Alcohol detoxification – part 2
Alcohol is considered a dangerous substance for some groups of people such as people with diabetes, those suffering from hypertension, or heart disease, and it should be avoided by pregnant or nursing mothers, or those planning pregnancy, these groups of people can be in serious danger because alcohol can aggravate their conditions and in case of pregnant mothers affect the unborn.
Alcohol should also be avoided by people with hypoglycemic problems, those with liver disorders – especially hepatitis (jaundice), those having developed ulcers and gastritis, or viral diseases, and fungal infections like candidiasis, alcohol may also aggravate mental confusion, fatigue, and of course people having hypersensitive reactions to alcohol should avoid it at all cost.
The various effects and signs of inebriation from alcohol include dizziness, delayed and uncoordinated reflexes, slow and distorted mental functions, non permanent memory loss, a loss of judgment, uncontrollable emotional outburst, in many aggressive behavior, there is also a lack of coordination of movement and thought, and loss of consciousness may result especially where the amounts consumed have been high.
The physical symptoms of a hangover include a dryness of the mouth, an uncontrollable thirst, a severe headache accompanied by a constant throbbing in the area of the temples, feelings of nausea, sudden vomiting and retching, stomach and gastric problems, physical fatigue and heaviness. One of the first effects of alcohol is that it dehydrates the body, removing fluid from the blood, and leads to a swelling of the cranial arteries; alcohol also seriously irritates the gastrointestinal tract.
As a rule, the more severe effects of hangovers are more common with distilled alcohol liquors and spirits, though it also often occurs with milder spirits such as wines, and champagne and brewed drinks like beer and a variety of ales. Quantity consumed being an indicator of likeliness of hangovers occurring, predictably the larger amounts drunken the greater the chances of getting a hangover.
During recovery for an alcoholic, the various withdrawal symptoms may include an intense craving for alcohol, a nauseous feeling, frequent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems including abdominal cramps, the symptoms of anorexia, physical fatigue, sudden headaches, emotional problems such as anxiety, increased irritability, dizziness, mild to high fevers, chills, a change in psychological states such as depression, a sudden onset of insomnia, physical tremors, weakness in the limbs, distorted mental reasoning and hallucinations, and seizures. These may go on for weeks to months.
Liver function is diverted from other necessary tasks, as ninety-five percent of the alcohol consumed must be metabolized, other important body functions like detoxification are put on the back burner. Fats and lipids build up in the liver as their metabolism is slowed. Obesity is also often a stage in alcoholics because alcohol is converted into fat in the liver.
The liver itself loses some cells and small parts become non functional, especially in chronic users, the liver tissue often swells, scars are formed, and the liver shrinks, and soon only a small part of the liver is functional. Other physical complications are things like ascites which is simply the build-up of fluid within the abdomen, other effects of the abuse of alcohol are painful piles or hemorrhoids caused by varicose veins in the rectal region and various bleeding disorders.
Chronic alcohol use can also lead to more serious liver diseases like hepatitis and cirrhosis, especially in cases where the liver becomes inflamed or enlarged. Since the liver is one of the only organs in the human body that can regenerate, it takes time and more than half the liver can be destroyed by alcohol before liver function is seriously impaired. Once alcohol ceases to be processed, the liver regenerates itself, thus there is hope.
Due to alcohol abuse some gastrointestinal disorders may result these include gastritis, severe abdominal pain, difficulty in swallowing and aversion to food, painful gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to a decrease in the hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes inside the stomach.
Holes and perforations in the stomach lining may result, which can cause the “leaky gut” syndrome, things like esophagitis – irritation of the esophagus, may develop, bleeding may result from varicose veins in the rectum, internal diseases like pancreatitis, gallstones may form and progress to the more serious gall bladder disease, where the bladder will have to be removed.
The blood-brain barrier is easily traversed by alcohol, and therefore the substance can rapidly destroy brain cells and in the long term can cause brain damage leading to its manifestation in behavioral and psychological problems. Alcohol can also be implicated in many disorders of the nervous system, these include polyneuritis, which is a form of nerve inflammation, it can cause the onset of premature senility, and a form of chronic degenerative brain syndrome called encephalopathy.
High and raised levels of HDL, the good cholesterol due to moderate alcoholic intake can protect against arteriosclerosis, however any amount of alcohol affects the heart and blood vessels are damaged and this could lead to cardiovascular disease and dysfunction of the heart. Some of these could be a decrease in heart function, impaired heart muscle action, alcohol can also affect the electrical conductivity, can cause congestive heart failure, long term use can bring about cardiac arrhythmias, and enlarge the heart.
Alcohol affects carbohydrate metabolism and is therefore indirectly responsible for hypoglycemia and diabetes if they appear in alcoholics. Simple sugars are the constituents of alcohol; these are rapidly absorbed and have a tendency to weaken glucose tolerance in a person with chronic alcoholism.
One of the primary reasons for mood swings is impaired glucose tolerance; this can also cause depression, uncontrollable emotional outbursts, and psychological manifestations like anxiety. In addition, weight gain often results due to increased calories from alcohol and there is also an increase in body fat unless there is exercise and diet control, increased fat lead to obesity in alcoholics.
Recovery stages a controlled diet and multivitamin regimen is recommended. Alcoholics do certainly need more supplements than other people, and while in the detoxification process, this need doubles and increases. Diet should be focused on fluids and alkaline foods while they are on in the withdrawal stage.
Liquids are easy to consume and should be the staple as the appetite is not sharp at this stage, this will also help in the quick clearance of alcohol from the body and in it’s cleansing. Some foods are better than others all fluids including water, diluted fruit and vegetable juices, warm broths, all soups, and herbal teas such as sourced from chamomile, skullcap which is a nervine and valerian root are effective at this stage.
In addition herbs such as white willow bark are effective in reducing pain and resulting inflammation. An impaired capacity to absorb nutrients is one of the deficiencies from alcohol abuse include impaired absorption; these nutrients include the important B complex vitamins and most essential minerals.
The impairment of liver function a deficiency of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K is also due to alcoholism. The loss of nutrients often results from the diuretic effect of alcohol. There is a reduction in the stores of alcohol-metabolizing vitamins B1 thiamine and B3 besides other important B complex vitamins.
The onset of anemia can sometimes occur because of a lack of folic acid in alcoholics, there is also a loss of cyclobalamine or vitamin B12, and the essential mineral iron. Low levels of vitamin D can bring about the increased risk of osteoporosis or bone density loss when combined with poor calcium absorption in the alcoholic. There also develops a lack of appetite, directly causing and contributing to the deficiencies in vitamin B2, B6, A, C, in most of the essential fatty acid, and in methionine which is an important amino acid.