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Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox is the period of time you go through immediately after you stop drinking. It’s a necessary step, and probably the most difficult step, in overcoming alcoholism. While a person who is addicted to alcohol will always need to avoid alcohol and will always be an alcoholic, alcohol detox means the difference between being a using alcoholic and a recovering one.
Alcohol detox lets your body cast of the alcohol and its immediate effects, much like letting a poison dissipate from your system. For alcoholics, alcohol literally is poison that affects both your mind and your body. When you’re in the habit of drinking and you stop, your body and your mind will both react, sometimes violently.
The human body is very adaptable, but it’s also a thing of habit. When you give it alcohol on a regular basis, your system adjusts and gets used to the regular intake of alcohol. When that doesn’t happen, you will experience a variety of physical and mental effects known as withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms during alcohol detox are both psychological, meaning that you’re mentally dependent on the alcohol, and physiological, meaning that your bodily systems have become dependent as well. Many people make the mistake of thinking that alcoholism is all “in your head,” and that a person could stop drinking if they simply decided to do so.
This is only partly correct. An alcoholic can choose to not purchase a drink and drink it, or not have alcohol in the house so that drinking is difficult and essentially go through alcohol detox on his own. No one forces an alcoholic to keep drinking but himself, or herself. So in that regard, an alcoholic does make the decision to drink.
But if a person who has never struggled with addiction could understand how difficult the compulsion to drink is to overcome, they may better understand why so many people continue to use even though they know it’s physically harming them and causing many problems in their lives.
Alcohol detox causes withdrawal symptoms that make it very difficult to stay strong and not drink, and for many the psychological symptoms can be just as harrowing as the physical ones. If a person has been addicted to alcohol for a long time, however, or they tend to use large amounts of alcohol at a time, the withdrawal symptoms can be almost impossible to deal with on their own. It may not even be healthy or safe to try to handle withdrawal on your own, depending on a number of factors.
If people are in poor overall health and/or of advanced age, it’s really crucial to go through alcohol detox in a medical setting with staff that are qualified to manage their symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be physically difficult and even have serious consequences. The age of the people going through withdrawal can also make a difference in the types of treatments used to ease symptoms. Whether in a treatment center or on your own, alcohol detox is the first, necessary step in freeing yourself from alcohol.

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