Habits can be hard to break in any circumstance. However, if you actually have an addiction, it can be even harder. If your addiction is to a substance such as alcohol, it can be extremely hard to break away. Even once you have broken away, you are not necessarily completely immune to becoming addicted again. One of the main principles of groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped many people become and stay sober, is that the only way to stay sober after overcoming an addiction to alcohol is to never drink alcohol again. Some people may believe in a more moderate approach, but a very common belief is that a person who is an alcoholic needs to completely abstain from alcohol in order to continue to live free of the addiction.
So why are we talking about alcohol on this site about depression? Alcohol, contrary to what many think, does not help when you feel you depressed. It is in fact a depressant, and so if you are someone who is feeling extremely negative or unhappy with your life beware…alcohol can only work temporarily, you will soon hit reality with a bump!
The alcohol detox process can be extremely difficult, both physically and mentally. If you are wondering, “how long does it take to detox from alcohol?” the answer can vary, but it has a lot to do with just how much you drink. Once the alcohol has reached your stomach, approximately 20% of it will travel right into the small blood vessels. The remainder will go into the small intestines, which function as a conduit to another set of small blood vessels that go all throughout the body. Alcohol will enter the body at a slower rate if it is taken with food, which will help make the process of actually becoming intoxicated slower. Once alcohol gets into the bloodstream, it will go to the liver. Here, in the liver, it will be metabolized. The average rate of metabolism is 1 oz of alcohol for every hour. As such, the more alcohol you have been drinking, the longer it will end up staying in your system.
However, it can take longer than this for the body to actually detox from alcohol. For someone who is truly an alcoholic, the alcohol actually ends up having long-term effects on the body. Someone who drinks a significant amount on a regular basis has actually created a chemical addiction to the alcohol inside their body. Many people might say that it is good to suddenly stop but the truth is that if they stop giving the body the substances on which it has become dependent, the body will be sent into shock because of the effect on the blood levels and neurotransmitters. Symptoms of alcohol detox include depression, irritability, extreme fatigue, anxiety, vomiting, sweating, mood swings, rapid heart rate, tremors, severe dehydration, and more. It is very important that if you are trying to detox alcohol from your system, that you do not do it on your own, but with the help of a professional.
However, once you have successfully gone through detox and are sober, you will be free to move forward with your life. There are many ways to move forward. As an alcoholic, you may have hurt other people. Part of Alcoholics Anonymous is to go around and make amends. However, you need to be prepared for the possibility that there are some people who are not going to forgive you, even if you are genuinely trying to turn your life around. This does not mean that you cannot move forward, but you need to be prepared for the fact that you may not be able to undo all of the damage that you did when you were suffering from a substance addiction.