Alcohol abuse and addiction can break a family apart. Fore-armed with some knowledge about what to expect during the detoxification process will help ensure that your family works together to beat the addiction.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms
First, if you have not already done so, you need to understand the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Oddly enough, the body can begin to exhibit signs of detoxing and inebriation at the same time. If the alcohol level is not at its normal (high) levels, then the body begins the withdrawal process. Some of the signs of alcohol detox are: insomnia and nightmares, restlessness and anxiety. This means that your loved one is going to be on edge, night and day during the road to sobriety.

As the body metabolizes the remaining alcohol, more dangerous symptoms appear including, tremors, vomiting, high blood pressure and racing heart rate. The body is experiencing the shock of not having the chemicals it is used to having. It is these (and the following symptoms) that make me suggest that no one try Alcohol Detox at home. There are alcohol detox centers everywhere and it is a safer way to get sober. The blood pressure and racing heart are dangerous no matter your age, but particularly for older people, these can be, literally, killer symptoms.

In addition, the brain is having its own trauma in response to the lack of alcohol. Some of the symptoms there are: impaired memory, sensitivity to light, sounds and tactile sensations. In some cases people experience paranoia and hallucinations. These are the most troubling for a loved one to witness. The idea of the sensitivity is bad enough. Patients often complain that their clothes are hurting them, for example. But the paranoia and the hallucinations are horrifying to watch.

How Long Does It Last?
This is a good question. The unfortunate answer is that a full and true detox from alcohol will take at least three weeks. There are residual symptoms that linger for another, usually, three weeks. So the full detoxification is a six week process. The first three weeks are the most dangerous. Besides the risk of seizures and heart failure, there are unpleasant results like diarrhea, vomiting and heavy sweats. These bring the risk of dehydration, of course, so there are no laughing matter. On a scale, however, they seem mild in comparison to say, a seizure.

Next Steps
As a family, you need to move forward once the alcohol detox is done. Counseling, a 12-step program, family therapy, some or all of these things are in your future. Helping your loved one live a clean and sober life will be the gift you give to yourself and the whole family every day. It is worth the journey, worth the pain and worth the effort.

Alcohol Detox

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