For alcohol addiction rehabilitation to be as complete as it’s going to be, we have to give it time. People sometimes get confused or discouraged when alcohol addiction rehabilitation doesn’t go the way they anticipate.
People sometimes get confused or discouraged when alcohol addiction rehabilitation doesn’t go the way they anticipate. Rehabilitation means a return to being healthy, and a person who’s still feeling pretty sick might think, “I haven’t had a drink in weeks, so all the alcohol has to be out of my system by now, but I still feel terrible. Maybe this is permanent.”
It’s important to understand that some parts of the process of alcohol addiction rehabilitation can take up to two years, but they do keep progressing as long as we stay sober and take care of ourselves. There’s a term, homeostasis, that refers to the natural, stable level of functioning in the body; it includes things like body chemistry, blood pressure, and so on.
For alcohol addiction rehabilitation to be as complete as it’s going to be, we have to give it time. The body adapts to having alcohol in the system and tries to regain that homeostasis. Since alcohol is a depressant, it affects the brain and body much like barbiturate drugs. The brain and body adapt by speeding up, so to speak, to get back to that normal level. When we abruptly remove alcohol from the equation, that adaptation can push us off balance in the opposite direction, like someone leaning into a strong wind when that wind suddenly stops. It’s called post-acute withdrawal. It takes time, as mentioned. But in nearly all cases, with continued sobriety and practice of the self-care learned during alcohol addiction rehabilitation, we do keep getting better until we eventually regain our balance, so it’s vital not to get discouraged and give up.
What happens in post-acute withdrawal? It may bring mood swings, insomnia, forgetfulness, lack of energy, restlessness, anxiety, and trouble concentrating. What’s the best way to get through it? This should be addressed in your alcohol addiction rehabilitation program, but a lot of it is common sense. Pay attention to progress (feedback from others on how you’re doing helps); keep taking care of yourself; don’t expect more from yourself than you’d expect from a friend. Be that friend to yourself.