Alcoholism or Alcohol addiction occurs when an individual is driven to use alcohol, regardless of the unwanted and undesired consequences. Addiction is different from dependence; addiction is a psychological process, while dependence is physiological.
People are usually apprehensive about quitting drinking because they are either nervous or scared regarding the withdrawal symptoms experienced during the detox stage. While some people may feel only by the minor effects of an alcohol abuse disorder, others may face extreme difficulty. Withdrawal symptoms may change fast and aggressively, so it is crucial to undergo the detox period in the care of medical practitioners. The professionals at serenity center Baton Rouge will be able to help you manage the symptoms with various medications.
The detox stage is the primary step in treating alcohol addiction. In this stage, alcohol is entirely flushed out of the body. Withdrawal symptoms typically subside approximately a week or two after beginning a detox. However, the period for these symptoms to subside could take longer depending on the severity of your alcohol abuse disorder. The person will focus on other aspects of their recovery from this point onwards, such as counseling sessions, therapy, and support groups.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it reduces functional or nervous activity; it manipulates the body into relying on it over months and years of drinking. The brain eventually stops producing certain chemicals because the body obtains them through alcohol, and thus it becomes dependent on it. Therefore, when a person quits drinking, it takes a lot of time for their body to go back to being normal. This process is painstaking as the person has to bear with the withdrawal symptoms such as fever, headache, hallucinations, nausea, and irregular heartbeat.
How does Alcohol Abuse affect you and why do you need a detox?
- Liver damage.
The liver is an organ that helps remove and break down harmful substances, including alcohol, from the body. Long-term alcohol use interferes with this bodily process and increases the risk for liver disease and chronic liver inflammation. This inflammation causes scarring that is known as liver cirrhosis. The accumulation of scar tissues destroys the liver, and as the liver becomes increasingly damaged, it has a more challenging time removing toxic substances from the body.
Liver disease is life-threatening since it leads to the build-up of waste and toxins in the body. Women are at a more significant risk of developing alcoholic liver disease as their bodies are likely to absorb more alcohol and require prolonged periods to process it. Women also exhibit liver damage more quickly than men.
Alcohol-induced pancreatitis is likely caused by increased viscous secretions that block small pancreatic ducts and premature activation of lysosomal and digestive enzymes within pancreatic cells induced by too much drinking. The build-up of these enzymes can lead to inflammation known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Alcohol irritates the linings of the stomach and makes the digestive juices flow. When enough acid and alcohol build up in the stomach, the person feels nauseated and may throw up. Years of heavy drinking may cause painful sores in the stomach called ulcers. High levels of stomach juices make you not feel hungry, which is why long-term drinkers often don’t always get the nutrients required by their bodies.
- Fluctuating Sugar Levels.
The pancreas is efficient in regulating the body’s response to glucose and the use of insulin. When the liver and pancreas are not functioning correctly, there is a risk of experiencing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Damaged pancreas may also stop the body from producing enough insulin to use sugar. The break in the production of insulin may lead to too much sugar in the blood or hyperglycemia. If the body cannot balance and manage the blood sugar levels, the person may experience more significant complications and side effects related to diabetes.
Based on extensive research studies, there is a solid scientific consensus on the link between drinking alcohol and various types of cancer. The research evidence indicates that the risk of developing alcohol-associated cancer is higher when a person keeps drinking. A clear pattern has emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of cancer.
- Liver Cancer.
Alcohol consumption is an independent and primary cause of hepatocellular carcinoma, also known as liver cancer. Chronic infection with hepatitis B and C virus are the other major reasons for liver cancer.
- Head and Neck Cancer.
Alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for certain head and neck cancers, especially oral cavity cancers, including the pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box). Furthermore, the risks of these cancers are substantially even higher among those who consume a high amount of alcohol and tobacco.
- Colorectal Cancer.
Alcohol consumption is currently commonly associated with an increased risk of cancers of the rectum and colon. A study that examined the relationship between colorectal cancer risk and alcohol consumption explained that people who drank 50 grams or more of alcohol every day regularly had nearly 1.5 times the risk of developing colorectal cancer as occasional drinkers or non-drinkers.
Alcohol abuse and poor sleep are very closely linked to each other. This occurs because alcohol interferes with the wake-sleep cycles, making it more difficult for the person to fall and stay asleep throughout the whole night. It also eases the muscles in the throat, making the person more prone to snoring and sleep apnea, a possibly dangerous sleep disorder where the breathing frequently stops and starts.
A massive part of alcohol recovery is teaching yourself to quit drinking and live a healthier lifestyle, including proper exercise and nutrition. While every person’s body differs, regaining a healthy weight is a realistic aim for many people who stay sober for the long term. Alcohol interferes with the immune system, thus preventing it from producing enough white blood cells to fend off germs and bacteria. This lack of WBC is why many long-term, heavy drinkers tend to struggle with bouts of pneumonia and tuberculosis. When a person works towards achieving his sobriety goals, the improvement in his mental health will not go unnoticed. This change may include increased self-respect and self-confidence and decreased depression and anxiety, especially if there is a history of struggle with a co-occurring mental health issue.