Alcohol Advice – How do I stop drinking?
For many people suffering at the hands of alcohol addiction, they may reach the point where they decide that alcohol has taken enough of their life and will just stop drinking. Whilst the motivation to change is a positive thing, stopping drinking suddenly is extremely dangerous and should never happen.
When someone drinks heavily over a long period of time, the body will become used to it and start to depend on it. This means that when the alcohol is taken away, the body struggles to cope without it. Many people will have heard of the expression ‘hair of the dog’ – when a person drinks the following day to stop the symptoms of their hangover – these symptoms are due to alcohol withdrawal; when more alcohol is consumed the body stops rebelling against its absence.
The alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, and can last anywhere between 7-10 days following the cessation of drinking. Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, shaking, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. The more serious withdrawal symptoms can include confusion, hallucinations and withdrawal seizures. Seizures can be extremely dangerous as the lack of oxygen can cause brain damage, or even death.
Therefore, it is much safe for a person to undertake a medical detox. This is where medication is prescribed which takes the place of alcohol; the person can stop drinking immediately and the medication will help protect against the withdrawal symptoms. The best way of receiving a medical detox is by entering a residential detox programme. This means that staff are on hand to support the individual through what can be a very difficult time, and make sure the medication is being taken correctly.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, contact should be made either with the GP, or with NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.