It can be difficult to identify whether someone is an alcohol addict, but one very obvious sign of a physical addiction to alcohol are specific withdrawal symptoms which manifest if the individual does not consume alcohol. These symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, and in extreme cases delerium tremens. Individuals who have experienced such symptoms should not try to withdraw form alcohol on their own, but should seek a state certified alcohol detox center. Alcohol works on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which is what relaxes the body and lowers excitability. When these inhibitory receptors are flooded by constant drinking, the long-term use leads to a decrease of GABA neurotransmitter response, creating tolerance in the drug user.
Detox Programs And The Kindling Effect
The kindling effect is still studied by scientists, but it’s a term given to recurring cravings and obsessive thoughts that occur in drug addiction. Multiple attempts at alcohol detox create more severe cravings for the drug, which makes the rehabilitation process mentally exhausting.
The sudden cessation of alcohol has severe physical withdrawal symptoms. Because the GABA neurotransmitters are affected, as the alcohol leaves the body, the brain returns to a hyperexcited state. The increase in excitability causes the irritability, anxiety, and tremors seen during alcoholdetox programs. Alcoholics who drink heavily may also experience seizures during alcohol detox. These physical withdrawals add to the obsessive thoughts observed during the kindling effect.
Transitional Sober Living
For this reason, following detox, alcoholics who attend a rehabilitation program followed by a transitional sober living have a far better chance of remaining sober for a long period of time.