What to Expect During Recovery
Recovery from alcoholism can be hard. Not only is the craving for the substance strong, but some side effects from withdrawal can hit you pretty hard during the first few days. It is very important to stop drinking when you know that this habit has become an addiction.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the frequent use of alcohol can affect the body in several ways. It interferes with the communication connections in the brain and can damage several organs like the liver and pancreas. Fatal heart problems often afflict those who abuse alcohol. Strokes are not uncommon, too.
Alcohol can also weaken your whole immune system. It is a healthy choice to stop drinking when you determine you have a problem before you start experiencing these health issues.
This is not easy. It’s fair to say it takes concentrated effort and some help with counseling and rehabilitation as well. It'll be easier if you know what to expect and how to prepare.
The Most Common Symptoms During Recovery
Abusing alcohol affects your brain. Unfortunately, as you abuse alcohol, your brain gets used to it. This is part of the physiological reasons you become dependent on alcohol. As soon as you stop drinking alcohol, you start suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This will trigger reactions that will bring on several additional and uncomfortable symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms will get weaker as time goes by, but they are pretty strong at first.
Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to very serious, so you have to make sure you seek medical assistance as you go through them. Mild symptoms include vomiting, cold sweating, insomnia, headaches, shaky hands, and the feeling of constant anxiety. Other symptoms can include high blood pressure, confusion, fever, and a racing heart.
The Most Serious Symptoms During Recovery
The most serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal often include hallucinations and seizures. The severe withdrawal symptoms start around 12 hours after the last drink and continue for around two days. But you may still have one more withdrawal stage to go through. This last stage of physical withdrawal is known as Delirium Tremens (DT).
DT lasts from 48 to 72 hours after you stop drinking. In the worst cases, it can lead to severe hallucinations, delusions, and even death. If you suffer from DT, you need to be admitted into a hospital or rehabilitation facility. DTs happen in the most extreme cases, but it is by far the most dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptom.
The Craving Will Get Weaker, But It Does Not Cease
As you may already know, recovery from alcoholism is never easy. Not only are the symptoms of withdrawal painful, but the craving will be constant, especially in the beginning. Drinking alcohol again makes the symptoms go away for a while, but it will also set you back to point zero.
All the problems caused by the alcohol come back if you start drinking again, so it is in the first days you have to try your hardest to avoid the urge to drink alcohol again. Unfortunately, most people in recovery never lose their craving to drink again. But they do learn how to avoid situations that tempt them to drink again. Understanding that each day can be a challenge is important because it will give you the strength that you need to win the battle against abusing alcohol again.
Your Problems Will Make You Want To Drink Again
People get addicted for many reasons. No one simply decides to abuse alcohol without a myriad of different psychological, physical and emotional reasons. Alcohol is a depressant. Many people who abuse alcohol use it to calm down or to mitigate emotional pain.
That's why when problems appear, your first instinct may be to drink again. If certain unsolved problems caused you to drink in the first place, there is the chance you may want to go back to the alcohol when you have to face it again.
This is why it is important to understand what your triggers are and how to deal with them. Only by being prepared for the tough times, emotional issues, and life events will you find your inner strength to remain sober for another day. How do you do that best? You do that best by seeking the help of a professional.
Recovery Will Be Much Harder Without Help
Overcoming alcoholism is a lifelong struggle. The day-to-day struggles is the main reason why support is so important during recovery. There are many kinds of help you can seek. Help from family, friends, and loved ones is obviously important for anyone going through a difficult time. Seeking specialized help, is even more important. You can look for a rehabilitation clinic, group support or a therapist. Ideally, you can participate in all of them.
A rehabilitation clinic focused on helping people who are addicted to alcohol is an ideal choice. There, you will have contact with the specialized professionals who will guide you. They will also help you obtain any medical treatment or prescriptions you need to deal with your withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment can be done in two ways: inpatient and outpatient. In the first method, the person is admitted to the rehabilitation clinic and stays there during the detox period. The other method allows the patient more freedom to come and go from the rehabilitation center. It is also helpful to have a strong support network at home.
Group supports and therapy are important. By sharing experiences with others, you can put your issues in perspective. Therapy helps people learn what their triggers are and how to find healthy mechanisms to deal with them. Understanding these triggers, and learning how to deal with them is vital to recovery.
Therapy can also be focused on ways to replace the substance with other healthy activities. The healthy activities help with a successful recovery. Being free from alcohol is not easy, but it is rewarding. It leads to a much more healthy and happy life.