There are many ways that alcohol withdrawal can affect individuals. However, untreated alcohol withdrawal comes with its own perils. Often, those who go about self-treatment may find themselves worse than before.
What Constitutes Alcoholism?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines alcohol use disorder (AUD) as the following:
[A] medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the colloquial term, alcoholism. Considered a brain disorder, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe.
It is important to note that many people do not realize or refuse to believe they have AUD. These individuals may feel as though they do not require assistance or, in worst-case scenarios, that they can go cold turkey without consequences.
Side Effects of Untreated Alcohol Withdrawal
Regardless of whether an individual seeks assistance for alcohol withdrawal, they will still experience the same symptoms. These vary between individuals but often include basic side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Loss of Appetite
When an individual experiences these and other side effects as a result of untreated withdrawal, the consequences can be disastrous. Often, they will be so bad that people will rush back to alcohol in an effort to quell the pain and mental instability they feel. This not only ruins their hopes of sobriety but may also lead to an increase in alcohol intake as they fear another backslide into pain and mental health deterioration.
Untreated Alcohol Withdrawal and Impulsivity
One of the main reasons to seek treatment for alcohol withdrawal is impulsivity. An inability of individuals to have even a modicum of impulse control may cause a rush to return to alcohol and forgo sobriety. The need for alcohol can be so overwhelming that their mind and body are screaming to have it back.
For people who are attempting to achieve sobriety, doing it on their own leaves them open to giving in. They will feel and fight impulses but inevitably fall back into old habits.
Fighting impulsivity is nearly impossible without outside assistance. People in the throes of withdrawal will often feel they must be strong for themselves and are more apt to attempt to power through the experience. This can also backfire in a spectacular fashion as the longer they attempt to hold out on their own and fight their own impulses, the further they will crash without assistance.
Untreated Alcohol Withdrawal vs. Treated Alcohol Withdrawal
The main difference after someone has decided to seek treatment is that they will not be alone in their struggle. As they consider purging their system of alcohol, they can consult with medical professionals about the best ways to go about the process. The ultimate decision lies with the individual but will often result in a full detox.
Detox, much like an untreated attempt, involves going cold turkey. However, in the case of a treated detox environment, the person is monitored, assisted, and encouraged. They are in a safe and monitored space where they are surrounded by staff who have helped countless others through the same process.
Another difference is the way treatment centers treat impulsivity. Staff in treatment centers are not just available to treat symptoms of withdrawal. They are also in place to create plans of action for individuals and give them strategies for moving toward sobriety.
How West Coast Recovery Centers Can Help
At West Coast Recovery Centers, the main focus is on helping people to understand their issues, the roots of those issues, and methods of dealing with them. Often, for people that have gone through a full detox process, an outpatient program is key in bridging the gap that leads to post-treatment sobriety.
Clients who enter this program will find medical staff with years of experience. They are prepared to offer individual care plans to each client that will provide guidance both through treatment and into post-recovery.
For people with AUD, there are three main facets to the program:
- Individual therapy: In this area, clients will spend time with therapists in a one-on-one scenario. This will provide them with a safe space to express their feelings and emotions. It is often the first step towards coming to terms with one’s issues. In this safe space, people often discover the roots of their AUD and can deal with it in the company of a specialist.
- Group therapy: In this area, individuals will join small groups consisting of fellow clients who are struggling with similar disorders. When they are in this space, they are given a chance to speak and receive feedback from those who may understand their issues better than anyone else.
- Post-treatment planning: The final step of treatment must involve looking forward. Clients will work with case managers to learn the next steps and pivotal pieces of real-world information. This will often involve tasks such as finding support groups.
For West Coast Recovery Centers, it is important to assist people with understanding their AUD and the ways that treatment can help. Untreated alcohol withdrawal is something that should be avoided at all costs, but finding treatment does not need to be difficult.
West Coast Recovery Centers looks at alcoholism on an individual basis. This means that we treat people who are at different stages of alcohol abuse. For many, their attempts at stopping cold turkey often lead to withdrawal. However, if done outside a treatment program, they may often find that this dry spell leads them to delve even deeper into drinking. West Coast Recovery Centers offers programs to help individuals work with trained professionals to tackle the issues and problems that arise when someone stops drinking. There are a variety of techniques involved, but the main purpose is to provide support. For more information about our program, call us at (760) 492-6509.