Alcohol Detox Symptoms: The Important Facts

Anyone who accustomed to excessive alcohol consumption knows how difficult it is to quit drinking. The amount of a person’s regular alcohol intake will dictate just how hard it really is. While a heavy drinker is more apt to experience severe withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox, even those who are habituated to binge drinking will notice the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Drinking alcohol can cause significant harm to a person’s physical and mental health. Alcohol misuse can lead to several problems, some of which can result in long-term health issues. Some of these include damage to the central nervous system, liver disease, heart disease, and more.

The first step in overcoming alcoholism is detoxification. Also known simply as ‘detox’, the process of alcohol withdrawal is something to be taken seriously. Alcohol detox symptoms can be severe enough that medical emergencies can arise under certain conditions.

A heavy drinker who has used alcohol over long periods of time is more at risk for alcohol withdrawal to become a serious problem. It is suggested those suffering from alcohol dependence never try to detox alone. For this reason, we recommend our clients seek out medically supervised detox at a private rehab clinic when they decide to quit drinking.

Excessive alcohol consumption is more common than many people are aware of. Not only is drinking alcohol legal, but is often encouraged to relax and have a good time. Alcohol misuse affects countless people worldwide, which has led to a dependence of alcohol by millions of people.

Signs of alcohol abuse aren’t always easy to recognize. Taking an assessment of alcohol use with yourself or a loved one can help you determine whether drinking has become a more serious problem. Those with cooccurring disorders (such as alcoholism and an eating disorder) are likely to experience more symptoms than those suffering from addiction alone.

If you are concerned about how you or a loved one uses alcohol, know that alcoholism is a progressively debilitating condition that could eventually take from you everything you hold dear. Whether accustomed to binge drinking or dealing with severe abuse and addiction, it is important to seek professional alcohol withdrawal treatment. Detox and withdrawal should not be taken lightly.

Undergoing detox and rehab is well worth it compared to the significant losses you could experience should you choose to keep drinking. Some of the serious repercussions of long-term alcohol addiction can include: heart disease, liver disease, central nervous system issues, and more. Alcohol addiction can also cause serious mental health damage.

It is far better to go to alcohol rehab to get well than to risk losing your family, your financial means, your health and, possibly, your life. When it is abused, the effects of alcohol can be devastating.

Rehab centers can help by not only treating alcohol or drug addiction, but can also help prevent alcohol or drug overdose. It is vital to keep in mind that any type of addiction is something to be taken very seriously. When it isn’t, addiction typically only tends to get worse and can result in devastating consequences.

What Is the Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline?

While withdrawal timelines are different for everyone, many experience withdrawal symptoms just hours after alcohol cessation. Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 3 to 8 hours of the last drink. Those accustomed to heavy drinking however, may not experience withdrawal symptoms for up to 12 hours. Symptoms usually peak between 24 and 36 hours before beginning to subside. Most recovering alcoholics are symptom-free within 5 to 7 days.

An exception to this is when patients experience what is known as protracted withdrawal, which includes symptoms that occur after detox and acute withdrawal are over. Because alcohol and drug addiction affects everyone differently, only some individuals will experience protracted withdrawal. It’s believed that it occurs due to changes in the brain that takes place before a person receives treatment. Cooccurring disorders can also lead to protracted withdrawal.

Common Alcohol Detox Symptoms

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will vary with each person struggling with an alcohol abuse problem. The most common alcohol detox symptoms however, can be divided into two categories: physical and psychological. This is because alcohol affects how the brain works. As brain chemistry is altered, so are the rest of the body’s systems. By the time a person has moved from alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence to alcohol addiction, both the body and mind rely on having alcohol in the system to function normally.

If you believe you have a problem with alcohol addiction, it’s important to know what alcohol withdrawal symptoms to watch for. Physical signs and symptoms of alcohol detox that may occur just hours after alcohol cessation include:

  • mild tremors/shakes
  • excessive sweating
  • fluctuations in body temperature
  • increased heart rate
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dry heaves
  • visual hallucinations
  • mild to moderate withdrawal seizures

Psychological alcohol detox symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • sleep disturbances

A person with a history of alcohol abuse who suddenly stops drinking and begins to experience any of these symptoms as the effects of alcohol wear off, is probably alcohol dependent. Evidence of these symptoms is a clear indication that a drinker needs professional treatment of alcohol abuse. Going to an alcohol detox centre can help significantly.

Some alcoholics do not start feeling ‘normal’ again for months after going to a treatment centre even when alcohol detox and rehab are complete. Substance abuse takes a serious toll on the body and mind. And even when normalcy is achieved, the brain remains unusually sensitive to alcohol for years afterwards. It’s crucial for the person who has completed alcohol recovery to abstain permanently from drinking to avoid relapse.

Delirium Tremens – A Serious Condition

There are times when alcohol withdrawal results in detox symptoms severe enough to trigger a condition known as delirium tremens. Heavy drinking for a long-period of time can cause severe symptoms. Delirium tremens (DTs) is one of the most severe withdrawal symptoms that can happen when a person with a serious addiction suddenly stops drinking.

This condition is sufficiently serious to have led the medical community to classify alcohol detox as an emergency. If a recovering alcoholic should experience delirium tremens at any time, the results could be fatal. In such cases, a supervised medical detox is typically required.

The symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Severe tremors
  • Excessive agitation
  • Excessive dehydration
  • Pronounced confusion
  • Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations
  • Severe and potentially dangerous convulsions

The three biggest concerns with this severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome are: dehydration, hallucinations, and convulsions. Roughly 1 in every 20 alcoholics undergoing detox will experience DTs and require a medical detox to ensure their safety.  The potentially fatal nature of delirium tremens requires that a patient seeks help at a professional detox center.

Medically Supervised Detox

We believe a detox program should offer patients an environment in which they can detox safely. A private rehab clinic that offers a medically supervised program can help. Treating alcohol and drug withdrawal in a professional setting is recommended for anyone with a dependence on alcohol. Those going through the stages of alcoholism withdrawal will find detox to be a treatment option that significantly helps with recovery.

Medical supervision at a professional treatment centre offers several benefits that alcohol and drug abusers don’t have access to when trying to detox alone. When going to a detox program, doctors and nurses constantly monitor a patient’s health and progress and are always ready to address any medical emergency that might arise. This is reason enough to give serious consideration to medically supervised detox.

Patients undergoing a supervised detox program are typically treated with a prescription drug to help them manage symptoms. This can significantly help with the treatment of alcohol withdrawal by making withdrawal symptoms more manageable. At the very least, the professional environment provided by private rehab clinics makes it possible for staff to make patients as comfortable as possible during withdrawal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment: What to Expect?

If you are considering getting professional help for alcohol detox and withdrawal, it’s important to know what to expect. Whether going through detox with your family physician or at a professional detox center, blood tests may be taken to determine the level of alcohol in your body.

Aside from blood tests, person’s blood pressure and other vital signs are also taken into consideration before detox begins. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are closely monitored once detox begins.  When going through alcohol cessations, those who have a higher tolerance to alcohol may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Because those with a high tolerance typically have a higher alcohol intake, they tend to be at greater risk for a more difficult detox.

An assessment of alcohol withdrawal will be made for the patient to ensure they are not in serious danger. The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol is a ten-item scale that is used to help in the management and assessment of alcohol withdrawal. This alcohol scale is used to determine what is necessary for effective detox.

The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment will also help decide if a prescription drug like benzodiazepine would help manage a person’s health during withdrawal. A prescription drug can also help reduce the risk of a withdrawal seizure. The alcohol scale is different for everyone stopping drinking.

Patients who decide on outpatient treatment to manage alcohol use disorders, will return home each day during the detox process. These types of detox treatment programs give patients the ability to take care of their regular responsibilities while getting the help they need. They may be given medications by a medical professional to help manage symptoms of withdrawal such as sleep disturbances and anxiety.

Inpatient treatment differs from outpatient treatment in the way that patients stay at the detox or rehab center the duration of their withdrawal. An inpatient center treats alcohol withdrawal around the clock, ensuring that medical professionals are available if any emergencies arise. Treating alcohol withdrawal syndrome with constant supervised care can help reduce the possibility of relapse even in the most severe withdrawal cases.

Part of a Full Treatment Plan

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or dependence, we urge you to contact us now to learn more about detox addiction treatment and rehab. We are here to answer frequently asked questions about alcohol withdrawal syndrome, substance abuse, alcoholism treatment, and more. We have helped countless people struggling with alcohol use disorders, and understand what is necessary to overcome addiction for good.

Detox is just one part of recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. A full drug or alcohol treatment plan specifically designed for sustained recovery will help a person through all stages of recovery, not just alcohol and drug withdrawal.

These comprehensive treatment programs include therapy and other addiction treatment modalities that help determine what causes alcohol addiction in the patient. They also offer various methods that help them to overcome it. Those suffering from a dual-diagnosis, such as multi-addiction or alcoholism combined with an eating disorder, will find a full treatment plan to be extremely beneficial.

We work with rehab clinics and other service providers committed to developing individualized treatment plans for each patient. When accompanied by a full commitment from the patient, a treatment plan that includes both detox and rehabilitative therapy offers excellent chances for restoration of a person’s nervous system’s health, and a full and complete recovery.

We also stay up to date on the latest health news, addiction health topics, and receive any information regarding addiction from trusted sources such as the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Drug Abuse and Addiction.

We’re here to help guide you toward the best rehab to fit your needs, including any NHS choices available for those who cannot afford to pay for rehab on their own. We will also discuss what insurances are accepted. We can also help you get connected with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings around the UK.

For the families of alcoholics, we can help connect you with intervention programs if the need arises. Although a difficult decision to make, intervention programs can greatly reduce the risk of alcohol or drug overdose for those refusing to get help. There are some NHS choices and insurances accepted for intervention, as well. We are happy to walk you through the entire process when making this difficult choice.

While alcohol detox symptoms can be uncomfortable, detox does not last forever. Within 5 to 7 days, you could be completely free from alcohol and on your way to permanent recovery. The key is to start the process now by contacting us and speaking with one of our counsellors. We are here to help you find the best treatment option to fit your needs.

Alcohol rehab can turn your life around. Whether choosing inpatient treatment, or going to an outpatient treatment center, getting help is often vital. Not only will you learn what causes alcohol addiction, but you will learn what is necessary to overcome it for good. The signs of alcohol abuse shouldn’t be ignored. Call us today to see how we can help you find the best treatment for alcohol withdrawal so you can take your life back.

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