Importance of a Clinical Alcohol Detoxification.

December 5th, 2010

The occasional glass of wine or beer is not any cause for health concerns, unless you are an alcoholic. However, the chronic ingestion into the human body can cause major health problems. Alcoholics suffer from serious physical complaints, including physical dependence on alcohol. Time in a private alcohol detox clinic to overcome the intense withdrawal symptoms is a necessary and highly recommended part of detoxing.

The body of an alcoholic is already damaged and weakened and undergoing these withdrawals in a weakened physical state is dangerous. An alcohol detox clinic will always have experienced medical staff that are trained to assist alcoholics undergoing a quality alcohol detox and to get through the intense physical withdrawals. These can be extremely harmful and taxing on the human body.

What happens when the human body ingests alcohol?

There are many different types of alcohol that exist, however the mind and mood-altering type of alcohol found in liquor, beer and wine etc, is ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is a by-product of the metabolisation of carbohydrates, a process known as fermentation.

Once alcohol has been ingested into the human body, it is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream, often bypassing other substances in the stomach. Approximately 20% of alcohol absorbed through the stomach reaches the brain in less than a minute. The upper part of the small intestine is the primary area where alcohol is absorbed. Once it is absorbed, it passes into the bloodstream.

The blood transports the alcohol to the liver through the veins and capillaries of the digestive tract, after which the liver breaks down the alcohol with an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. The liver usually processes fatty acids which it sends to other areas in the body. However, when the liver is forced to process and metabolise alcohol, it does this first and leaves stores of fatty acids to build up in the liver. Frequent processing of alcohol can cause permanent changes to liver cell structure, and thus affect the ability to process fatty acids, which results in a fatty liver. This is why the liver is the organ in the body most heavily afflicted by alcohol.

The damage alcohol can cause to the body

Liver damage

First and foremost, liver disease is the most common affliction caused by chronic ingestion of alcohol. A fatty liver is the first stage of liver disease. A liver in this state cannot function properly, causing a deficit in nutritional health. The spread of oxygen through the liver is also affected, causing some liver cells to die and create fibrous scar tissue. This is the second stage of live disease through alcoholism, knows as fibrosis. The damage is reversible at this stage if the liver is not required to process alcohol anymore. The last stage of damage to the liver from alcohol ingestion is cirrhosis, which is irreversible.

Malnutrition

Alcohol generally increases a person’s appetite. However, an alcoholic’s appetite is usually decreased by the ingestion of alcohol. The consumption of alcohol by an alcoholic causes euphoric emotions, which lessen the appetite. Alcoholics are therefore often very thin and undernourished. Whilst alcohol is high in calories, it is not high in vitamins, minerals and real nourishment.

Heart disease, kidney disease and blood sugar problems

Alcoholism can cause heart disease as consumption raised the blood pressure and blood lipids (fat cells). This increases the risk of strokes and heart disease. Kidney disease is caused by the enlargement of the kidneys, which changes hormone functions and can cause kidney failure. Hyperglycaemia (raised blood glucose) and hypoglycaemia (lowered blood glucose) is also caused by excessive alcohol intake.

Cancer

Excessive alcohol intake can cause cancer of the breast, oesophagus, larynx, liver, mouth, pancreas and the pharynx.

Mental health problems

Alcoholism has been proven to assist in the development of depression and anxiety disorders.
For an alcoholic to achieve sobriety, they first need to wean their bodies of alcohol. This can produce violent and dangerous physical reactions such as tremors, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures and delirium tremens. The body of an alcoholic is already damaged and weakened due to their daily intake of large amounts of alcohol, as described above.

Therefore, an alcohol detox clinic is a facility where an alcoholic can receive the best possible care by professionals experienced in this procedure. For an alcoholic to get sober and stay sober, completion of a programme in an alcoholism centre is highly recommended.

If you or a loved one is suffering from drinking problems and need help – please call us right now and we’ll find an alcohol rehab near you.

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