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Need Alcohol Detox: Why Novus?
THE ALCOHOL PROBLEM
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says:
- 8.5 percent of adults in the United States met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder;
- 1.1 percent of adults in the United States met the criteria for an alcohol disorder and a drug disorder;
Men were more likely than women to have problems with alcohol, drugs, or the two substances combined.
Alcohol is a growing problem in this country. This is partly because it is legal for adults to drink and partly because drinking is considered "normal." However, many people who abuse alcohol don’t really understand what alcohol is doing to their bodies and also are not sure what steps to take to safely stop drinking.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DRINK ALCOHOL?
Alcohol passes from the mouth to the throat and into the stomach. Alcohol (ethanol) is very water soluble and rapidly enters the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it is carried to the liver. If the liver is functioning properly, an enzyme in the liver converts ethanol to acetaldehyde—a toxic chemical used to create some perfumes and for silvering mirrors. Then another enzyme converts the acetaldehyde to acetic acid, the harmless and main component in vinegar. Then most of the acetic acid is excreted through the kidneys.
However, if the person is drinking too much or the liver is not functioning properly, acetaldehyde is not converted to acetic acid and creates toxic reactions that are thought to be responsible for many hangover symptoms, such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Liver damage
ALCOHOL AND DEHYDRATION
Even when alcohol is processed properly in the liver, alcohol causes the kidneys to produce more urine than usual and the drinker loses more water than usual, causing the drinker to become very thirsty and sometimes seriously dehydrated— a condition where the amount of water in the body has dropped below the level needed for normal body function.
Dehydration can lead to:
- Swelling of the brain
- Seizures (when the normal electrical discharges in the brain are disrupted, leading to involuntary muscle contractions and/or a lack of consciousness)
- Kidney failure
- A severe drop in blood pressure preventing enough oxygen from getting to the body tissues These conditions can lead to a coma and death.
HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS US
It is believed that alcohol enhances the effects of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Inhibitory neurotransmitters slow down the activities of the brain and help give people a calm feeling. Scientists also believe that alcohol inhibits the action of glutamine, the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. The combination of enhancing GABA and reducing the effectiveness of glutamine leads to slower activity of the brain.
There are others that believe that alcohol causes another physiological effect in many people. This is because these people convert more of the alcohol into a form of glucose that the body uses for energy. Just like someone addicted to sugar to provide them energy, these people crave alcohol for energy.
These changes in the brain can create a number of different reactions such as:
- A lowering of reason, of caution, and of inhibitions—evidenced by the often irrational actions of many drunk people
- A lessening of motor skills and balance, slowed reaction times and even the “shakes”
- Blurred vision
- A feeling of being tired
- An immediate need to sleep
- A feeling of sadness or depression
WHAT ARE THE MORE SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOL ABUSE?
Alcohol abuse can cause:
- Fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Liver cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Throat cancer
- High blood pressure
- Unintentional injuries such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning and burns
- Violence such as child abuse, homicide and suicide
- Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant
THE HUMAN BODY AND WITHDRAWAL
A properly functioning human body is an incredible thing. As we learn more about how the body works, we can appreciate the impact that anything put in our bodies will have on us and how this affects our feelings and behavior. How many of us have eaten a certain type of meal and then felt we needed to take a nap? All of us have also eaten a meal and felt great and very energized. What is the difference between the two meals? It is how our body reacted to different foods.
How many of us "treat" our feelings of low energy by having a candy bar or other sugar-based carbohydrate? How many of us treat our "sluggishness" in the morning with a cup of coffee? What we are doing is using a substance to create an effect that the body would normally handle on its own. For example, the body would normally create the carbohydrates needed by breaking down fat that it stored, and this would create more energy. The sugar substitute or coffee initially gives a quicker result than the body’s normal function produces, but over time this creates problems where we can become more and more dependent on sugar and caffeine, and it takes more and more of these substances to create the energy we need.
Incidentally, when the body isn’t made to break down the fats to produce the energy but sugar or caffeine are used instead, the body tends to become out of balance, the endocrine system of the body can be altered and people can retain more and more fat.
Another example of becoming addicted that many people understand is smoking. Physiologically, you become addicted to nicotine and this is why so many people have such difficulty stopping.
Stopping the use of sugar and caffeine or quitting smoking causes symptoms such as:
- Extreme fatigue
- Unsettled sleep
- Weight gain
THE ONLY SAFE WAY TO STOP DRINKING ALCOHOL — UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION
Unless you have some familiarity with the actual physiological effects of alcohol, you likely believe that drinking or stopping drinking is a decision that a person makes. If someone told you that they were having a problem with their drinking, you would tell them to just stop drinking.
The alcohol user hears stories about people who woke up one morning, decided that alcohol was ruining their life and never had another drink. However, for every one of these who could just stop drinking and not have a problem, there are hundreds if not thousands that were unable to just stop or who ended up in the hospital or at the undertakers. For many, alcohol has affected brain synapses to the degree that if they stopped drinking, the brain will create seizures that can be fatal. For others it has caused such serious dehydration that the withdrawal symptoms will lead to serious health complications in their weakened state.
There are many factors that will influence how stopping alcohol drinking will affect someone, but it is certain that the only safe way to stop drinking alcohol is under medical supervision.
HOW DOES NOVUS MEDICAL DETOX CENTER COMPARE TO HOSPITALS AND OTHER FACILITIES?
Many times the person wanting to safely stop drinking alcohol will ask why they should come to Novus Medical Detox Center and not just go to a hospital.
However, there are some questions to ask a medical facility about alcohol detox. Here are some of them:
- Does the facility specialize in medical detox and only medical detox?
- Does the facility have specialized protocols for alcohol detox?
- Does the facility have a staff that has received specialized training in how alcohol affects the body and in alcohol detox?
- Does the facility ensure that the person is hydrated?
- Does the facility ensure that the IV’s contain GABA and gluthathione and well as other vitamins and minerals?
- Does the facility have private rooms so that you only have to experience your detox and not the detox of the person next to you?
- Does the facility seem like home or an institution?
- Does the facility have grounds where the patients can walk and/or play basketball?
- Does the facility provide institutional food or restaurant quality food?
- Does the facility have internet access throughout?
- Does the facility offer Cable TV in each room?
An astronaut was asked if he had any concerns when he was being launched into space. He quipped that the only concern was that his rocket was made by the lowest bidders. All of us have priorities. We don’t have money for some purchases but can spend whatever is needed for things that we believe are valuable. We know that the better surgeons have better success. We know that skill counts. We know that someone who specializes will normally do a better job than someone who spends only a portion of their time doing the same job.
When it comes to any medical situation, all of us want the best care we can afford and we want the best opportunity to achieve the best outcome. At Novus Medical Detox Center, our patients do succeed in withdrawing from drugs and alcohol. You can read those success stories here. If you or a loved one needs to safely and more comfortably detox from alcohol, please give us a call.
NOTE: This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine, health care diagnosis or treatment, or (iii) the creation of a physician patient or clinical relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or that this information may be useful to you or others, please consult with your health care provider before applying any information from our articles to your personal situation or to the personal situation of others.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted © material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.
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- Why It's Hard to Stop
- Assess If You Have a Problem
- Teen Drinking Find Out If Your Insurance Will Pay
- Assessment: Do I Need Detox or Rehab?
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- What Will It Cost?
- Symptoms of Withdrawal
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