If you suffer from an alcohol use disorder, your body has become physically dependent on alcohol, leading you to drink every day—an amount that slowly increases over time—to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Involuntary movements
- Hand tremors
- Increased heart rate
These and other symptoms are the natural result of your body trying to function without the presence of a substance it has become used to. Even more serious withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium and life-threatening seizures, are possible if you are a heavy drinker or have been dependent upon alcohol for a long time. Most medical professionals would advise against trying to quit alcohol cold turkey on your own because of this risk, and because you may resume drinking to relieve the physical and psychological challenges of alcohol withdrawal. Having the benefit of professional medical attention combined with the supervision and structure of a treatment program will give you what you need to successfully navigate through alcohol detox and onwards to a healthy recovery.
Alcohol detox is only the first step of recovering from alcohol use disorder, but it is one of the most important. You need to free your body from addictive chemicals and allow yourself to physically heal in order to recover psychologically and emotionally through behavioral therapy and counseling. Quality alcohol detox treatments will not only help you overcome physical dependency on alcohol, they will help you start rebuilding your health and happiness with improved nutrition. Many treatment programs offer nutrition classes or meetings with nutritionists to help you learn how to make up for the poor health that results from excessive drinking and start making positive food choices that can help you get strong and stay sober.
Certain foods, like nutrient-dense produce and whole grains, can boost your energy, as well as relieve some of your withdrawal symptoms. As your body detoxes from alcohol and starts to heal from physical dependency, eating a healthy diet will aid the detox process, and correct imbalances in your hormones and neurotransmitters that push you towards compulsive drinking. After your brain and body reach the right chemical balance, instead of feeling a constant urge to drink, you’ll be able to recognize what your body is actually asking you for—food, water, rest, physical activity, etc. Good nutrition will also help you think more clearly, while giving you the energy you need to work on your recovery through counseling and other therapeutic interventions.
If you aren’t sure how to begin the detoxification process, take advantage of resources like Detox.com, which can connect you to detox and addiction treatment facilities near you. The programs at these facilities provide counseling, detox services, behavioral therapy, and medications to help safely guide you through detox and recovery. The nutritional therapy provided by some facilities will teach you about superfoods that can give you a boost through addiction treatment, optimize your physical and mental health, and keep you strong enough to resist relapse for the long term.