After you realize you have a drinking problem, you might try quitting on your own by going cold turkey. But quitting drinking on your own without medical support can cause you to experience several physical and mental health effects that will increase your likelihood of relapse. In fact, it is estimated that between 40-60% of people who try to quit will end up relapsing. This is especially true for people who have suffered from substance abuse for a lengthy period of time.
When you’ve become serious about quitting drinking, your best option is to withdraw from alcohol at a detox or rehab center to lower your risk for physical discomfort and serious health complications.
Here are five reasons to choose an alcohol detox program instead of trying to quit at home:
1. Faster Relief from Withdrawal Symptoms
Long term alcohol abuse can create a physical and psychological dependence on drinking. Therefore, quitting drinking can cause you to experience one or more painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms include shaking and sweating, while severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include vomiting and seizures. Fortunately, most alcohol detox and rehab centers offer medications that relieve or eliminate certain symptoms.
For instance, anticonvulsant medications are commonly prescribed to those with heavy or long-term drinking problems to lower the risk of seizures. Individuals who suffer anxiety upon quitting drinking may be prescribed benzodiazepines to help manage anxiety. You may also be prescribed sleep aids to treat insomnia, or pain relievers to help with stomach pain.
2. Safer Withdrawal Under Medical Supervision
The medical staff at an alcohol rehab center will monitor you during withdrawal to ensure you’re not at major risk for serious health complications. Patients who suffer existing health problems such as heart disease may be at high risk for heart attack or stroke on behalf of withdrawal symptoms. But alcohol detox programs guide you safely and comfortably through withdrawal so you experience little to no risk for complications.
3. Screening for Co-Occurring Disorders
Co-occurring disorders are mental health conditions that exist at the same time as addiction. Co-occurring disorders may have been caused by addiction, or vice versa. While undergoing alcohol detox, medical staff will screen your mental health to determine whether you also need treatment for a specific mental health disorder.
Common mental health disorders that occur at the same time as addiction are depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you’re diagnosed with one or more co-occurring disorders, you can undergo counseling and therapy to overcome and/or manage these disorders.
4. Helpful Addiction Counseling
Most alcohol detox programs offer counseling as part of alcohol abuse treatment. Counseling helps you overcome the reasons you started abusing alcohol in the first place. For example, if you frequently turn to alcohol in times of stress, an addiction counselor can teach you healthier ways to manage the stress that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.
5. Benefits from Aftercare Programs
Alcohol detox programs commonly offer ongoing counseling and support groups that help you stay sober in the months and years following detox treatment. These aftercare programs may include family counseling sessions, 12-step programs, and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Aftercare programs teach you tricks for avoiding relapse and connect you with like-minded individuals also overcoming alcohol abuse.