Dangers of Doing an Alcohol Detox Alone

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Alcohol withdrawal syndrome and the importance of supervised detox has always been a much talked about topic in the addiction community – and, now, the recent death of “True Blood” actor Nelsan Ellis, 39, has brought these issues into the public consciousness.

Ellis, age 39, who struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years, was said to die from heart failure due to alcohol-withdrawal complications, according to a statement released by his family.

His father said: After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own … During his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.”

Alcohol detox isn’t the same as going on a juice fast or clean-eating diet — it’s serious and potentially fatal. And the family hopes to use Ellis’ death as a precautionary tale to others who attempt to quit drinking without medical supervision.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
If a person has been abusing alcohol for a long period of time and suddenly stops drinking, the body can experience certain signs and symptoms of withdrawal – ranging from mild to severe. This is because abruptly stopping alcohol can cause the brain to become overexcited, notes the National Library of Medicine.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can begin within 8 hours after the last drink and typically last between two and seven days and may include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Sweating, clammy skin
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pallor
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

The Dangers of DTs
Long-time users coming off alcohol may experience a severe and life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens (DTs). Signs can include:

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Seeing or feeling things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion
  • Usually generalized tonic-clonic seizures

Alcohol Detox in Colorado
NorthStar Transitions offers “social detox” and withdrawal management for alcohol. Social detox may be appropriate to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms when an individual is acutely intoxicated but has not been using alcohol in large amounts over an extended period of time. To learn more about our alcohol detox for you or someone you love, call today: 303-625-6335.

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