Tag Archives: Alcoholism

After Alcohol Rehab: Preventing Relapse and Ensuring Long-Term Recovery

Learn the Tools to Protect Against Relapse After Alcohol Recovery

Overcoming alcohol or drug addiction is extremely challenging – both mentally and physically. Medically assisted detox and rehabilitation can offer an effective means to overcome dependency and addiction. Continue reading for an overview of the detox, rehabilitation and post-treatment process for alcohol recovery.

How Alcohol Detox Works

Detoxification is the first stage of alcohol treatment for men and women. It involves cleansing the body of alcohol and the toxins in it.

The first step is to stop drinking. After that, the body releases the toxins that are part of dependency, which will give rise to withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal without medical supervision can be dangerous. Of course, withdrawing from any addictive substance is extremely painful and hazardous in certain circumstances. Withdrawal symptoms related to alcoholism, however, are some of the worse.

What Is Medically Assisted Detox?

In some cases, it is possible to go through detox without any kind of medical assistance; we usually do not recommend this, though. Medically assisted detox is when the person who is addicted goes to an alcoholism treatment center for help with recovery.

At these facilities, a staff of medically trained professionals will start by helping the person work through the withdrawal symptoms safely and effectively. The team can also prescribe medications that can ease the pain and discomfort of the symptoms.

Detoxing Without Help

Moment Right Before You Give Up Is Usually When A Miracle Happens - Reflections RecoveryDetoxing alone is not only risky because of dangerous symptoms, but also because of the higher likelihood of relapse.

When people who struggle with alcohol try to detox alone, the odds of not taking a drink when their body goes into convulsions or they begin hallucinating are nearly insurmountable.

When this happens, they often count it as a personal failure, adding to the cycle of addiction.

At a high-quality detox facility for alcoholism, a group of trained professionals can help people suffering from dependency complete the detox stage of addiction.

Stages Of Alcohol Detoxification

After Detox

Counseling Technique: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Alcohol Relapse Prevention

The months after getting out of rehabilitation are the most dangerous time for people struggling with addiction. The temptation to drink again is strong, especially with familiar friends and places haunting them. Having a relapse prevention plan in place can increase a person’s chance of a successful recovery.

For the first three months after treatment, the prevention plan should be updated every month. After that, it should be updated each quarter for the rest of the year. Then, the updates switch to twice a year for the next two years. After three years, the updates happen annually.

More than half of the relapses that people struggling with addiction experience happen in the first six months of recovery, making those months crucial for proper support.

What About Relapse Prevention Meetings?

What You Can Do as a Family Member or Friend

If you have a loved one who is struggling with alcohol dependency, evaluating alcohol addiction recovery programs that suit your loved one is an important first step. However, there are other efforts you can make to help this loved one.

Often, professional interventionists can help convince your family member or friend that going to rehabilitation is the right thing to do. They can also help you choose the correct treatment center for your loved one.

Search for Alcohol Addiction Recovery Programs

There are many different rehab programs for alcoholics, but you should find one with significant experience, compassion and specialized care. Unfortunately, many treatment centers can initially alleviate the addiction through detox, but they don’t give people the proper tools they need to combat the disease in the future. If you’re concerned that a family member’s drinking has become too much for them or you to handle, talk to one of our admissions counselors.

As a place that focuses on recovery for men, Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, AZ can help men conquer the specific nature of their addiction. We do this by not offering a watered-down version of addiction treatment. Our programs teach men not only how to overcome their addiction while they are in treatment, but also how to maintain sobriety after they leave our facilities.

See Relapse Prevention Tips and Strategies

Hypoglycemia and Alcohol: How Alcohol Is Connected to Low Blood Sugar

The Connection Between Hypoglycemia and Alcoholism

Hypoglycemia is an indicator of abnormally low blood sugar. Blood sugar, or glucose, is the body’s main source of energy. When glucose levels dip too low, the following symptoms can emerge:

  • Fatigue
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hunger

Hypoglycemia is very common in alcoholics. Statistics show that a startling 95 percent of alcoholics and almost 90 percent of those with alcohol use disorder are hypoglycemic. Understanding alcohol-induced hypoglycemia is the first step in overcoming both conditions.

About Hypoglycemia

Percentage of Alcoholics Who Are Hypoglycemic - Reflections Recovery CenterHypoglycemia is not a disease; rather, it’s an indicator that something is wrong within the body. Specifically, it means that the brain and body do not have enough glucose to function properly.

The loss of too much glucose can cause irritability, drowsiness, anxiety, and many other symptoms.

As hypoglycemia worsens, more serious symptoms can manifest, including

  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Fainting

Immediate treatment of hypoglycemia to restore blood sugar levels involves eating certain foods or taking medication. Long-term treatment and reversal, however, require addressing the underlying cause of the condition. For many, that cause is alcohol abuse.

Low blood sugar and alcohol inhibit the body in tandem. According to one study, out of 100 alcoholics, 96 were hypoglycemic (with glucose levels below 70 milligrams per deciliter). By comparison, only 14 of 100 non-alcoholics in a control group had hypoglycemia.

The connection between hypoglycemia and alcohol lies in how alcohol affects the liver. The liver regularly releases a form of glucose into the bloodstream, maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

Alcohol consumption takes a toll on liver function because the liver has to process the alcohol instead of releasing glucose on time. Lack of regular infusions of glucose can cause hypoglycemia. If left untreated, blood sugar imbalances can become a major health concern.

The Cycle of Low Blood Sugar and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol consumption not only induces hypoglycemia and accompanying symptoms; the reverse is also true. Hypoglycemia can cause strong cravings for alcohol, since alcohol contains large amounts of sugar. An alcoholic may experience the symptoms of low blood sugar and reach for another drink in an effort to ease them. Consuming large amounts of sugar, caffeine and alcohol are common signs of someone with undiagnosed hypoglycemia.

Ingesting more alcohol, however, is the exact opposite of what the body actually needs. Low blood sugar may cause alcohol cravings, but drinking more alcohol forces the liver and pancreas to produce more insulin. Insulin removes sugar from the blood, worsening hypoglycemia.

It’s a vicious cycle that can lead to major health problems if left untreated. If these symptoms seem familiar to you as someone who has had problems with alcohol (for example, if you’ve experienced mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms and hangovers), there is a way out.

How to Reverse Hypoglycemia Due to Alcoholism

There is hope for people with hypoglycemic symptoms due to alcohol use and abuse. It is not enough to simply treat the symptoms of hypoglycemia with sugary foods or medications. To truly regain your health and normal liver function, you must address the underlying issue: alcoholism. The alcohol abuse recovery process is vital to regaining your health.

Detoxification and rehabilitation are the best ways to reverse hypoglycemia related to alcohol abuse. The body needs to detox from too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants that can exacerbate hypoglycemia. The liver and pancreas need to return to their normal levels of function without the interference of alcohol. Most importantly, the system needs proper nutrition to combat and reverse the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

To break the cycle of hypoglycemia symptoms and alcohol consumption, the individual needs Alcohol Nutrition Therapy. Nutritional therapy and lifestyle changes are integral parts of a full recovery.

It is important for those struggling with alcoholism and related health problems to seek a rehabilitation center that includes dietary and nutritional therapy, such as Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona. Proper focus on health and nutrition is the only way to make a full recovery and reverse hypoglycemia for good.

Never Detox on Your Own

Hypoglycemia is not something you should treat lightly, as it can cause serious problems like seizures, loss of consciousness and brain damage. On the road to recovery from alcoholism, the symptoms of hypoglycemia can make it difficult to successfully outlast withdrawal and detoxification. Correct alcohol withdrawal nutrition can ease the symptoms of hypoglycemia, help combat depression and facilitate full-body healing.

At Reflections Recovery Center, we guide men through the entire recovery process. This includes explaining the deep connection between alcohol and nutrition and offering therapies to get men back to healthy physical lifestyles. With help from our nutritionists, you can address blood sugar balance issues, which will reduce alcohol cravings and the risk of relapse.

Remember, alcoholism has trained your body and brain to rely on the substance when your blood sugar balance is off. Retraining your system through proper nutrition in the first months of recovery is key.

You Can Leave Alcohol-Related Health Problems Behind

Drugs and alcohol wreak havoc on the body and brain. Your system cannot function properly under the influence of substances. Drugs such as opioids and alcohol work by disrupting your body’s normal processes, creating feelings that make you want to do it again and abuse the substance.

Understand, however, that the body can only withstand so much disruption. Hypoglycemia is just one of the common health problems connected to alcohol dependency, as the body’s systems struggle (and often fail) to keep up with the intake of substances.

Nutritional therapy during rehabilitation is the answer you’re looking for if you or a loved one has hypoglycemia related to alcohol consumption. Poor nutrition is a mainstay for people struggling with substance abuse.

Don’t let alcohol or related hypoglycemia permanently damage your health. Partner with Reflections Recovery Center to address all aspects of your dependency.

Read More on Alcohol Detox and Recovery

CBT for Alcoholism: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps Discover Root Problems of Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is much more than just a physical dependence on a substance. A person struggling with addiction will change their behaviors and attitudes in negative and destructive ways that prolong the addiction, ultimately worsening it.

While detox and medical therapies are critical to overcoming alcoholism and alcohol dependence, cognitive behavioral coping skills therapy for alcohol dependence is incredibly valuable to people in recovery from alcohol abuse.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an integral part of modern substance abuse treatment that analyzes the behaviors and attitudes behind a person’s addiction. CBT actually began as a tool to combat “problem drinking” and evolved into a comprehensive treatment tool for people struggling with alcoholism and other addictions.

Overcoming the physical dependence on alcohol is only part of the solution; CBT helps people in recovery analyze their behaviors and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Breaking Down Behaviors

Most people with an addiction develop habits or rituals in their substance abuse. This could involve:

  • Following a certain routine
  • Visiting the same hangouts on a consistent basis
  • Engaging in substance abuse in response to environmental triggers

Without CBT, a person who enters detox and recovery may rid themselves of alcohol temporarily and then fall back into the same old habits without realizing the downturn is happening. CBT for addiction aims to shed light on the routines, habits and behaviors surrounding a person’s drinking in a constructive and supportive environment.

Once a person learns to objectively analyze his or her past behaviors from this perspective, it becomes easier to see what went wrong and which behaviors encouraged the drinking problem, such as:

  • Sensitivity to stressors within one’s daily environment
  • A response to negative thoughts and incidents
  • A self-defense mechanism to cope with trauma or stress

Uncovering the Root Causes of a Drinking Problem

A person struggling with any type of addiction will subconsciously start justifying and rationalizing his or her addictive behaviors. They may start to feel that inebriation is the only way to cope with certain stressors or to overcome difficult emotional situations.

CBT encourages a deep, introspective look at the root causes of a drinking problem. For example, a person undergoing CBT may realize that a drinking problem started when a relationship fell apart, and that alcohol became a way to manage the negative feelings and self-worth issues that often arise in these difficult situations.

In others, drinking may be a way to overcome personality traits they dislike about themselves. Another example could be a person who suffers from social anxiety and feels like drinking is the only way he or she can be comfortable in social settings.

Situations like these easily develop into habitual behaviors. The person who copes with rejection by resorting to alcohol abuse may grow to respond to all forms of criticism and rejection with the desire to drink. A person who feels compelled to drink as a “social lubricant” may start to automatically associate social settings with drinking, complicating interpersonal relationships and social life.

CBT aims to shed light on these situations so a person struggling with alcohol abuse can realize the destructive nature of these habits and learn healthier coping mechanisms.

Why Is CBT for Addiction to Alcohol So Effective?

Different types of substance abuse have varying effects on the body and mind, but the influence alcohol has on the brain and behavior is much more significant compared to most other addictive substances.

During CBT, alcohol reduction is the ultimate goal, and this form of therapy targets the root causes – instead of just the symptoms. This entails a close examination of past behaviors and developing new, healthier stress-management techniques.

Another reason why CBT is such an effective treatment method for alcohol addiction is because it fosters relapse prevention. The risk of relapse after recovering from alcohol addiction is much higher when compared to most other substances, not to mention that alcohol is legal for adults over 21 and easily accessible throughout the United States.

Not only is the temptation to relapse easy to feel, the mental connections to drinking habits are much harder to break. CBT teaches people in recovery how to manage cravings and break through their previously destructive behaviors to have better chances of avoiding relapse.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Reflections Recovery Center

Cognitive behavioral therapy plays a crucial role in the alcohol addiction treatment program at Reflections Recovery Center. Finding the right alcohol rehab facility for men can be difficult, and the thought of relocating may seem daunting to people struggling with alcohol addiction. Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, Arizona offers an alternative to traditional clinical settings with a focus on the outdoors and unique therapies designed for men.

CBT is a proven effective method for handling the behaviors that drive alcohol abuse, so reach out to Reflections Recovery Center to learn more about CBT and other therapies we use to treat men who are struggling with alcohol addiction.

See What to Expect in Our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Sessions

CBT at Reflections

Why Nutritional and Vitamin Therapy is Essential In Alcohol Detox and Alcoholism Recovery

Nutrition allows the human body to generate energy and maintain its systems. Proper nutrition is essential to everyone, but individuals attempting to recover from alcohol abuse will have a much smoother detox experience with a diet supplemented by vitamin therapy. Prolonged consumption of large quantities of alcohol has several adverse effects on the body, and poor nutrition makes the detox and recovery process more stressful and uncomfortable.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

To recognize how important nutrition and vitamin supplements are to alcohol abuse recovery, it’s vital to understand the effects alcohol abuse has on the human body. Symptoms will vary case by case due to individual health factors, how long alcohol abuse has continued, and how far the addiction has progressed.

Some alcoholics are so severely addicted that the bulk of the nutrients in their diet come from the alcoholic beverages they consume. When the body cannot obtain the nutrients it needs from consumed food and drink, it will start breaking down other tissues in the body. This also impacts the body’s glucose levels. Glucose, or blood sugar, is a necessary component for healthy brain functions as well as other metabolic processes.

Excessive alcohol intake can deregulate the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels. This can cause hypoglycemia (decreased blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar). These conditions can be harmful, especially for individuals with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Alcohol and Digestion 

After food is consumed, the digestive system breaks it down into its smaller molecular components. The body absorbs these compounds to maintain vital systems and create energy. Alcohol prevents the efficient breakdown of food by inhibiting the production of digestive enzymes. Food may be consumed, but the body is far less capable of breaking it down into a useful form while there is alcohol in the body.

Even when food is successfully broken down, alcohol inhibits the processes the body uses to absorb the nutrients and use them. Over time, this means an alcoholic will progressively receive less and less energy from the food and alcohol they consume, depriving the body of essential nutrients at an increasingly faster pace.

Health Risks of Advanced Alcoholism 

Long-term alcohol abuse is one of the most physically damaging forms of substance abuse. Untreated alcoholism cannot only cause complications in virtually every bodily system, but it can be fatal. Some of the long-term or permanent effects of alcohol abuse include heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver from vitamin A and E deficiencies, nerve damage, and pancreatitis. Additionally, alcoholics often experience seizures due to impaired brain function, and many advanced alcoholics suffer from dehydration and malnutrition.

Wet Brain Syndrome 

An especially dangerous condition, common in advanced alcoholics, is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, often called “wet brain.” This condition manifests when the body is deprived of vitamin B1 (thiamine) for an extended period, and hinders nervous system and brain functions.

Addiction and Nutrition 

Malnutrition is more dangerous than many realize, and it often goes unaddressed for long periods of time of time with alcoholics. When the body does not obtain the nutrients it needs to continue essential functions, the entire body begins to degrade. Essentially, the human body will begin breaking itself down to survive. Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration is not only dangerous, but over a long period of time, it can be seriously damaging to the body.

Alcohol itself is damaging to the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, but addictive patterns contribute to the damage as well. Most substance abusers will start neglecting self-care and other everyday activities as their addictions worsen. Eventually, the only thoughts are about where to find more alcohol. Not only does alcohol hurt the body when ingested, but the search for more alcohol also prevents the alcoholic from obtaining essential nutrition.

Vitamin Therapy 

When alcoholics seek treatment, it’s vital to address the damage that the alcohol has done to the body’s vital systems. Vitamin therapy describes treatment involving high doses of essential vitamins. This process helps the body regain essential functions. Vitamin therapy not only helps address malnutrition and dehydration and the severe issues they cause, but also helps the alcoholic by allowing them to approach the recovery process with a more solid foundation.

Addiction is deeply rooted in behavior, and while alcohol has a significant impact on physical health, the psychological battle with addiction is far more stressful and difficult. When the body and mind are deficient in essential vitamins, it becomes even harder.

The Detox Process 

Once the effects of an alcoholic’s last drink start to wane, he or she will begin experiencing withdrawal. Once the body has grown accustomed to a particular substance, it reacts negatively when that substance is no longer available – and this is withdrawal. For alcoholics, withdrawal typically entails delirium tremens, also called “DTs” or “the shakes,” and causes violent tremors. Additionally, severe anxiety, seizures, sweating, irregular heartbeat, fever, high blood pressure, hallucinations, nausea, and irritability commonly manifest during the withdrawal period.

Rebuilding the Body 

This is typically an excruciatingly painful process, and an alcoholic in withdrawal will experience intense cravings for more alcohol. With medical supervision and vitamin therapy, alcoholics can have a much easier time handling the onset of withdrawal and working through it.

The high doses of essential vitamins during treatment help jump-start the body’s essential functions. Vitamin therapy can be a valuable part of any alcoholic’s recovery and not only help the physical pains of detoxing, but also pave the way to a smoother psychological recovery with a healthier mind and body.

Though Alcohol Detox and Withdrawals Can Be Dangerous
Proper Detox Under Medical Supervision Is Safe, Painless, and a Necessary First Step in Addiction Recovery:

Removing Drug and Alcohol Toxins

What to Expect From Medically Supervised Alcohol Detox

Alcohol addiction is one of the most worrisome forms of chemical dependency, and those seeking relief from the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal often require detoxification. The alcohol detox process is safe, but several factors influence the process. In some cases, alcohol detox can be life threatening if caregivers do not assess the patient’s condition accurately or if the detox takes place in an unsuitable setting.

The Detox Process Differs Case by Case

People considering alcohol detox for themselves or loved ones with alcohol abuse issues need to understand how the process works and know the importance of medical supervision. Alcohol has intense withdrawal symptoms, including shakes and tremors, nausea and vomiting, sweating, irritability, anxiety, and difficulty eating and sleeping. In some cases, patients can become delirious and experience hallucinations and sensory confusion. The intensity of these symptoms varies greatly from person to person, and the factors that influence symptoms include:

Personal Health

The person’s physical characteristics, such as height, weight, age, genetic factors, and other medical conditions may be a factor for detox.

Specific Addiction

Withdrawal symptoms depend on the nature of the person’s addiction. Withdrawal is going to be much harder for heavier users, and the symptoms of withdrawal can be life threating in some situations.

Patient Support

A person’s environment can make detoxification more challenging or easier, depending on his or her system of support.

Mild to moderate alcohol dependency can sometimes be treated in an outpatient setting, but more-severe cases are going to necessitate medical supervision. Additionally, certain prescription medications can offer relief for some patients, but whether the patient should use these drugs will vary by case. It’s always best to consult a medical professional and err on the side of caution when dealing with potentially severe withdrawal symptoms.

Stages of Detox

The detoxification process is going to be different for every patient, but the timeline is mostly consistent for everyone. Patients and their loved ones have a difficult road ahead, and it’s important to have some idea of what to expect and how the different phases of detox treatment should play out.

Preparation for Detox

The patient and his or her support system should take some crucial steps before the detoxification process starts. Obtaining medical supervision is highly recommended, even if the patient’s case doesn’t immediately seem severe enough to warrant it. The symptoms and severity of withdrawal vary, and no two patients are the same. It can be impossible to predict how a patient will react to detoxification, so take every possible precaution to ensure the patient’s safety and an easier recovery.

Detox is just the first step in a long and challenging process to overcoming alcohol addiction. Again, it’s best for patients to prepare for the challenge ahead by making healthy choices before detox and before withdrawal symptoms manifest. For example, the patient should avoid sedatives or opiates that may delay the onset of detox. Additionally, proper nutrition and vitamin supplements are invaluable throughout the recovery process, although administering these things can be quite difficult. This is another reason medical supervision is essential.

The First Days of Alcohol Withdrawal

The initial withdrawal symptoms are going to set in shortly after the patient’s body has processed his or her last dose of alcohol. The first 72 hours are going to be the most painful and arduous for most patients, and the most serious withdrawal symptoms are most likely to appear in this time.

For severe cases, medical supervision is imperative at this stage, because the symptoms can include fluctuation in blood pressure, breathing, pulse, and body temperature. Additionally, it is not uncommon for patients to experience convulsions, seizures, tremors, profuse sweating, dehydration, and bouts of unconsciousness. For these reasons, medical supervision is highly advised for patients who are severely alcohol dependent.

Severe Response to Alcohol Detox

Assessing the patient’s medical state is crucial before beginning detox. Unknown health factors can cause some symptoms to arise more violently or acutely than others can, and patients should take the time to visit with a specialist who can accurately determine the best course of treatment for dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal. Some health concerns, including heart disease, pancreatic disease, infections, and problems in the nervous system, will impact the patient’s recovery.

For patients with extreme dependency, the symptoms of withdrawal can be fatal. The initial onset of symptoms after the last drink has been processed can be extreme, and a medical professional needs to stabilize the patient to prevent life-threatening scenarios.

The First Week of Detoxification

The first onset of withdrawal symptoms can be painful and potentially violent. For those severely dependent, medical supervision may still be necessary after the first few days have passed. One of the most common withdrawal symptoms seen in highly dependent patients is delirium tremens (the DTs). Delirium tremens is the most severe and medically dangerous form of alcohol detox syndrome, and medical supervision is necessary for DT cases. Most cases of the DTs manifest two to five days after ceasing or drastically reducing alcohol consumption. The symptoms include:

  • Extreme Agitation and Restlessness
  • Gross Tremors
  • Autonomic Instability
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation and Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Nervousness
  • Mood Swings
  • Nightmares

The most acute symptoms of alcohol withdrawal appear in the first week and can last for several weeks. Other withdrawal symptoms can last for months or longer, but the most life-threatening ones come after the initial shock to the body’s systems once alcohol consumption has stopped. Doctors can assess a patient’s level of withdrawal and the severity of his or her symptoms and adapt the treatment plan accordingly. Depending on the situation, some medications can help a patient cope with intense or potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Steps to Take Before Detox

Professionals recommend gradually reducing alcohol intake in preparation for total cessation. When patients take the time to reduce their alcohol consumption, the shock of withdrawal is usually less severe and easier to manage. Again, dependence and the intensity of withdrawal symptoms hinge on various factors – from length and severity of dependence to overall patient health, so it’s imperative to visit with a medical professional and develop a comprehensive detox treatment program tailored to the patient’s individual needs and medical concerns.

One of the most important things for patients to keep in mind is that trust plays a significant role in recovery. Patients need to feel safe with their doctors and understand that detox treatment, although painful and unpleasant in even mild cases, its necessary to approach safely. Patients’ anxiety can have a far more detrimental effect on the detox and severity of withdrawal symptoms than most people realize, so it’s vital to be well informed about the medically-assisted detox process. Done correctly, medically assisted detox can allow a patient to start on the road to full recovery with well-managed withdrawal symptoms and less physical strain.

Drug and Alcohol Detox Can Be Dangerous If Done Outside of a Medically Supervised Detox Facility
DON’T TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR RECOVERY
GET PROFESSIONAL, MEDICALLY SUPERVISED DETOX:

Medically Supervised Detox