Alcohol Detox

What is Detox?

Detoxification (detox) is the process by which the body rids itself of a single or several toxins. The process of detoxification occurs throughout the body’s organs, such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and bloodstream. The release of these toxins can cause several withdrawal symptoms; sometimes, these are life-threatening or severally uncomfortable. Additionally, detox can also be associated with conditions such as:

to name just a few.

Once the substance(s) leave the body, which can happen within days or weeks, the person can be left with psychological cravings for the drug(s). There are three crucial components to supervised detoxification from substances

A variety of avenues exist through which a person may experience detox:

  1. In the privacy of his/her/their home, unsupervised
  2. Detox in the privacy of his/her/their own home under the supervision of medical staff
  3. Within emergency hospital care
  4. Acute care clinics
  5. Detox only facilities
  6. Residential Detox facilities with continuing recovery treatment services 

Detoxification from substances can be dangerous, especially drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. As withdrawal can become fatal, generally, one should not attempt detox alone without medical supervision or support. Without the proper medical attention to a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, one can detox at home and still be subject to all the physiological, psychological, mental, emotional, and intellectual aftereffects of drugs and alcohol. These aftereffects leave a person newly detoxed vulnerable to relapse and closer to overdosing. It should be remembered that persons going through detoxification are experiencing a personal and medical crisis. Detox is not to be taken lightly. Though it is outside the scope of this blog to discuss in full, repeated detoxes have a profound impact on the brain and the severity of cravings.

Since 1958, when the American Medical Association designated alcoholism as a medical condition (now expanded to include other drugs), many advances in treatment have been made. In a quality, licensed detox facility, a person will not be subjected to a padded cell to sweat it out or tied to a bed, as done decades ago.

What is Residential Medical Supervised Detoxification?

Medical detox aims to minimize the physical harm and psychological trauma substance addiction causes. As one detoxes from drugs and/or alcohol, a range of symptoms, some listed above, can occur. Sadly, since the late 1950s, more people have been addicted to multiple drugs and generally suffer from co-occurring mental health conditions, some brought on by the use of drugs; other mental health conditions are the underlying cause of addiction. This reality complicates the detoxification process and necessitates the need for trained medical staff: doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, trained addiction social workers, etc., to participate in a client’s detoxification treatment plan.

As stated above, the purpose of medically supervised detoxification is to minimize the harm of substances as the toxins are released from the body and brain. But that is not the sole purpose of the detox process. The second part of the detoxification process prepares the client to proceed with treatment. Many people make the mistake of thinking that detox is drug abuse treatment. It is NOT because of this misunderstanding, people who go through detox and do not go on to treatment relapse with greater regularity than those who go forward to comprehensive treatment programs, including a carefully developed after-care plan. Sometimes this includes living in a supervised halfway house.

It should be clear by now that detoxification may require a multitude of medications (depending upon one’s mental health, physical health, and state of addiction), as well as regular comprehensive evaluations during the detoxification process.

Residential detoxification facilities provide 24/7 supervision, observation, and support for clients. While some “residential detox facilities” help some people detox without medical care, they are based on a social model. They generally do not have medical staff onsite. If you or your loved one chooses this type of detox facility, you should ensure the facility has linkage to medical care in case of emergencies. 

The psychological and physical impact of withdrawal must be carefully managed to prepare a client to proceed with drug/alcohol treatment. To do this, it is oftentimes better to be away from home, friends, work, or school obligations which can “trigger” a person to use again during the detox process. These triggers can lead to disastrous results, such as relapse with a greater danger of overdosing. Residential Medical Detox facilities, such as Coastal Detox, provide the medical supervision required while removing the client from his/her/their environment, and possible triggers.

Additionally, one size fits all detox is illogical. A comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of a client’s condition is needed to help the person detox effectively and prepare him/her/them to enter drug/alcohol addiction treatment. The stress exerted on a person’s body and mind during detox can be challenging to manage alone. That is why residential medical detox facilities provide the optimum care. The presence of caring medical, psychological, and caring, experienced staff can ensure that a person moving through the detox process does so successfully.

“[T]he domain of detoxification refers not only to the reduction of the physiological and psychological features of withdrawal syndromes but also to the process of interrupting the momentum of compulsive use in persons diagnosed with substance dependence… 

All clinicians who assess and treat patients should be able to obtain and interpret information regarding the needs of these persons, and all should be knowledgeable about the biomedical and psychosocial dimensions of alcohol and illicit drug dependence.

Requisite skills and knowledge base include the following:

Residential medical detox facilities should have licensed, certified and/or registered clinicians who provide this 24/7 care. Coastal Detox offers this type of residential detox facility. Still, should you or your loved one be unable to enter residential medical detox at our facility, our staff can develop a well-managed, supervised detox treatment program that prepares you or your loved one to move forward into addiction treatment. Remember, withdrawing from drugs and alcohol does not address all the issues that arise from the disease of addiction. 

Call now and speak with our trained staff to take control of your life and bring hope back.

References:

https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma15-4131.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64109/

What is the Brain?

The brain is one of largest organs in the body. It is comprised of billions of neurons, which communicate together sending messages to the body regulating breathing, thinking, feeling, sensing, temperature, hunger and all the processes that regulates one’s body.

There are three main sections of the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. These sections are broken down into other areas, each with specific functions but for the purpose of this piece the discussion will remain with the basic brain sections.

The cerebrum is comprised of two hemispheres known as the cortex (the outer layer is called grey matter) and the deeper inner layer (called white matter). There are four lobes that comprise the cortex: the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital. All of these areas serve to help a person, think, feel, interpret, communicate, and move.

The subcortex is below the cortex and continually interacts with the cortex to send messages about emotions. It is responsible for more primitive responses. Many psychiatric disorders are associated with abnormalities in the subcortical structure.

“The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body…The brain stem sends signals to the spinal cord, while the cerebellum controls voluntary muscles movement, balance, and equilibrium.”  “New studies are exploring the cerebellum’s roles in thought, emotions, and social behavior” which may include addiction, autism, and schizophrenia.

The above is a simplified explanation of the brain structure and function. As one of the largest organs in the body, responsible for communications of every type, however, occasional, or chronic drinking involves a complex series of disruptive synaptic responses. Cells in the brain (or neurons) communicate with each other using chemicals exchanged at a synapse site. This exchange is called neurotransmission. 

Alcohols Impact on the Brain

The addictive use of any substance placed into the body has profound and widespread negative impacts on the brain and the organs, which translates into one’s emotional, intellectual, and physical functioning. Abuse of alcohol can change the brain’s ability to send appropriate signals to the body’s organs. Years of brain/alcohol studies indicate that significant changes do occur in the structure and functioning of the brain under the influence of alcohol. 

What does Alcohol do to the Brain

Alcohol is absorbed into the body quickly (more rapidly in women than men.) Alcohol reaches the brain within five minutes of consumption. Not only does alcohol impede communication pathways, but it also creates deficits in the brain’s ability to process information.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the amount of alcohol consumed determines the effects of alcohol on the brain. These other influences include:

People who drink over long periods can develop persistent, adverse changes in the brain. These changes can cause:

New types of brain scans reveal information on the impact of alcohol on the brain, whether for an occasional drinker, moderate drinker, heavy drinker, or chronic drinker. According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, which analyzed data from 36,000 adults, concluded that “light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with reductions in overall brain volume… (the grey and white matter). The link grew stronger the greater the level of alcohol consumption.” The impact was dramatic leading researchers to conclude that those who increased alcohol consumption from 1/2 a beer a day to a pint of beer or a glass of wine showed changes in aging two years.

Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (part of the government’s National Institute of Health) states that drinking a lot over time or drinking a lot on a single occasion can cause:

A False Sense of Well Being

Many people enjoy drinking a beer or two, a cocktail or two, several glasses of wine, or other types of hard alcohol. The initial feelings associated with drinking are ease and a reduction in tension due to psychological influences. But very quickly, as alcohol is absorbed into the body and crosses the blood barriers into the brain within minutes, that feeling of ease is replaced by a host of other feelings. Reaction times, decision-making, and behavior are negatively altered and slowed. Sloppy movements, slurred speech, falling, and loss of focus, are some of the immediate side effects of drinking alcohol.

Continued drinking can cause what is known as an alcohol-induced blackout. A person who blacks out from alcohol may still be walking around, talking, and engaging in behaviors that will not be remembered in several hours. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and stops new memories from being formed—thus the blackout.

Finally, alcohol is a depressant; it depresses the central nervous system. It hinders, as stated above the body’s ability to regulate temperature, mood, breathing, etc. So, while one who is drinking may initially feel elated, the end result is the opposite.

Initially, upon consuming alcohol, part of the brain releases more dopamine, which then travels to the reward centers of the brain. That is why one feels good. Over time, that feeling is pushed aside. And the desire to drink more replaces the feel-good impulses. The sad reality of alcohol abuse is the body’s need for more. Ironically, over time the body’s ability to produce dopamine and serotonin (serotonin is needed to regulate mood, blood clotting, healing, sleep, and more) is reduced. Disrupting the normal production of dopamine and serotonin has profoundly negative results on the body’s mental, emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being. It can take years or as little as a month to become addicted to alcohol.

Getting Help

Your behavior has changed. You grow belligerent while drinking. You blackout after drinking. You cannot seem to function without a drink. Nothing feels right. Coastal Detox’s treatment facility offers professional detox, which enables you to prepare for a life-affirming treatment plan. Caring, knowledgeable staff can help you determine the best treatment approach for your needs. Don’t be afraid to reclaim your life. Call now.

Turn on a TV and you will see that “diet” alcohol is all the rage these days. Beer, seltzer, and even wine companies have begun marketing their products around calorie and carbohydrate content. They are doing this because the perception is that alcohol makes you gain weight. This perception isn’t completely inaccurate either.

Alcohol can affect the body in many ways, one of which is a person’s weight. If you suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction, maintaining a healthy weight while drinking can be a tough thing to do, especially when you factor in the other effects addiction can have on the body from a nutritional standpoint. That being said, can you drink alcohol and still lose weight? Well, let’s take a deeper look and attempt to answer that question.

Why Is There Such an Emphasis on Calorie Content?

As we mentioned, many alcohol companies are trying to market their low-calorie content to the more calorie and carb-conscious consumer. That’s because, as a whole, beer, in particular, has largely been known to be the source of what is called “empty calories.” Empty calories are calories that offer no nutritional value whatsoever. They also tend to be very filling, making you feel full even when you aren’t. It’s a big reason why people don’t feel hungry while they are actively drinking. Due to the fact that alcohol can’t actually be stored in the body, these empty calories become even worse for you because they can’t be properly processed or digested. 

The average 12-ounce beer contains 155 calories, while the healthier alternative red wine contains 125 calories in a 5-ounce glass. The more empty calories that the body takes in, the more fat it produces. Additionally, many people enjoy mixed drinks with some of the more popular mixers like sugary juices or sodas. These mixers also contain large amounts of empty calories to go along with the empty calories found in the alcohol it is being mixed with. This can also contribute to excess fat and unwanted weight gain.

How Can Drinking Contribute to Weight Gain?

While you might not get hungry while actively drinking due to all the empty calories, that doesn’t mean you won’t get hungry later on in the night. In fact, think about what happens after a big night of drinking. Chances are, if you are like most people, after a long night of drinking, you want some greasy, fatty fast food either at the end of the night, the next morning, or both. 

Not only is this food bad for you from a nutritional standpoint, but eating right before bed makes it harder for the body to properly process the food you ate, thus resulting in more fat build-up. While if you were sober, you might think twice about a late-night fast food craving and either find a healthier alternative or skip eating altogether. Alcohol affects your decision-making and can lead to poor choices such as that late-night fast food run. 

Can Alcohol Do Damage to the Body Internally?

Over time, heavy drinking and alcohol consumption can do damage to the body and the brain. One of the organs that it can do the most damage to is the liver. By design, your liver serves the purpose of filtering out bad things that enter the body, such as harmful substances like drugs and alcohol. Additionally, it also helps break down fats, carbs, and proteins as part of your overall metabolism. Over time, significant alcohol consumption can result in what’s known as an alcoholic fatty liver. When this happens, it affects the way your body breaks down and stores things like carbs, proteins, and fats which can result in unwanted weight gain.

Does Alcohol Slow Metabolism?

Another way that alcohol can have a negative impact on the body internally is with your hormones. Drinking alcohol can have negative effects on the hormonal balance of the body, specifically testosterone. Since testosterone plays a role in the body’s metabolism, including its ability to burn fat, drinking can directly affect things like:

All of these things can play a role in both weight gain as well as making it harder to lose weight.

Is the “Beer Gut” a Real Thing?

Chances are you are familiar with the term “beer gut.” Often times it is used to describe excess fat in the stomach area. However, a beer gut is more than just an expression. It is very much a real thing. All those empty calories that we talked about gets stored as fat in the body, resulting in weight gain that is often carried in the abdominal area. 

What Does Alcohol Do to the Digestive System?

In addition to everything else mentioned, alcohol can also wreak havoc on the digestive system. Drinking alcohol puts stress on the stomach and other intestines. This can lead to problems when it comes to food properly moving through the digestive tract. This can also lead to a decrease in digestive secretions. These secretions help break down food into nutrients that are absorbed and used throughout the body. By drinking, you impair the body’s ability to produce these secretions, which, in turn, affects your metabolism and your weight. 

Can I Reverse Alcohol-Induced Weight Gain?

The good news is that if you have started noticing that you are putting on unwanted weight as a result of your drinking, there’s a sure-fire way to stop gaining weight and even losing weight. That is to simply cut back on your drinking or eliminate drinking entirely. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done, especially for those who might be suffering from a substance abuse issue or addiction. Luckily, there are still ways for those people to stop drinking and lose weight as well with the help of treatment facilities. 

The first step in this process is to detox the body and rid it of any and all harmful substances. Without ridding the body of these substances, it can’t begin the healing process. Due to the nature of detox and the side effects associated with it, detoxing should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This can be done at either a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment facility that also offers detox services such as Coastal Detox. Attempting to self-detox can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. Additionally, trying to detox on your own increases the chances that you will start drinking again as a way to alleviate some of the side effects associated with detoxing. 

Plans After Detox

After you have completed detox, you can then enter into a treatment program. Whether you enter into an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization program, one of the more successful treatment methods for those suffering from weight-related issues as it pertains to alcohol abuse or addiction is behavioral therapy. With behavioral therapy, a therapist will work with you to essentially reprogram your brain so that it no longer wants or needs alcohol or any other illicit substances in order to function properly. Your therapist will also teach you healthy ways in which you can combat any cravings that might arise.

At Coastal Detox, in addition to our extensive detox programs, we also offer behavioral therapies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In addition, we also offer holistic treatments designed to complement our more traditional therapies, including:

In addition to these behavioral therapies and holistic treatments, another important component is learning how to live a healthier lifestyle through diet and fitness. A well-balanced diet, coupled with regular physical activity, is a great way to not only lose weight but to keep it off as well. Having a support system in place will help keep you motivated, especially on those days where you might be struggling.

Can You Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight?

While it might be possible to drink alcohol and lose weight, it certainly isn’t a guarantee or even likely. In fact, the easiest and safest way to not only lose weight but keep it off is to not drink at all, as well as eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. If you or someone you know is suffering from uncontrolled weight gain as a result of alcohol, it might be time to get help before it is too late. Excessive alcohol use and abuse can lead to significant health problems in addition to weight gain. Seeking out help will not only help with your weight loss but also will help improve your overall quality of life since you will no longer be at the mercy of drugs or alcohol

At Coastal Detox, we want everyone that comes to see us to get the help that they need so that they can go on and live a happy, healthy, and sober life. Give us a call today to learn more about the detox services and treatment plans that we offer and learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.

According to the 2019 national survey, 14.1 million adults ages 18 and older suffered from an alcohol use disorder. As many know, drinking heavily especially over long periods of time can affect the body adversely. An addiction to alcohol and memory loss can happen as a result.  

The brain is one part of the body that gets hit the hardest since alcohol is a depressant drug. Depressant drugs act on the central nervous system (CNS) to make people feel more relaxed. Over time, both young and old people might suffer from alcoholism and memory loss instead of relaxation. 

It’s difficult to stop drinking when people reach this stage. If so, it’s important that they go through an alcohol detox to reverse some of the harm done. Otherwise, it could result in lifetime memory loss and even alcohol-related dementia.  

Alcohol and Memory Loss 

According to the journal, Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, about 78% of those suffering from an alcohol use disorder had abnormal brain changes. This journal also noted that heavy drinking could result in what’s known as alcohol-related dementia (ARD) and alcohol-induced persisting amnestic syndrome. The latter is known better by Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS).  

Both of these have similar characteristics to each other in the way they affect memory and are due to excessive drinking. Each causes permanent brain damage that can’t be reversed. For these reasons, they’re grouped together under the overarching term, alcohol-related brain damage or alcohol-related cognitive impairment. However, both of these health issues have their differences as well.

Memory Loss

Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD)

ARD can change a person’s life significantly. Alcohol and memory don’t mix well together in the first place. Yet, excessive drinking over time induces a state of dementia. People with ARD may have extreme difficulty learning new things, doing semi-complicated tasks, logical thinking, and remembering things they once knew. Something which may have been simple in the past, such as driving a car, can be a foreign concept to people with it. 

Other signs and symptoms of ARD include: 

  • Trouble focusing 
  • Issues with problem-solving 
  • Difficulty controlling emotions 
  • Lack of planning and organizational skills 
  • Loss of motivation (even to do simple tasks like bathing)
  • Lack of short-term and long-term memory 
  • Inability to empathize with people
  • Difficulty balancing 

Alcoholism and memory loss issues are common with those with ARD. In cases such as these, they might be unable to stop drinking. Even when they recognize how it’s destroying their brain, their deep dependence on alcohol forces them to continue drinking. 

The signs and symptoms of ARD typically manifest based on how much damage was done to the brain through excessive drinking. Scans of the brain of those with ARD show a shrinkage of the frontal brain lobes. So, some people with ARD might display different symptoms than others. 

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) 

While ARD is always because of excessive drinking, WKS isn’t always. This syndrome affects memory and can be due to consuming alcohol, is due to a lack of vitamin B1, or thiamine. Thiamine is an essential supplement that the body needs in order to function properly. It helps the immune system, converts energy, and is crucial to cognitive function overall. 

Signs and symptoms of WKS are: 

  • Low blood pressure 
  • Difficulty learning 
  • Memory loss (long-term and short-term)
  • Trouble developing new memories at all 
  • Vision impairments 
  • Constant confusion 

People who drink too much to the point of hurting their brain functionality may develop WKS chronically, or an acute version. The acute version that predates the chronic version is called Wernicke’s encephalopathy. The long-term, chronic version can be called Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome. Some medical professionals believe that WKS can be separated into these two versions. 

Swift treatment can prevent deeper brain and nerve damage. Abstaining from drinking is absolutely necessary to recovery. That said, even in the acute stage, those in recovery may still never regain their brain functionality as it once was in the past. 

Alcohol and Memory Loss in Young People 

One of the reasons that there is a law put in place to stop people of a certain age from drinking is because it can affect their brains negatively. The brain isn’t fully formed when a person is younger. Drinking can stunt the parts of their brain that have to do with memory. 

Research shows that young adults who admitted to drinking heavily had a smaller hippocampus than their peers who did not. The hippocampus is the portion of the brain that has to do with memory and learning. Young adults with this issue weren’t able to process information as well as their peers who didn’t drink heavily which leads to a learning disability overall. 

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Blacking Out From Alcohol and Memory Loss 

The effects of alcohol on memory can result in long-term, permanent damage. However, most people are aware that it can affect memory in the short term as well. For instance, when people drink too much to get to a certain blood alcohol content (BAC), they will blackout. One study shows that when people reach a BAC of 0.22%, there is a 50% chance they will experience a blackout. 

When a person blacks out they won’t recall what happened while they were drunk. Similarly, they might remember a portion of what happened, but not everything. In this case, it’s called browning out, greying out, or a partial blackout.  

Drinking excessively over time can affect the hippocampus permanently. Though, excessive drinking in the short term still affects the hippocampus, as alcohol interacts with the central nervous system (CNS). New memories can’t be formed when a person is blacked out, although they might be able to engage in conversations and drive. This isn’t always the case. 

When a person blacks out they may have trouble: 

  • Standing 
  • Not slurring their speech 
  • Making sound judgments 
  • Seeing correctly 
  • Walking 
  • Driving 

Although a person may have drunk enough alcohol and memory loss is occurring, they might not be aware of it. When this happens it can be dangerous as they might engage in risky behaviors, like driving. It’s easy to crash in this state of mind. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Intervention (CDC) estimates that there are 261 deaths per day because of excessive drinking. Alcohol-related crashes result in about one death per 50 minutes in the United States. This accounts for 28% of all deaths that have to do with motor vehicles. 

Avoiding the Effects of Alcohol and Memory Loss: Professional Treatment

Once a person suffers from alcoholism and memory loss as a result, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. Yet, some research shows promising results for those with WKS and ARD. For instance, since WKS is due to a thiamine deficiency, getting enough could help with some of the symptoms. Thiamine supplements and consuming this vitamin through an IV can help. Additionally, abstaining from drinking as a whole is important to recovering from WKS. 

Also, taking the medication, memantine, can potentially help with the symptoms of ARD. This medication helps people with Alzheimer’s, which also results in a slow progression of memory loss over time (like ARD). It also helps with symptoms of dementia in general. The way it works is by minimizing irregular activity within the brain. However, it’s important to note that it won’t cure ARD, and those suffering from alcoholism will continue to get worse if they don’t stop drinking. 

Treatment for Alcoholism 

alcoholism and memory loss

The best way to stop the slow creep of memory loss due to excessive drinking is to stop drinking. Treatment like thiamine supplements and memantine will only do so much. They won’t be effective if people suffering from alcoholism continue to drink while or after they take either. An alcohol detox is the first step to overcoming alcoholism and preventing any further brain damage in the process. 

When an individual goes through an alcohol detox, they will be able to get rid of all the toxins and traces of the substance in a safe environment. The trouble with detoxing from alcohol is that it could result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Headaches 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures
  • Shakiness 
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Fever-like symptoms 
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate 

For reasons such as these, it’s necessary to be supervised when deciding to cut alcohol out after an addiction to it. If a person drinks to the point of memory loss, it’s likely they will have severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop on their own. Additionally, certain medications can help make the process more comfortable. 

After the detox, people suffering from an alcohol addiction will still need to learn how to stop drinking for good. Counseling and therapy can teach people how to cope with difficult situations that may trigger their urge to drink. This can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. People with an alcohol addiction may opt for inpatient alcohol treatment because they will be able to live at the facility, which removes external triggers. 

Coastal Detox Can Help People Overcome Alcoholism and Memory Loss 

Here at Coastal Detox, we are dedicated to helping patients get through an addiction and mitigate some of the effects that are associated with it, like memory loss. It’s not an easy process, but our compassionate team is here to provide help every step of the way. Don’t wait a moment longer to get the help you deserve. Contact us now if you are suffering from alcoholism.

References: 

When you are drinking, you have no intention of becoming an alcoholic. In the beginning, you may drink socially. With time, you might find that you drink alcohol when you are happy, sad, or anywhere in between. Eventually, you feel like you can’t get through the day without alcohol. After you drink, you find yourself intoxicated. Now you’re wondering, how long does it take to get sober?

After each drinking binge, your blood alcohol concentration increases. Your body’s makeup and the amount of alcohol that you consume determine how long it will take for you to sober up. Usually, you will feel more normal in 6 to 8 hours. But what then?

How Alcoholism Affects You and Your Loved Ones

How long does it take to sober up? Although you may wonder when the effects of alcohol are out of your system, you need to comprehend the effects that alcoholism has on yourself and your loved ones.

Physical Effects

To begin, alcoholism affects your body. Alcohol interrupts the way that your brain communicates and works. Drinking causes disruptions that alter your mood, behavior, and coordination. With time, heavy drinking can lead to liver damage. Drinking in excess can dampen your immune system as well. If you are pregnant, your substance abuse can result in fetal alcohol disorders.

Alcoholism affects your behavior as well. Obviously, when you are under the influence, you may slur your speech, experience motor impairment, and suffer confusion. For these reasons, you are likely to behave violently and to get into accidents. In fact, alcohol is the cause of more than half of this country’s drownings and homicides.

Also, alcohol is responsible for approximately 40% of fatal car accidents. When you drink heavily, you will not think twice about engaging in risky behavior, including sexual activities. You may have unprotected sex, which can lead to pregnancy or the transmission of sexually-related diseases.

Alcoholism and Relationships

Besides the physical effects of alcoholism, drinking takes an emotional toll as well. Abusing alcohol causes great damage to relationships. Drinking affects your family. It causes strain between husbands and wives. Also, it affects your children. Alcohol creates emotional distance between you and your loved ones. You may fight more or become violent. The worst part is that dependency causes you to drink more as a means of relieving the stress of your unhappy situation.

Who is Most Affected by Alcoholism?

Since female bodies metabolize and absorb alcohol differently than male bodies, women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. For women, binge drinking means consuming four or more beverages during a single session. Heavy drinking means consuming eight or more drinks during an average week. For men, binge drinking is classified as consuming five or more drinks at a single session. Heavy drinking is classified as consuming 15 or more drinks in a week.

Effects of alcohol can have a serious impact on older individuals. Also, abusing alcohol can intensify health problems. Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are made worse from alcohol consumption. Also, a person is more likely to suffer slip and fall accidents that can lead to injuries.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcohol

how long does it take to get sober

How long does it take to get sober? Before you can answer this question, it is important to identify withdrawal signs of alcoholism. When you decide to quit drinking, it will be challenging. The first step is admitting that there is a problem. It takes time to recover, especially since alcohol cravings pop up frequently. Also, alcohol is everywhere, so it is difficult to avoid.

After a certain point, you may feel like you can have one drink without any problems. However, a recovering alcoholic never has full control. Many times, one drink leads to a full binge.

When you depend on alcohol to function, you probably feel hopeless. Since there are many withdrawal symptoms, it is essential to detox in a professional environment. In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol can cause death. A professional detox program offers a safe environment. Also, the severity of your symptoms will be lessened. You are monitored to make sure that nothing bad happens to you.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

No two people are alike. However, there are common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

How Long Withdrawal from Alcohol Lasts

How long does it take to get sober? To begin, it is important to understand how long withdrawal lasts. If you have a severe addiction to alcohol, your symptoms will begin 5 to 10 hours after your last drink. The acute withdrawal phase lasts up to one week.

How long does it take to get sober? In the case of alcohol delirium tremens, or DTs, you may suffer extreme withdrawal that takes a few days to evolve. Delirium tremens occur 48 to 96 hours after your last drink. DTs are extreme shakes that can last up to five days. They are a result of your nervous system adjusting without alcohol. It is essential to have help with delirium tremens. They can lead to seizures. Your body may be extremely fatigued, and you may hallucinate.

After acute alcohol withdrawal ends, you are not finished. Next, you experience post-acute withdrawal. This surfaces a few months after your last drink. This withdrawal is more mental than physical. Here are the most common symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

How Long Does it Take to Get Sober in the Long-Term?

PAWS symptoms may last several months or years. Depending on the severity of your addiction, your symptoms will appear and disappear without warning. Usually, they are less intense than in the early stages of recovery. When you enter our detox center here at Coastal Detox, you will receive assistance managing post-acute withdrawal. You will learn how to deal with symptoms so that you have the knowledge and the tools to continue the fight.

After you have finished detoxing and have started on the road to recovery, cravings are still challenging. Although they lessen with time, it will take many years to shake them completely. Like some individuals, your cravings may never disappear. However, relapse-prevention skills are essential to learn and to execute so that you do not fall victim to old bad habits. If you have a severe problem, your cravings may last longer than with a mild problem.

How Long Does it Take to Sober Up in the Short-Term?

After you drink a large amount of alcohol, you become buzzed. Normally, you feel alcohol effects for 12 hours. Many times, you end up with a hangover. There are a number of factors that dictate how long alcohol remains in your system.

You will feel the effects of alcohol differently than others. Generally, you experience negative symptoms when you consume large amounts of liquor.

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Racing heart
  • Impaired cognitive function

With a few drinks, you may experience mild impairment. As you drink more, you will likely suffer from blurred vision, loss of balance, and slurred speech. When you become extremely intoxicated, you will likely experience nausea and confusion. When you drink to the point of unconsciousness, your actions may be fatal.

Just because you sober up in the short-term, it does not mean that you can “handle” alcohol. One drink can set you over the edge. If you frequently suffer from hangover symptoms, you may need professional help to detox.

Quickest Ways to Get Sober

There are many myths about the quickest ways to sober up. Some say you should take a cold shower. Others swear by drinking a lot of black coffee. In fact, there are no shortcuts when it comes to hangover cures. The best way to return yourself back to a normal state is to eat and hydrate your body.

Seeking Professional Help for Detox

If you are ready to take the first step toward battling your alcohol abuse and the symptoms that it brings, it is essential to seek professional assistance. When you detox under the supervision of a trained expert, your safety is ensured, your comfort is increased, and the likelihood of relapse is lowered. Detox is only the first step. It is recommended to seek help from a long-term rehabilitation program as well.

At Coastal Detox, we want to put you on the path to recovery. How long does it take to sober up? The answer depends on your individual circumstances. We want to keep you sober in the long-term. We will assist with the detox process and provide treatments and therapies that help to kickstart your recovery. In our Florida facility, we will help you get past the struggles that come when you try to overcome your alcohol dependency. Perhaps you may feel like you can handle addiction and detox without help. But, you have a higher likelihood of success with professional assistance. To learn more about how we can help you get back on the right track, reach out to us today.

Reference:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes that 14.1 million American adults suffer from an alcohol use disorder. That’s about 5.6% of American adults. On the other hand, American adults over the age of 20 deal with obesity and being overweight. An alarming 71.6% of American adults are overweight.

Both sugar and alcohol addiction go together. They correlate, in other words. Research gathered by Current Obesity Reports (a journal within the National Institutes of Health) highlights the fact that heavy drinking is synonymous with weight gain. Alcoholism and sugar contribute to the obesity epidemic in the States. Alcoholics switch to sugar addictions, trading one addiction for another.

Alcoholism and Sugar 

First off, neither sugar nor alcohol on their own is dangerous. The moderate use of either isn’t a cause for concern. However, a person can develop both sugar and alcohol addictions. Now, some may believe that alcoholism is the more dangerous addiction out of the two. So, when an alcoholic stops drinking but consumes an unhealthy amount of sugar, most won’t think twice about it. 

Yet, sugar can be much more dangerous than alcohol. While a sugar high doesn’t cause a large chunk of car accidents and destroyed childhoods, it hurts deeply. The leading cause of death in America is heart disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention writes that 655,381 people die annually because of it. Most people contract this disease because of a poor diet (aka lots of sugar). So, yes, trading one addiction for another can be just as problematic if not more. 

The Science Behind Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

To continue, sugar and alcohol addiction commonly occur together or predate one another because they interact with the same parts of the brain. Both of these substances interact with the pleasure potions of the central nervous system, among others. The central nervous system is mostly made up of the spinal cord and neural network within the brain. 

The central nervous system is in charge of: 

  • Sends chemical messengers throughout the body 
  • Plays a role in thinking, feelings, and homeostasis
  • In charge of conscious, physical sensation and movement
  • Acts as the regulator for the endocrine system (the hormone master control) 

Throughout the nervous system, little chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) tell the brain and body how to feel. Different neurotransmitters relay different messages. In particular, dopamine is known as a “feel-good” chemical. In short, it’s a pleasure chemical that induces a feeling of happiness and relaxation.

The Australian Spinal Research Foundation writes that the same dopamine receptors that light up with alcohol consumption are the same with sugar. This specific portion is the D2 dopamine receptor. Dopamine levels increase in the portion of the brain known as the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA). Both a sugar and alcohol addiction change the brain’s chemistry in this area. This area is known by scientists as the pleasure reward system. 

It’s worth noting that the brain rewards the body with dopamine through activities like exercise and sex. It’s the brain’s way of saying, “good job!” However, both a sugar and alcohol addiction hijack the brain. Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows down certain parts of the body’s systems, but not the production of dopamine. Sugar and alcohol addiction can produce dopamine, which the brain gets addicted to in a sense. It reacts with withdrawal symptoms when it doesn’t get enough of either. 

How Alcoholism and Sugar Is Trading One Addiction for Another 

To begin, sugar is found in alcohol. Dopamine production goes into overdrive because of the two. Hence, there is a common link between sugar and alcohol addiction. What’s more, is that recovering alcoholics turn to sugar in recovery if given the chance for this reason and others. 

For instance, the Australian Spinal Research Foundation says multiple studies prove that recovering alcoholics suffer from a sugar addiction. Compulsive eating habits, like a sugar addiction, light up that pleasure network within the brain. In the past, some programs have given alcoholics as much sugar as they craved if it meant they would hand over the bottle.

Now, science says this mode of recovery is just trading one addiction for another. The same parts of the brain that light up when an alcoholic drinks are the same for those who consume too much sugar. Hence, this prior method may work in the short-term, but won’t forever because the brain still wants that same sensation. 

There are other reasons why swapping sugar for alcohol is a terrible idea: 

  • It further hurts an alcoholic’s health 
  • A healthy diet means less of a chance of relapse
  • A recovering alcoholic can have a sugar withdrawal 
  • Sugar is considered to be more addictive than cocaine 
  • Trading one addiction for another instills maladaptive behavior 

Sugar might be more addictive than alcohol. A study with rats filled one water bottle with cocaine water and another with sugar water. Surprisingly, the rats abused the bottle with sugar more than the one with cocaine. This isn’t to downplay the danger of stimulant drugs or alcohol. However, this small scale example proves that sugar can be extremely dangerous. 

Of course, sugar is legal for all ages, so society turns a blind eye to the danger. But a sugar addiction is very real. 

What Sugar and Alcohol Addiction Means for Children 

Around 13.7 million American adolescents are obese. Another way to say this is that 18.5 percent of American adolescents are dangerously overweight. The CDC also notes that 13.9 percent of two to five-year-olds in America are obese. To continue, excessive sugar consumption is linked to obesity. It’s also what many alcoholics turn to when they are drinking and when they are in recovery. 

Thus, American children who consume excessive amounts of sugar are at risk for alcoholism. Further, a journal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirms that a sugar addiction in American youth correlates to alcohol dependence. Particularly, a familial history of it. This piece states that both alcohol and sugar release endorphins that can make a person feel euphoric. 

How Sugar and Alcohol Addiction Can Hurt American Youth 

A sugar and alcohol addiction huge issue for two reasons for children. A child’s body craves those endorphins from a sugar addiction. This could escalate to alcoholism and sugar to get the same high. Also, an individual builds up a tolerance when they binge on sugar or alcohol. A sugar addiction encourages them to find these pleasure chemicals in other forms (aka alcohol). 

Alcoholism and Sugar

Secondly, when a parent is an alcoholic, a child is naturally predisposed to addiction. There are shared gene markers between alcoholics and people with a sugar addiction. This only further perpetuates a new generation of Americans that are easily addicted to substances. The study within NIH also points out this puts American children at a bigger risk for eating disorders, like binge eating and bulimia. 

How to Kick a Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

Individuals suffering from a sugar and alcohol addiction can take certain actions to ween off both. The first step is consulting a detox clinic that can break the bonds from both. However, individuals can start the healing process with healthy habits and behaviors. 

When a person is an alcoholic they don’t care about what they eat or drink. All they care about is staying drunk. Addiction means that they aren’t in control of their actions anymore; the alcohol is. So, they tend to have super sugary diets. This makes them further addicted to sugar and alcohol. It also wreaks havoc on the body in many ways. 

Beat Alcoholism and Sugar With a Nutritious Diet 

A good diet involves lots of food packed with vitamins and minerals. Leafy green vegetables are a sure way to help the body get back in shape. It also helps with withdrawal symptoms from both a sugar and alcohol addiction. Spicy food is known to release endorphins, just like sugar. Individuals can spice up their food to maintain a healthy weight and help beat addiction. Drinking lots of water is extremely important, too. 

Exercise To Beat Both a Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

Exercising regularly helps addiction in a wide variety of ways. The first is that it releases “feel-good” chemicals just like sugar and alcohol. In contrast, it makes a person look and feel good. Many people turn to alcohol and binging sugar because of low self-esteem. Exercising is a healthy way to deal with these issues. Additionally, it will rid the body of toxins quicker and lower the chance of heart disease. 

Keep a Journal to Track Patterns Around Resorting to Alcoholism and Sugar 

People slip into addiction. While it can happen quickly, it doesn’t normally happen in a short period of time. Individuals may turn to substances that make them feel good to mask other issues. Commonly, this is subconscious. Once a person recognizes they have a sugar or alcohol addiction they can see what turns them to either with a journal. Over time, they can track common patterns that lead them to bad behaviors. 

Coastal Detox Can Help With a Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

Binging on sugar instead of alcohol is trading one addiction for another. Detox is an important part of recovering from both a sugar and alcohol addiction. Our programs allow members to recover in a comfortable setting from alcoholism and sugar. Our residential detox program in Stuart, FL is effective because we provide a healthy diet. Contact us now to find a sustainable way to sobriety. 

References: 

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Connor Barton
Connor Barton
2022-06-03
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The staff here is amazing. Caring and attentive. I finally kicked the sticks and couldn’t be happier.
Jacob Rashid
Jacob Rashid
2022-06-03
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So nice to have Grandma back to her old self. She has struggled with xannies for as long as I can remember. The staff were so attentive and met her where she was, not where they wanted her to be. Thank you Coastal Detox!
Tara Payne
Tara Payne
2022-05-20
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I struggled with alcohol addiction for most of my life. After many tries nothing worked.It was my 43rd birthday and I wasn't gonna see 44 if I didn't get help. I called around and found Coastal. So glad I did. I am so grateful for EVERYONE there. This beautiful facility is not just a detox. They actually have programs to help you learn to live a sober life and enjoy being yourself again! Entire staff is awesome! (Ms Diana ❤️ and Mrs Karen ❤️)They really understand how your feeling as most are in recovery also. If your looking for some help please give them a call. I give them 10+stars. Five months sober now!!! Thank you Coastal!!!
Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins
2022-05-04
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The entire staff of Coastal is great, the therapists, the nurses, the techs, everyone. It’s a great environment to begin your recovery in. As an added perk, the food is some of the best you’ll ever have thanks to the chefs.
Tony Givens
Tony Givens
2022-05-04
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My experience at coastal detox was very good, the staff there is terrific. They helped me get through the process of detox in a safe and professional manor.
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
2022-03-21
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It been almost a year!! Thank y’all
Matthew Mcnulty
Matthew Mcnulty
2022-03-07
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This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
Mary Katz
Mary Katz
2022-02-26
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My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
2022-01-29
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Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.

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