Alcoholism is a serious disease, which requires medical attention and treatment. The first and one of the most important steps of alcoholism treatment is alcohol detox. During this time, alcohol is completely flushed from your body. This can cause withdrawal symptoms, which may include anxiety, delirium tremens, fever, nausea, depression, headache, hallucinations, insomnia, shakiness, and unstable changes in blood pressure and heart rate. These symptoms usually subside within one or two weeks after starting detox. Depending on how heavily you drink, the symptoms can range from mild to serious.
It doesn’t sound like fun, but it is absolutely fundamental to go through this stage if you’re serious about quitting alcohol. And the good thing is it doesn’t last long, from 72 hours to two weeks at the most. Once your body is alcohol-free is when you start making real advances towards sobriety. It may feel scary and overwhelming right now, but don’t worry, there are some things you can do to make it easier and less painful. Here are three tips you can follow in order to have a better alcohol detox process.
Note: You should never attempt detoxing on your own. Given that the symptoms can be serious, you will need professional assistance.
Drink Lots of Fluids
During the initial stages of detox, staying hydrated is extremely important. Most of the withdrawal symptoms, like fatigue, nausea or vomiting, anxiety, among others, will worsen if you are dehydrated. Furthermore, these symptoms may impair your ability and desire to eat, so drinking plenty of fluids is crucial in order to get the nutrients you need when your appetite is low.
Alcohol fills your body with toxins. Drinking water and other fluids help with alcohol detox by flushing out all these toxins through the urinary and digestive system, as well as through sweating. Proper hydration gives your body the elements it needs to carry out an efficient detox. And the faster and more efficiently your body gets rid of these toxins, the sooner the withdrawal symptoms will go away.
There are other alternatives besides water that can help you stay hydrated. Fluids that contain electrolytes are especially helpful to bring your body back into balance. You can also drink juice, broth, and maybe even suck on ice pops or eat gelatin. All of these are good choices for rehydration from alcohol withdrawal.
Include Vitamin and Mineral Support In Your Diet
Alcohol prevents your body from properly absorbing nutrients, including some vitamins and minerals. As a consequence, alcoholics usually have several vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vitamins A and D, as well as B1 and B2, are just a few of the vitamins you might be missing because of alcohol abuse. Deficiencies in minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, can also result from drinking too much alcohol. All of these are important for your body to carry out its daily functions in the best way possible.
The last thing you probably want to do during withdrawal is eating, but your body needs all these nutrients in order to detox more efficiently. And remember that an efficient detox means the withdrawal symptoms will end faster. A balanced diet is key to a successful detox. So make sure to eat foods that are rich in these nutrients in your body. Some of them include eggs, nuts, leafy greens, beans, fortified whole grains, fish, carrots, milk, and vegetable oils. It can be hard to eat at the beginning, but eat what you can. You can also take a multivitamin to help you regain some nutrients.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
As we mentioned before, depression, anxiety, and alcohol cravings are all symptoms of withdrawal. A very effective way to help you cope with these symptoms is mindful meditation. Mindfulness basically consists of paying attention, being present and aware of your surroundings. It is derived from ancient eastern practices and traditions. Mindful meditation is a great way to stay balanced and relaxed throughout this challenging phase. It can help you clear your mind so you can focus on what really matters: your recovery. One of its many benefits is it pulls you out from a reactive state of mind and into a proactive state, which can be very helpful not only during detox but all through your recovery process.
It can be tricky at first to clear your mind and focus on the present. Luckily, there are tons of guided mindfulness meditations you can find online to help you get started. Or if you want to do it on your own, you can start by sitting alone in a quiet space and just observe the moment as it is. If you find your thoughts wander, you can concentrate on your breathing. It’s okay if you get distracted at the beginning. The more you practice, the easier it will be to focus only on the present and you’ll start seeing positive changes in your attitude and feelings.
Remember that alcohol detox is the first step of recovery. The first step towards a new life. It may be unpleasant, but it is necessary. Following these tips can help you make this process more bearable. Also, remember that it doesn’t end there. Detox alone is not enough. You should follow an integral treatment that will give you the tools you need to achieve lasting sobriety, which is the ultimate goal. Congratulations on taking this very important step! Don’t get discouraged through the hard times. Always remember your goal, at the end it will all be worth it.
Do you have any tips on how to make alcohol detox easier? If you’d like to ask or suggest something, please leave a comment below.