsiveness
  • Low body temperature
  • Cold clammy skin
  • Bluing of the skin (cyanosis)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Profoundly depressed breathing

Chronic Alcoholism

Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include the following:

  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia (lack of iron)
  • Interrupted brain development
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
  • Loss of brain cells
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Memory impairments
  • Reduced attention span
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Cirrhosis and other liver diseases

Moreover, chronic, excessive alcohol use increases the risk of cardiovascular problems and stroke, as well as several forms of cancer, including the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophageal breast, and gastrointestinal system.

How Long Does Liquor Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal

The more often a person consumes alcohol, the higher their tolerance will become. Tolerance is a condition that develops in response to repeated, heavy alcohol use. It occurs because the body adapts to its presence and dedicates more enzymes to break it down more efficiently. This reaction leads to a reduced response to alcohol as a result of repeated exposure.

Tolerance is one of the body’s defense mechanisms that is enacted because alcohol is essentially a poison. In fact, the development of tolerance can effectively reduce an individual’s risk of alcohol poisoning. There have been cases of people surviving unbelievably high BAC levels that would have killed the average person at a much lower BAC.

Dependence is hallmarked by the brain’s having developed a need for alcohol to function normally, as well as the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the person tries to stop drinking. These symptoms can range in intensity from mild-severe, and, in extreme cases, result in life-threatening complications and death.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include the following:

  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired mental functioning
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic, life-long disease, and, unfortunately, no one cure will work for everyone. Very few alcoholics will ever be able to return to ‘normal’ drinking or fully reclaim their lives while they are engaging in any level of alcohol use.

Fortunately, alcohol dependence is very treatable. Modern treatment approaches typically feature services clinically-proven to be effective at improving patient outcomes long-term. These services may include psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, group support, and medication-assisted treatment. 

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers these services in partial-hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient formats. We provide clients with the tools, skills, and support they need to experience a full recovery and enjoy long-lasting, fulfilling lives.

If you or someone you love is struggling to overcome an alcohol addiction, please contact us today to discuss treatment options. We are committed to helping those who need it most make their lives better so they can look forward to a healthy, happy future free from the use of drugs and alcohol!

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol during a period of time that is not long enough to safely metabolize it. Without treatment, organs will begin to shut down, and the person may die. Those that recover may also continue to suffer long-term from complications such as brain damage.

Alcohol poisoning is one among the many risks involved with excessive drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 2,200 deaths due to alcohol poisoning each year in the United States, which equals an average of six fatalities every day.

Of these deaths, more than three-quarters (76%) are between the ages of 35-64, and alcohol use disorder is a factor in nearly one-third (30%) of all fatalities. A binge-pattern of drinking is most often responsible for alcohol poisoning, which is defined as more than 4-5 drinks per occasion for women and men, respectively.

What are the Critical Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency. If someone exhibits symptoms of alcohol poisoning, please call 911 immediately.

The most common symptoms of alcohol poisoning include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Confusion
  • Stumbling or falling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Choking
  • Irregular or slow breathing
  • Bluish skin
  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature
  • Passing out/fainting
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness

If you are questioning whether a person has alcohol poisoning and needs medical attention, use the CUPS acronym:

  • Cold or clammy, bluish or pale skin
  • Unconscious or unfocused
  • Puking uncontrollably, suddenly, or often
  • Slow or shallow, labored breathing

How the Body Processes Alcohol

Alcoholic Liver Disease

The liver can only process about one serving of alcohol per hour. A typical serving includes 12 ounces of beer (5%), 5 ounces of wine (12%) or 1.5 ounces of liquor (80 proof.)

Consuming one serving of alcohol per hour will increase a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but generally not to any impaired extent. Drinking more than this can raise a BAC to .08%, an amount widely considered to be a level of impairment in which operating a motor vehicle is illegal.

Above a BAC of .08%, significant cognitive and motor impairments can begin to occur, and a BAC over .3 can be life-threatening among those without a fair tolerance for alcohol. A BAC of .4% or higher is considered a fatal amount for about half of all humans.

In some cases, people with an extremely high tolerance have survived BAC levels at .5% and above, but these are rare.

Depending on other individual factors, such as age, gender, weight, and overall health, alcohol poisoning can occur at lower levels of consumption. On average, however, a man weighing 160 pounds will probably experience alcohol poisoning after drinking about 15 shots of liquor in under four hours, whereas a woman at 120 pounds will suffer the same effects after just nine shots in roughly the same period.

How Long Does it Take to Get Alcohol Out of Your System?

Certain tests, such as those that assess blood or breathalyzer can only detect alcohol in a person’s system for up to 24 hours. Saliva and urine tests, however, can identify the presence of alcohol for as many as five days. Hair follicle tests, though rarely used, can reveal alcohol consumption up to 90 days after use.

Over time, the body breaks down alcohol for elimination by using several processes, the main one involving two enzymes, ADH and ALDH. ADH produces a toxic metabolite called acetaldehyde, which is then broken down to another byproduct known as acetate, which is further metabolized to carbon dioxide and water for elimination.

Excessive alcohol use during an insufficient time period for processing results in alcohol continuing to enter the bloodstream even after drinking has stopped. Binging on alcohol can lead to a rise in BAC for up to 40 minutes after the last drink, as the liver is still processing alcohol already consumed.

Alcohol consumption that results in alcohol poisoning will stay in the body for several hours and will continue to wreak havoc on the brain and vital organs during this time.

How to Help a Person Suffering from Alcohol Poisoning

It is critical for the survival of a person experiencing alcohol poisoning to not assume he or she will simply sleep it off. Symptoms will likely worsen, and he or she faces a high risk for vomit inhalation and choking, respiratory suppression or arrest, seizures, coma, and death.

If you are in the position to care for a person who is suffering from alcohol poisoning while waiting for first responders to arrive, you can help him or her in the following ways:

  • Try to keep the person awake if they are conscious.
  • Keep conscious persons in an upright position.
  • Encourage them to drink water to avoid worsening dehydration.
  • Do not let them use more alcohol or other drugs.
  • Position unconscious persons in the recovery position.
  • Stay close to them until emergency personnel arrives.

Actions That DO NOT HELP Recovery From Alcohol Poisoning

Common myths and misconceptions about helping a person sober up include the following:

  • Drinking coffee – this can contribute to further dehydration.
  • Sleeping it off. People who are experiencing alcohol poisoning may go to sleep and never wake up.
  • Walking it off. Forcing someone to walk increases the risk o falls and injuries.
  • Exercising it off. This can actually cause the BAC in people suffering from alcohol poisoning to rise.
  • Taking a cold shower. Alcohol poisoning can cause low body temperature (hypothermia), and cold water can increase this effect and result in shock.
  • Taking medication. Do not give the person anything other than water. Medicines and drugs can adversely interact with alcohol and lead to vomiting, choking, and further poisoning and intoxication.

Treatment for Alcoholism

How Long Does Alcohol Poisoning Last? | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Experiencing alcohol poisoning is a tell-tale sign that treatment for alcoholism is needed. Problem drinking includes binge drinking, daily drinking, and any level of drinking that negatively affects one’s health, family, social interactions, and quality of life.

Our staff includes addiction specialists and other healthcare personnel trained to enact customized programs that treat the symptoms of addiction and withdrawal and help people embark on the path to recovery.

Treatment using begins with detox, a medically-assisted process in which the patient is supervised 24-7 for several days to ensure that life-threatening complications do not occur and that symptoms of withdrawal are managed.

Long-term treatment then continues in our rehab center, which includes behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, counseling, support groups, and ongoing aftercare. Ideally, patients should consider intensive treatment for not less than 30 days, either on an inpatient or outpatient basis as prudent.

Behavioral therapy helps alcohol abusers develop healthier coping mechanisms and replace negative thoughts and feelings with more constructive responses.

Medication-assisted treatment can also be very beneficial for reducing cravings, and pharmaceutical drugs such as naltrexone have been shown to help problem drinkers enjoy long-lasting sobriety.

Support groups such as 12-step programs are helpful for maintaining long-term abstinence, and ongoing treatments such as psychiatric services and counseling are also recommended. Also, after discharge from treatment, clients can participate in our aftercare program and alumni activities.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please contact us soon as possible.

What Is Methanol Poisoning?

What Is Methanol Poisoning? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methanol (wood alcohol, methyl alcohol) is a type of alcohol that is primarily used to produce fuel, antifreeze, and solvents. It is a colorless liquid that is volatile, flammable, and also used to create a number of other chemicals, such as acetic acid.

Unlike ethanol, methanol is toxic for humans to consume. The symptoms of methanol toxicity include a decreased level of consciousness, impaired coordination, vomiting, stomach pain, and a unique smell on the breath. Impaired vision may begin as early as twelve hours following consumption. Long term outcomes may include kidney failure and blindness.

Toxicity and death are possible after consuming just a small amount. Indeed, when ingested, as little as 10 mL of pure methanol is metabolized into formic acid, which can cause irreversible blindness by destroying the optic nerve—and just 15 mL has the potential to be fatal.

Methanol Poisoning

Methanol poisoning is most often due to unintentional or purposeful ingestions, as well as accidental poisonings due to distilling and fermenting errors and alcoholic beverage contamination. It can also occur after the consumption of windshield wiper fluid.

Cases of methanol poisoning may be accidental or done intentionally in an attempt to commit suicide. Less commonly, toxicity may occur inadvertently through skin exposure or breathing in the fumes.

However, most acute cases of methanol toxicity are caused by accidental ingestion. Methanol itself is not particularly toxic to humans, but it is broken down in the body to the metabolites formaldehyde, formic acid, and formate, which are toxic. These hazardous byproducts can cause metabolic acidosis, blindness, cardiovascular problems, and death.

Early treatment increases the likelihood of a good outcome in cases of methanol poisoning. Treatment includes stabilizing the person, followed by the administration of an antidote known as fomepizole.

What Is Methanol Poisoning? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methanol Outbreaks

Outbreaks have occurred related to contamination of what would normally be considered consumable alcohol. This phenomenon is more common in the developing world, but it has happened in developed countries, as well. Those affected are typically adult males. In 2013, more than 1700 cases were documented in the U.S.

In January 2016, the consumption of a mixture of Mountain Dew and methanol (Dewshine) caused the deaths of two Tennessee high school students. The methanol was believed to have come from racing fuel.

In December 2016, at least 75 people in Irkutsk, Russia, fell ill and died after consuming a counterfeit body lotion that primarily consisted of methanol, rather than ethanol as it was labeled. Prior to this event, the body lotion had been used as a low-cost alternative to vodka by the impoverished people in the region. This event occurred despite warnings on bottles that it was not safe for consumption and long-standing problems with alcohol poisoning across Russia.

In February 2019, 100 people in the northern India states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand died by drinking toxic alcohol. Days later, 156 people, mostly tea plantation workers, died in Assam state.

In August 2019 it was announced that authorities in the country of Costa Rica had confiscated thousands of containers of alcohol and also shut down some businesses that serve liquor. This action occurred in response to the more than two dozen deaths related to methanol poisoning that happened tragically over the summer.

The country’s Health Ministry stated that 59 people had been hospitalized in association with tainted alcohol. Of those, 25 died. Although Costa Rica is a popular tourist destination, the Health Ministry noted that nearly everyone who has been affected had been a resident of Costa Rica. Most of the poisonings were reported in the capital San Jose and in Alajuela and included 19 men and six women.

It’s been reported that methanol will sometimes be added to liquor to increase the volume of the drink. Ethanol is sometimes adulterated and made poisonous by the addition of methanol.

NOTE: Alcohol poisoning of any kind is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical assistance. If you suspect that you or someone else is a victim of methanol poisoning, please call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Those who have consumed methanol either accidentally or intentionally may be suffering from a substance use disorder and should seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive programs in partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. All of our programs are comprised of evidence-based services essential for the process of recovery, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual/group counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Health and wellness education
  • Substance abuse education
  • Art and music therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Sober living/housing
  • Aftercare planning

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism and is ready to break free from the chains of addiction, contact us today! Discover how we help those who need it most achieve abstinence and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Alcohol Intoxication

How Long Does it Take to Get Sober?

How Long Does it Take to Get Sober? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

An average liver can process approximately 1 unit of alcohol per hour. This means that if you drink 12 units, it’ll take you roughly 12 hours to fully sober up. People who start drinking never do so with the express purpose of developing alcoholism. Often, what begins as casual or occasional binge drinking morphs into a dangerous habit over time.

When a person drinks excessively, intoxication occurs. The liver processes only about 1-2 standard drinks per hour. Anything beyond this causes a person’s blood alcohol concentration to rise significantly. Depending on how much a person drinks and other factors, it can take hours for a person to completely sober up.

One standard drink is defined as the following:

  • 12 oz. of beer at about 5% ABV
  • 5 oz. of wine at about 12% ABV
  • One shot of liquor at about 40% ABV (80 proof)

While the length of time a person remains “drunk” varies, the average, moderately-intoxicated person will probably be sober in 6-8 hours. If it takes much longer than this, the person should be (or should have been) hospitalized.

Charts such as the one seen here can help a person gauge what their blood alcohol concentration will be over the next few hours after consuming a certain number of drinks.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Charts

Image via University of California: https://safeparty.ucdavis.edu/watch-your-bac

Alcohol Withdrawal

Binge drinking or long-term drinking can lead to highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. But, a person doesn’t have to be an alcoholic to encounter severe alcohol withdrawal. In fact, if you’ve never experienced it, this can be quite frightening, especially for those who don’t realize how intense these symptoms can be.

The duration of alcohol withdrawal is different for everyone. Nonetheless, according to the National Library of Medicine, this process usually begins within about 8 hours after the last alcoholic drink is consumed, but it may take longer. Acute symptoms, which are the most worrisome, tend to peak within 24-72 hours, then subside for the next few days. Emotional symptoms, however, may persist for much longer.

Determining Factors

Many factors can play a role in the number of hours a person remains intoxicated, as well as how long and intense the withdrawal process will be. These factors include the following:

  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • Length of time the person has been drinking
  • How frequently the person has been drinking on a regular basis
  • Nutritional considerations
  • Amount of food consumed before or during drinking
  • Weight, age, and sex (male or female)
  • Other substances ingested, such as prescription or illicit drugs
  • Presence of co-occurring physical or mental health conditions

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin within hours of an excessive drinking episode. It is essential to realize that alcohol withdrawal syndrome is potentially life-threatening if not addressed medically.

A person who has been drinking a large amount of alcohol or for a long time (i.e., regularly, every day) will develop a physiological dependence. When this occurs, their brain has become accustomed to the presence of alcohol.

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning that it inhibits the effects of certain chemical messengers in the brain. When alcohol is removed, a rebound effect occurs, not unlike a spring bouncing back. This effects can result in many adverse complications, including anxiety, accelerated heart rate, and even seizures.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may also include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Dangerous dehydration
  • Shakiness
  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

In many ways, these symptoms are the exact opposite of those that a person experiences when intoxicated. Many people enjoy the feelings that alcohol induces, and this can compel them to drink repeatedly and to excess. The discomfort of withdrawal often drives people to drink again to prevent it—a vicious cycle.

How Long Does it Take to Get Sober? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The Importance of Professional Help

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it’s critical to seek medical care. If delirium tremens develops, the possibility of death skyrockets.

Detoxing under the supervision of medical professionals ensures a person’s safety, reduces the likelihood of relapse, and increases their comfort. What’s more, medications can be administered to mitigate withdrawal symptoms, and staff will ensure the patient receives adequate nutrition and is well-hydrated.

Note that alcohol detox is not the same thing as a complete, comprehensive rehab program. Therefore, once detox is completed, patients with substance abuse issues are should enroll in further treatment.

Most people who struggle with alcoholism are unable to remain sober long-term. For this reason, extended therapeutic care is usually needed to help those suffering prevent relapse and find healthier ways of dealing with negative emotions and stress.

Get Treatment

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers evidence-based treatment programs that are customized to each individual’s unique needs. In addition to outpatient detox, we offer programs in partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats.

Our therapeutic services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Substance abuse education
  • Peer support groups
  • Health and wellness
  • Holistic therapies
  • Aftercare planning

Contact us today if you are ready to break free from the chains of addiction for life! We are committed to helping our clients succeed at recovery and reclaim the healthy and happy lives they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Alcohol Detox Symptoms

Alcohol Intoxication

Alcohol Intoxication | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alcohol intoxication is a temporary condition caused by consuming alcohol, usually in an attempt to experience euphoria or as a social lubricant. Severe alcohol intoxication is commonly referred to as alcohol poisoning and is potentially life-threatening.

Alcohol intoxication is most commonly the result of ethanol contained in commercial or homemade alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and liquor. However, there are several other types of alcohol that be found in a variety of sources that include methanol, isopropanol, and ethylene glycol. These poisonings are uncommon are not addressed in this article, but more information including individual effects and treatment can be found here.

Alcohol consumed orally is absorbed into the blood through the small intestine and the stomach. Because the body absorbs alcohol faster than the liver can metabolize or eliminate it, blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) continue to rise with consumption and peak between half an hour and ninety minutes thereafter.

Increasing levels of blood alcohol can eventually cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and the characteristic changes in speech and motor skill impairments that are closely associated with drunkenness.

Risk of Alcohol Intoxication

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which is a type of substance that decreases activity in the brain and can reduce the body’s reaction time. The absorption rate of alcohol and risks related to alcohol intoxication depends on a number of factors, including the amount and percentage of alcohol consumed, the period of time in which it was ingested, presence or absence of food in the stomach, and individual factors including tolerance, weight, sex, and other substances in the person’s system.

For example, individuals who do not drink alcohol often tend to get more intoxicated more quickly and more intensely than those who drink alcohol regularly—although this is not always the case. Also, women and younger adults may become drunk more easily than men, due to differences in body size and fat composition and variations in each person’s system’s ability to process alcohol.

Binge drinking is the most common cause of alcohol intoxication and alcohol poisoning and is defined as drinking 4 or 5 units of alcohol in a two-hour time frame for women and men, respectively. In the U.S. one unit of alcohol is considered to be approximately one ounce of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Intoxication

Early effects of alcohol intoxication may include accelerated heartbeat, feelings of confidence and well-being, facial flushing, and impaired motor coordination.

Symptoms of worsening alcohol intoxication include:

  • Reduced inhibition
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced attentiveness
  • Slurred speech
  • Impulsive movements
  • Sleepiness
  • Stupor
  • Blackouts
  • Loss of consciousness

People with very severe intoxication may also become very cold, dehydrated, and suffer seizures.

Levels of Alcohol Intoxication

Because everyone processes alcohol differently, the amount of alcohol it takes to cause each individual to exhibit the numerous degrees of intoxication also varies. However, the levels of alcohol intoxication can generally be grouped as follows:

Mild Alcohol Intoxication

Alcohol Intoxication | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Symptoms of mild alcohol intoxication, which is typically reflective of a BAC of between .02-.05%, may include talkativeness, feelings of relaxation and sedation, and minor impairments in fine motor coordination.

Moderate Alcohol Intoxication

Moderate alcohol intoxication, which is typically a BAC of between .05-.20%, may include the following symptoms:

  • Poor fine motor coordination
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Clumsy and unsteady gait
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Altered sense perception
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in personality
  • Uncharacteristic behavior
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Memory impairment

Severe Alcohol Intoxication

Symptoms of severe alcohol intoxication are typically associated with a BAC of greater than .20% and may include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Problems speaking
  • Double vision
  • Amnesia
  • Delirium
  • Feeling very cold
  • Lethargy
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Stupor
  • Coma
  • Death

In people who do not regularly consume alcohol, a level of .40 or above may be lethal—an event better known as alcohol poisoning. People with alcoholism can usually drink more alcohol than others and therefore have higher blood alcohol levels without exhibiting symptoms of intoxication as intensely. Nonetheless, alcohol poisoning can result in sudden death due to respiratory depression and heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

People observing a person at this level of intoxication may notice the following signs:

  • Strong alcoholic breath
  • Vomiting
  • Slow breathing
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Flushing of the face
  • Disorganized speech
  • Incoherence
  • Lack of alertness
  • Semi-consciousness
  • Stupor
  • Unresponsiveness

When to Seek Medical Help

Some complications from alcohol poisoning require immediate emergency medical attention, including breathing problems, uncontrollable vomiting, chest pain, and seizures. If a person becomes semi-conscious or unconscious and is experiencing severe vomiting, it is important to monitor them to minimize the risk of inhalation of vomit. Aspirated vomit can result in death by suffocation, or can cause a bacterial infection in the lungs.

To reduce the risk of vomit being inhaled, place the person on their side, facing slightly downwards, supported by bent limbs. A person in this condition must be closely supervised, and their caregivers should seek emergency medical help for them immediately. Tragically, people who binge often drink rapidly—that is, those who consume very large amounts of alcohol in a brief period risk drinking a lethal amount of alcohol even before signs of intoxication become evident.

Alcohol Intoxication | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Treating Alcohol Intoxication

Treatment of alcohol intoxication primarily involves the administration of fluids and the management of nausea and vomiting. People who are mildly to moderately intoxicated will eventually process the alcohol without significant complications and improve with time. People with severe alcohol intoxication, however, often need medical evaluation or hospitalization to receive fluids intravenously and to manage complications such as seizures or difficulty breathing.

Those in the presence of someone who is drunk should take steps to make sure that they are safe, conscious, and are not vomiting uncontrollably or showing signs of having difficulty breathing. If the person is unresponsive, unconscious, and vomiting or exhibiting signs of respiratory distress, seek medical care immediately, especially if the person’s condition worsens or does not show any improvement in a reasonable amount of time.

Other Serious Complications of Alcohol Intoxication

Hyponatremia (severe sodium imbalance in the body) is a potentially life-threatening condition that may occur in those who vomit uncontrollably and cannot keep down electrolyte fluids or food.

Dysrhythmia is a condition in which the intoxicated person experiences heart arrhythmias after binge drinking.

Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by severe inflammation of the pancreas and can manifest soon after binge drinking. Acute pancreatitis can be deadly and is considered a medical emergency.

A lack of coordination and slowed reaction time increases an intoxicated person’s risk of injury from falls, burns, car accidents, stunts, etc. If a drunk person becomes belligerent and aggressive, which is common, this can lead to heated arguments, fights, and assaults that injure either the intoxicated person or those around him or her. In turn, these drunken actions can lead to legal ramifications.

Treatment for Alcoholism

People who become intoxicated often and find it difficult to control their drinking should seek professional help as soon as possible. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers a comprehensive approach to substance abuse that includes therapeutic services vital to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and more.

If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help people free themselves from drugs and alcohol once and for all!

Effects of Using Ibuprofen and Alcohol

Ibuprofen and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Effects of Using Ibuprofen and Alcohol – Ibuprofen (brand name Advil) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) designed to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever. It’s sold over the counter, meaning that means it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. That said, some prescription-only medications may also contain ibuprofen.

Although OTC drugs such as ibuprofen are available without a prescription, they can still be strong medications. They also come with the risk of unwanted side effects, especially if you don’t use them as directed.

Should You Take Ibuprofen and Alcohol Together?

Mixing any medication with alcohol has the potential to be dangerous to your health. Alcohol can render some medications less effective and intensify the effects and side effects of others.

In most cases, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol while taking ibuprofen will not result in harm done. However, using more than the recommended dosage of ibuprofen or consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can significantly increase your risk of complications.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

In a study of more than 1200 patients, it was revealed that the regular use of ibuprofen increased the risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding in those who consumed alcohol. People who used ibuprofen infrequently and drank alcohol were not found to have an increased risk.

Symptoms of gastric bleeding include the following:

  • Persistent upset stomach
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in vomit
  • Kidney Damage

Chronic use of ibuprofen can harm the kidneys. Alcohol use can harm your kidneys, as well, so using ibuprofen and alcohol in combination can significantly increase a person’s risk of kidney problems.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased alertness

Ibuprofen works to reduce pain, and it can help a person feel relaxed. Alcohol has a similar relaxing effect, so, when combined, these two substances may raise the risk of not paying attention while driving or operating machinery, delayed reaction times, and falling asleep. And, of course, you should never drink and drive—ever.

Finally, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some research has found that using alcohol in conjunction with ibuprofen can result in an increased heart rate. A rapid heart rate can lead to side effects such as dizziness and result in medical complications if the person has a pre-existing heart or lung condition.

Ask a Doctor

If you are taking ibuprofen for long-term treatment, ask your doctor if it’s safe to drink. He or she may say yes or no based on your personal risk factors. For example, if you use ibuprofen only occasionally, it may be safe for you to drink moderately.

NOTE: Consuming even one alcoholic drink while using ibuprofen may result in an upset stomach.

Side Effects of Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Ibuprofen can aggravate the stomach lining, and result in a gastric or intestinal perforation, which can prove fatal. If you use ibuprofen, you should consume the lowest dosage you need to relieve symptoms. Also, you should not use the drug for longer than you need. Following these precautions can reduce your risk of side effects.

According to the ibuprofen drug warning label, the risk of stomach bleeding is higher for those who are over 60 years of age, take a high dosage, use the medication long-term, take blood thinning or steroid drugs, or have had a history of stomach bleeding.

As people age, their bodies are unable to metabolize alcohol as effectively. Therefore, smaller amounts of alcohol in older adults can cause more significant interactions with ibuprofen, leading to increased risks and dangers.

Other possible side effects include the following:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Fluid retention and swelling
  • Headache and dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergic reactions

Also, if you have asthma, ibuprofen can make asthma symptoms worse. High doses or prolonged use of ibuprofen may also lead to a heart attack or stroke.

If you are a breastfeeding mother or use other prescription or over-the-counter medications, ask your doctor if it’s safe to take ibuprofen. Using ibuprofen while pregnant may cause harm to the unborn baby.

Treatment for Alcoholism

If you are using ibuprofen regularly to treat pain or inflammation, you are advised not to consume alcohol to reduce your risk of complications. If you have found yourself unable to quit drinking on your own, you should consider seeking professional help.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is an addiction treatment facility that specializes in drug and alcohol addiction, as well as co-occurring mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. We offer comprehensive programs that feature services vital to the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, health and wellness programs, and more.

If you or someone you know is struggling to quit drinking alcohol or using drugs, call us now! Discover how we help people break the cycle of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol?

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? | Midwood Addiction

Detox is the process of removing toxins, including alcohol, from the body. During this time, people with alcohol dependence may suffer from a variety of unpleasant and potentially life-threatening symptoms.

For people with mild-moderate alcoholism, withdrawal symptoms may onset within a few hours after the last drink and can last between 5-7 days. For persons with severe alcoholism, withdrawal effects may not completely resolve for two weeks or more.

The duration of alcohol detox depends on several factors, including the severity of a person’s alcohol addiction. The more intense the substance use disorder is, the longer detox may take.

Alcohol Withdrawal Side Effects

Withdrawal can be broken down into three separate stages of severity:

Stage 1: Mild

  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Foggy thinking
  • Moodiness
  • Heart palpitations

Stage 2: Moderate

  • Increased body temperature
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Rapid respiration
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Mood disturbances

Stage 3: Severe (Delirium Tremens)

  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion
  • Extreme agitation

It takes about 6-12 hours for the first stage of alcohol withdrawal symptoms to begin and is often hallmarked by symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, headaches, shakiness, nausea, and vomiting.

Between 24-72 hours, symptoms peak, and stage 2 symptoms can rapidly onset and include disorientation, increased blood pressure and body temperature, and irregular heart rate. Stage 3 symptoms also manifest during this time and in severe cases, may include hallucinations, fever, and seizures.

Symptoms may start to subside between 5-7 days and gradually diminish in intensity. After the first week, some of the side effects, particularly those that are psychoemotional, may continue for several weeks unless properly addressed. When these symptoms persist, the condition is referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? | Midwood Addiction

Professional Detox

Alcohol rehab offers a safe, comfortable place for people to undergo detox. Trained medical professionals can administer medication-assisted therapy to relieve the most painful and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, thus expediting the detox process.

During detox, the first phase is to monitor and control the physical symptoms until the patient’s system is relatively stable. This step is often accomplished through the administration of medications to treat symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, seizures, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines like Ativan are commonly used during alcohol withdrawal to reduce overactivity in the central nervous system that can occur as it attempts to restore equilibrium.

Heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and body temperature should all be closely monitored, and measures should be taken to ensure that they stay within safe levels. Those dependent on alcohol also frequently suffer from malnutrition. As such, a healthy diet with supplemental support and a dedicated sleep schedule may mitigate some of the withdrawal effects and help the body heal faster.

In summary, a medical detox program provides the most comprehensive and supportive environment during all stages of alcohol withdrawal.

Detox from Severe Alcohol Addiction

For those people suffering from especially severe alcoholism, detox can take longer. Chronic alcoholics may experience a condition known as delirium tremens (DTs) when they stop drinking abruptly. DTs is a collection of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including extreme confusion, hallucinations, and tremors. This condition often affects individuals with late- or end-stage alcoholism.

Fortunately, DTs is a relatively rare condition. According to research, about 3-5% of people hospitalized for alcohol withdrawal will develop delirium tremens. A small percentage of those will die due to complications, but fatality is more likely when the person does not receive medical treatment.

DTs may not start for one or two days after alcohol is eliminated from the bloodstream, and can occur without warning. For this reason, alcohol withdrawal should be closely supervised by a healthcare professional who can continually monitor vital signs and ensure the client’s safety during the detox process. Stopping one’s drinking abruptly —or “cold turkey”—is never recommended without clinical supervision.

Factors That Affect Alcohol Withdrawal Duration

The alcohol withdrawal timeline is influenced by several factors, such as the severity of alcohol dependence and addiction, medical history, presence of a co-occurring mental health condition, stress levels, and a family history of addiction or childhood trauma. The use of other drugs, in addition to alcohol, can also affect withdrawal and increase the potential risks and side effects.

The more alcohol-dependent a person has become, the more likely the person is to encounter severe withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, many people without extremely severe addictions will not go through every stage of withdrawal (e.g., delirium tremens). A person’s tolerance to alcohol and the intensity of his or her addiction are two of the greatest factors that determine the length of time it takes to detox.

Other factors that influence how long alcohol detox lasts include the following:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Biological sex
  • Mental health status
  • Overall health status
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Other substances present in the body
  • How much the person typically drinks
  • How long the person has been drinking heavily
  • Whether they binge on occasion or drink on a daily basis

Addiction Treatment

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? | Midwood Addiction

After completing detox, people with alcohol dependence should enter a comprehensive treatment program. Here, individuals can work on changing their feelings toward alcohol, manage their cravings, and find more effective ways of coping with stress.

Once the physical symptoms are under control, mental health professionals who specialize in substance abuse treatment can help people reduce some of the more powerful emotional symptoms associated with withdrawal. Anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations are all possible outcomes that can be managed by medications coupled with psychotherapy, counseling, and other treatments and forms of support.

Preventing relapse is also an essential part of any alcohol detox and treatment program, and 12-step groups and individual therapy can provide continued support throughout recovery, into aftercare, and beyond. To help prevent relapse, detox centers may prescribe one or more of the following FDA-approved medications to help reduce alcohol-related cravings: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. These medications work in various ways to manage withdrawal symptoms and discourage those in recovery from drinking again.

Getting Help for Alcoholism

As noted, detoxing from alcohol should not be done at home. Medical detox is usually necessary to prevent relapse and ensure the person’s safety as their body endures the withdrawal process, which in some cases can be life-threatening.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized rehab center that offers outpatient detox services as well as comprehensive treatment in partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. We also employ medication-assisted therapy as a part of our detox and recovery process.

Research has shown that psychotherapy and counseling, in addition to group support and other therapies, are vital for recovery, and those patient outcomes are significantly improved when they receive these services. Our staff of highly-skilled addiction professionals is trained to deliver treatment to clients with compassion and expertise. We are dedicated to providing them with all the tools they need to achieve a full recovery.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol addiction, please do not go through it alone. From detox to aftercare, we help people free themselves from the grip of addiction and foster the healthy and satisfying lives they deserve! Contact us today to discover how!

Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal

Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal – For those with a dependence on alcohol, quitting for good can seem impossible. Alcohol addiction results in highly unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms and cravings upon cessation. It is these effects that often compel those in recovery to relapse.

Although going through alcohol withdrawal at home without medical supervision is not advised, people frequently do choose this method. Those who, for whatever reason, believe themselves unable or unwilling to undergo a medical detox should be aware of the risks involved. Also, under no circumstances should this process be done alone without someone else present in case of an emergency.

Note: While detox in a specialized facility that also includes additional therapeutic services is ideal, without insurance or financial means, this may not be achievable. However, unless a person does not have access to 911 or emergency services, there is no reason why medical detox is out of the question. These services are available to everyone, even those without insurance. A hefty bill may come later, but it’s worth it to ensure your safety during this process.

Risks of Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal

Some individuals opt to detox at home for reasons that come down to comfort. Keep in mind that this “comfort” is usually more psychological than physical, however. Safety and physical comfort are often better achieved with medical detox, as medications can be administered that mitigate many of the worst effects of withdrawal.

Unfortunately, there is some unpredictability associated with detoxing from alcohol. In addition to the possibility of immediate relapse, there is also a very real potential for severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. Finally, a complication known as delirium tremens (DTs) can occur. This condition is characterized by confusion, hallucinations, and seizures, and can ultimately result in death.

Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal: Preparation

If you do decide that an at-home detox is right for you, it’s vital that you try your best to do it safely. The following are some things to consider when undergoing alcohol withdrawal at home:

Remove all alcoholic beverages from the home. This first step may sound self-evident, but it’s a critical action to take when detoxing. Moreover, when you first begin to encounter withdrawal symptoms, you may not be able to control your cravings. It’s much better to evade the temptation altogether.

Make sure your schedule is free for several days, if possible. For some, clearing one’s schedule for this amount of time seems impossible, but it’s necessary for detox to be successful. There will be benefits from taking time off work or school and temporarily relinquishing some responsibilities to focus on staying sober and on track to recovery.

Find support! Just because you’re enduring an alcohol detox at home doesn’t mean you should suffer through it by yourself. Find a family member or friend who can keep you safe during this process and can get help if withdrawal symptoms get too severe.

Hydration and Nutrition During Detox

Home Remedies for Alcohol Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alcohol withdrawal results in a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms typically last between 24-74 hours and may significantly curb appetite. But remember that these symptoms are normal, and make sure to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated during this process as it will help clear your body of toxins.

Water, juice, and broth are all healthy choices during the early stages of withdrawal. However, don’t forget that eating healthy is also a vital component of your recovery because alcohol alters how your body metabolizes and uses nutrients.

Once you can begin eating again, it’s essential to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet. Eat foods from all four food groups in sufficient amounts to meet your caloric needs. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, but don’t forget to include lean protein and whole grains.

Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

If you detox at a hospital or inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment center, you will likely be prescribed medications to help mitigate withdrawal symptoms. While at home, though, you won’t have that luxury. But there are over-the-counter vitamins and mineral supplements you can take, however, that may be beneficial and help eliminate toxins. Some of these include B- vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and multivitamins.

Pros and Cons

Alcohol withdrawal can be a dangerous process, which is one reason why most medical providers and addiction experts maintain that it is best handled in a clinical environment. Alcohol detox causes physical and emotional symptoms that can be severe and, in many cases, very difficult to endure without medical assistance.

While withdrawing at home may seem like the best course financially, it’s also very risky. While a detox at home is most often warned against by medical professionals, of course, it can be done. If you choose to detox from alcohol at home, make sure you’re in a safe environment without access to alcohol and have support readily available from family or friends who can help you safely get through it.

If the symptoms of alcohol detox become too painful or severe, you should seek help from a medical professional immediately.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

If you choose to undergo medical detox, this will be the first step in treatment for addiction. Those who opt to go through withdrawals at home should also strongly consider specialized treatment following this process. After the body has rid itself of toxins, those motivated to make a full recovery should seek professional treatment.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers outpatient detox services and professional treatment that is comprehensive, customized for the individual, and comprised of evidence-based modalities, including psychotherapy, counseling, and group support.

Contact us today! We are dedicated to providing people with the tools and support they need to reclaim their lives and enjoy long-lasting sobriety, happiness, and wellness.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms

Alcohol Detox Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Detox Symptoms – Most Americans 18 and over have consumed alcohol at some point in their life. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 87% of the U.S. adult population has drunk at least one unit of alcohol. Unlike most other psychoactive addictive substances, alcohol is legal to consume for those over age 21 and is readily available.

Many people consume alcohol regularly and have minimal or no issues. Patterns of binge or excessive drinking, however, can suggest that a person has a problem with alcohol consumption, according to NIAAA.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Alcohol detox symptoms do not rigidly follow a specific schedule but manifest on a general timeline that fluctuates between people according to individual factors and the severity of their dependence on alcohol. The alcohol detox and withdrawal timeline includes the following stages that begin after the last drink has been consumed:

Stage 1: 8 Hours Later

The early hours after drinking has subsided may be characterized by nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, and anxiety. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Foggy thinking
  • Moodiness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors

Stage 2: 24-72 Hours Later

Elevated blood pressure, body temperature, breathing, and heart rate can be experienced during this time. These symptoms often peak and rapidly onset at this stage. Other symptoms may include sweating, confusion, irritability, and moodiness.

Stage 3: 3-4 Days Later

Agitation, fever, and, more rarely, delirium tremens (hallmarked by hallucinations, seizures, and severe confusion) may manifest at this time.

Stage 4: 5-7 Days Later

Most symptoms usually start to subside, decreasing in severity. Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, however, may persist for much longer.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

More About Alcohol Withdrawal

The severity of alcohol detox symptoms can vary significantly, and are influenced by several factors, including the following:

  • Duration of alcohol use
  • Average amount consumed
  • Medical history
  • Stress level
  • Liver function
  • Presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • Family history of addiction and substance abuse
  • History of childhood trauma such as neglect or abuse

Using other drugs in conjunction with alcohol can impact the withdrawal process and increase potential risks and side effects. The more dependent on alcohol an individual has become, the more likely the person is to experience more intense withdrawal symptoms.

The most severe (but, fortunately, the rarest) form of alcohol withdrawal is known as delirium tremens (DTs). This condition occurs in about 5% of patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal, and it can be deadly without treatment. About 1 in 20 who suffer from DTs will die, but this rate is significantly reduced among those people who receive medical treatment. DTs will probably not onset until a day or two after alcohol is totally eliminated from the bloodstream, and it can manifest suddenly and without warning.

It is for this reason that the withdrawal process should be closely supervised by a health care provider to ensure the patient’s safety throughout alcohol detox. Moreover, quitting drinking suddenly or “cold turkey” is never recommended without the help of medical supervision. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to life-threatening complications, as the brain and central nervous system (CNS) experience a “rebound” after being consistently subjugated by alcohol for a prolonged period.

Managing Symptoms During Medical Detox

After physical symptoms have been controlled, mental health specialists can help the person overcome some of the most severe emotional side effects of withdrawal. Sometimes this emotional instability, if not adequately managed, can become even more challenging to deal with than the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Medications can help to treat anxiety and depression, especially when used in combination with therapy and counseling. Preventing relapse is a vital part of any alcohol detox program, and group support and individual therapy can offer resources for clients throughout detox and beyond.

Alcohol detox centers may administer one or more of the following medications, which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to lessen alcohol-related cravings: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. These medications work to manage the symptoms of withdrawal and discourage patients from drinking again.

Naltrexone works by binding to and blocking opioid receptors in the brain, thereby reducing cravings and the potential rewards commonly incurred from alcohol use. Acamprosate is indicated to treat long-term withdrawal symptoms, and disulfiram causes people to become violently ill if they drink, therefore making drinking undesirable.

A fourth medication, the anticonvulsant drug topiramate, has also shown promise for the treatment of alcoholism by interfering with the way alcohol “rewards” those who abuse it. Topiramate’s primary function is to reduce abnormal excitement in the brain.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alcohol withdrawal shouldn’t be undertaken without the supervision of health care providers in a medical setting or detox center, as symptoms can manifest and accelerate quickly. Even after the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal have been controlled or have subsided, protracted withdrawal, or the long-lasting experience of emotional symptoms and cravings, may persist and can result in a relapse without the proper level of support and treatment.

During medical detox, the first step is to monitor and manage any existing physical symptoms and achieve stabilization. Medications are often used to relieve symptoms such as dehydration, nausea, seizures, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines, particularly Ativan, are commonly used during alcohol detox to mitigate over-activity in the CNS that may manifest as the body begins to restore its natural order.

Also, blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, and body temperature are all closely monitored, and measures can be taken to ensure that they remain within safe levels. Some people who are dependent on alcohol may also suffer from malnutrition due to poor diet and the effects that alcohol has on bodily organs and the digestion of nutrients. Various vitamin supplements and the implementation of a healthy diet and regular sleep schedule may reduce withdrawal side effects and facilitate the healing process.

How Alcohol Impacts the Brain

Alcohol use boosts the brain’s levels of dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure. For this reason, alcohol can temporarily improve mood, increase self-confidence, and lessen inhibitions. As alcohol is cleared from the bloodstream, however, these feelings quickly subside.

Repeated interference in dopamine levels can cause the brain to become accustomed to the presence of alcohol and, as a result, stop producing dopamine at healthy levels without exposure to the substance.

The more alcohol a person consumes, the more a person’s tolerance builds and the more dependent on it the brain may become. Tolerance is a byproduct of the brain’s capacity toward “repeated exposure = diminished response” in response to exposure to psychoactive substances. When the effects of alcohol subside, a dependent person will encounter highly unpleasant and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, ranging from mild to lethal.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction After Detox

Following detox, those who have an alcohol use disorder are urged to participate in a partial-hospitalization or intensive outpatient program that uses an integrated approach which includes evidence-based treatment modalities, such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, and peer group support.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers outpatient detox and medication-assisted treatment. We employ caring, highly-competent addiction professionals who are dedicated to providing clients with the resources and tools they need to achieve abstinence, avoid relapse, and enjoy long-term happiness and sobriety.

We can help restore sanity to your life! Please contact us today to discover how we can help you on your path to recovery!