Medical supervision during alcohol detox is essential
Long-standing alcohol use and misuse causes various and profound changes in the human body. The body—particularly the brain—becomes dependent on the effects of alcohol. Alcohol has a “depressing” effect on the brain; this depressing effect is not a depressed mood, but depressed activity of brain cells themselves. In people who chronically abuse alcohol, brain cells increase their activity to adapt to being bathed in alcohol every day. Brain cells need to be hyperactive to overcome the effects of daily alcohol use, simply to keep to people conscious and awake.
Now imagine what happens to those hyperactive brain cells when the alcohol-dependent person suddenly stops drinking. Without the alcohol to “depress” brain cell activity, the nerve cells run rampant possibly causing irritability, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. Indeed, people have died when alcohol withdrawal without proper medical care.
The brain is just one organ that becomes dependent on alcohol. Alcohol addiction and withdrawal can affect the skin, the heart, the blood vessels, the liver, and various other organs and body systems. Because of the potentially severe consequences of alcohol withdrawal, people who wish to detox from alcohol must have close medical supervision during this critical time. Close medical care and support can change alcohol detox from a distressing and dangerous experience into a safe and comfortable one.