The dread of quitting drinking can be a significant barrier to recovery. However, with the right support and resources, people can overcome these fears and successfully quit drinking (and be happy).
First, what to expect?
These are common withdrawal symptoms that this article addresses:
Cravings: the craving for alcohol is a persistent challenge during withdrawal.
Anxiety: Anxiety is a common symptom of alcohol detox. It is caused by the body's reaction to the sudden absence of alcohol.
Tremors: Tremors, or shaking, are also common during alcohol detox. They are caused by the body's reaction to the sudden absence of alcohol.
Sweating: Sweating is another common symptom of alcohol detox, and it is caused by the body's attempt to regulate its temperature as it adjusts to the absence of alcohol.
Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of alcohol detox, and they are caused by the body's attempt to rid itself of the alcohol and other toxins.
Headaches: Headaches are another common symptom of alcohol detox, and they can range from mild to severe.
Insomnia: Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, is a common symptom of alcohol detox. It is caused by the body's attempt to adjust to the absence of alcohol.
Delirium tremens (DTs): DTs is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that can be life-threatening. Symptoms include nausea, seizures, hallucinations, and confusion. DTs typically occur within 2-4 days after a person stops drinking and can last up to 5-7 days. Please seek medical attention. This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment in a hospital setting.
What can help?
Check out the following.
1. Kudzu root
Kudzu root is a traditional Chinese remedy used to treat various health conditions and helps reduce alcohol cravings. The first recorded use of kudzu root for treating alcohol addiction dates back to 600 AD. The root helps to regulate dopamine levels in the brain, which can help reduce the urge to drink. Kudzu root also helps with conditions such as fever, inflammation, liver damage, diarrhea, and headaches. You can purchase kudzu root in tea or supplement formula at any health food store.
2. Valerian root
Valerian root is an herb used to help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Anxiety and insomnia are common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and Valerian root helps with relaxation and has a sedative effect. You can purchase valerian root in tea or supplement formula at any health food store.
Consuming alcohol often leads people to crave sugary foods such as soda, candy, or sweets. This is because alcohol is a highly refined sugar. By taking L-Glutamine, you can effectively combat these cravings without experiencing the negative effects of hypoglycemia that commonly occur during recovery. In addition to reducing cravings for alcohol and sugary foods, L-Glutamine can also improve brain function and alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. This supplement is readily available online at Amazon or health food stores. The powder form of L-Glutamine is virtually tasteless and can quickly alleviate stomach ailments when mixed with water.
4. Epsom Salts bath
Epsom salt, unlike table salt, which contains sodium, is a compound consisting of magnesium and sulfate. To experience its benefits, add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath and soak for 20 minutes before bed. This will draw out toxins from your body, alleviate restless legs, and promote better sleep due to the magnesium content. To further enhance the experience, add a few drops of aromatherapy oil, bubble bath, and a sprinkling of baking soda. Epsom salts are readily available at any drug store. For those who incorporate regular salts baths into their routine, you can purchase Epsom salts in bulk for a fraction of the cost at many gardening centers.
5. Stay hydrated
During withdrawal, you may experience symptoms such as nausea and dehydration. To combat these effects, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, particularly those that contain electrolytes. Sports drinks typically contain sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all essential electrolytes. Consuming electrolytes aid in hydrating the body, which can effectively alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, drinking water can help ease muscle aches and pains.
6. Dark chocolate and strawberries
Dark chocolate is a huge help when dealing with cravings and elevates dopamine and serotonin. If your dopamine and serotonin levels are low, you will crave sugar, alcohol, sweets, and bread. When purchasing dark chocolate, it is important to note that the sugar content varies based on the percentage of cocoa solids. Generally, the higher the percentage, the lower the sugar content. Some brands may include added sweeteners to balance the bitterness of the cocoa, so checking the nutrition label is recommended. Combining dark chocolate with strawberries can help to balance out the bitterness of the chocolate.
Get lots and lots of sleep. Never apologize for needing sleep. Sleep helps the body to heal and recover from the intense stress it is going through. Sleep is essential and helps the body heal and regenerate itself. Good sleep can also alleviate the severity of withdrawal symptoms. If you have a difficult time sleeping, download a meditation specifically designed for insomnia. Personally, I find the ones that mimic the sound of rain outside my window to be especially soothing.
Journaling provides a safe and private way to process emotions that arise during alcohol detox. Journaling is also revealing and can help you identify triggers that lead to relapse and a plan to avoid them in the future.
Other suggestions. Make a pot of vegetable soup in advance. Write a list of reasons you want to quit and review it often. Indulge in your favour junk food and sweets, knowing it is a temporary to get you through the first week. Lay in bed, sleep, watch movies, and get fresh air when you can.
Finally, don’t go through withdrawal alone. Make sure you have support. If you live alone, consider creating a visiting schedule so that you have help during the first week.
Alcohol detox is a huge hurdle to jump, but you can get through it. Remind yourself this is temporary. Take it step-by-step, minute-by-minute, breath-by-breath. By doing so, you can ease the pressure and focus on the present moment. Remember that getting through alcohol detox means opening the door to creating the best version of yourself and living your best life.
Need help dealing with an addiction to alcohol or other drugs? My GendHer® program is created with you in mind!
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