Detoxing from alcohol and returning to a life of sobriety can be challenging, but the results are worth it. Everyone’s journey to health will be different based on your or previous state of health, amount of alcohol consumption, and whether you’re abusing other substances in addition to alcohol.
Here are three things you should know about alcohol detox before you embark upon this difficult but rewarding journey.
Your withdrawal symptoms may be severe
When you start detoxing from alcohol, you may get sick and become fatigued. Your body is going through a major change and weaning itself from alcohol. You may find that your emotional state is unstable as well. If you were consuming alcohol to calm down or using it as a sleep aid, it’s common to feel irritated and angry if you’re not using alcohol as a crutch. If you consumed alcohol to be more social and outgoing, you’re likely to feel withdrawn when you’re not drinking.
The length of the weaning process varies, but after some time, you’ll find that you’re able to deal with stressful situations and find healthy ways to stay calm throughout the day.
You’ll have to change your diet and exercise routine
It’s common to experience extreme weight loss or weight gain while you’re detoxing. You can reduce these symptoms by adopting a healthy diet that is filled with fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Vegetables and fruit are rich in antioxidants that shield your body from stress and help restore your internal organs. Whole grains and proteins are essential for digestion and help you develop healthy joints and muscles. It’s important for you to make an effort to eliminate excess sugars and processed foods from your diet to avoid feeling sluggish and to combat some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression you may feel during detox.
When you’re focused on getting sober and staying that way, you’ll have to make some major changes to your social circle. This is especially the case if you’re a social drinker and are always finding an excuse to go to a party or gathering with friends.
Through the detox process, you’ll also learn about the triggers that lead you to drink. If you’re constantly around people who cause you stress or anxiety, chances are you’ll drink before you have to see these people or after you’ve had an encounter with them. To maintain your sobriety, you may have to cut some of these people out of your life or set clear boundaries when communicating with them.
Being sober also means you’ll have to make new friends who can relate to you and keep you accountable. When you’re having a rough day and tempted to drink, these friends can remind you of how far you’ve come.
If you keep these factors in mind while you’re preparing for alcohol detox, you’ll be able to cope with the changes that your body and mind will go through. This increases the chances that you’ll maintain your sobriety once you’ve completed the detox process.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.