The recent tragic death of True Blood star Nelsan Ellis highlights the danger of attempting to deal with alcohol detox in isolation. Ellis, who reportedly struggled with alcohol and drug abuse for years, tried to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to Ellis’ manager, the actor had a swollen liver, developed a blood infection, his blood pressure dropped, and his kidneys shut down. On July 8, Ellis died of heart failure at the age of 39.
The Dangers of Unsupervised Alcohol Withdrawal
What happened to Ellis is not uncommon and should serve as a warning sign for anyone considering an unsupervised alcohol withdrawal. Just because alcohol is a legal substance, that does not mean that it is safe to detox from once one becomes addicted. Quite the opposite is true. In fact, of all addictive substances, alcohol is one of the most dangerous in terms of detox complications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol is linked to 88,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. There are also millions of people who are hospitalized each year due to alcohol-related complications. The most common health problems among alcoholics are weakened vital organs, particularly the heart, liver, and kidneys.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in 2014 which suggests that even moderate drinkers increase their risk of heart problems. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be characterized by severe anxiety, disorientation, tremors, nausea, hallucinations, and seizures. In severe cases, attempting to withdraw from alcohol without medical assistance can lead to death.
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The Advantages of Having a Medically-Supervised Detox
If you have made the decision to stop drinking, it is important that you give yourself the best possible chance of success. Both the physical and psychological side effects of an alcohol detox can be severe, so having medical assistance and supervision during each step provides several benefits.
Your physical safety is paramount. A medically-supervised detox will keep patients monitored and safe from the severe impact of alcohol withdrawal on the body. When a person is an alcoholic, the abrupt withdrawal of the substance can prove deadly. There may also be underlying medical conditions which have been masked by the numbing effects of alcohol. The shock of a withdrawal could bring those issues to the surface quickly, which is yet another reason why it is a good idea to have medical professionals on hand.
A medically-assisted detox can also provide you with the psychological support that you need as physical and emotional changes begin to take place. Detox is a stressful experience, so having staff on hand that understand this process is valuable.
Getting Comprehensive Help Through an Alcohol Rehab Program
A detox program helps to build a solid foundation for a comprehensive alcohol rehab program. The first weeks and months after detox will set the tone for your new life in recovery. Enrolling in a comprehensive alcohol treatment program that will support your new alcohol-free journey is the best way to move forward with confidence and with your safety in mind. Contact The Recovery Village now to learn about admissions for our alcohol detox and alcohol rehab program.