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Alcohol Withdrawal & Detox: Understanding the Timeline, Symptoms and Treatment

Alcohol Addiction Detox

Some people who suffer from alcoholism may not realize the full extent of their problem until they stop drinking or significantly reduce their drinking. It can come as a huge shock to encounter withdrawal symptoms, particularly if alcohol addiction is severe and long withstanding.

Therefore, it can be a great relief to know that treatment centers such as Beachcomber are here to help you or your loved one through the difficult detoxification process, which can often be physically and psychologically challenging.

What is alcohol detox?

Alcohol detoxification or detox is the process of removing all the alcohol out of the body. If a person’s alcoholism was severe, it can be necessary to gradually reduce the intake of alcohol until the body is at a stable enough condition to completely stop alcohol consumption completely.

During this process, a patient will be provided with care by doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and therapists for practical and emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a patient requires any medication, this can be assessed and administered by a doctor in severe cases, and any complications can be dealt with. This process of recovery is believed to be one of the toughest, so our highly skilled and experienced practitioners are here to try and make the process as comfortable as possible.

What are withdrawal symptoms from alcohol addiction?

The withdrawal symptoms a person will experience will vary according to the severity of alcohol addiction and other factors in a person’s life.

Regular alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Restlessness
  • Inability to sleep or relax
  • Anxiety, depression or irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating, shaking and uncontrollable tremors
  • Intense cravings for alcohol

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include;

  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Heart and organ failure
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Suicidal thoughts or violent outbursts

What’s the alcohol detoxification timeline you can expect?

With the caveat that individual patients and the severity of their addiction can change the detox timeline for alcohol, detox usually occurs in these three stages:

  • Stage 1 – Initial withdrawal
    • Starts around 8 hours after your last drink
    • Symptoms can begin and start with varying levels and types of mild to moderate discomfort
    • The severity of the symptoms begin to increase leading to the next stage of withdrawal
  • Stage  2 – Peak withdrawal
    • Starts after about 24 hours after your last drink and lasts between 48 – 72 hours
    • This stage sees the most intense and uncomfortable alcohol withdrawal symptoms
    • Physical withdrawal symptoms can be the most severe during this stage
  • Stage 3 – Long-term withdrawal
    • Starts after the first few days of alcohol detox and can last a week or so
    • While symptoms generally begin to taper at this stage, symptoms can get worse in certain cases or new symptoms can develop
    • This stage can last even longer if alcohol detox symptoms are left completely untreated

Please note: it is exceedingly dangerous to try alcohol detoxification at home or not under the supervision of a medical professional. If you or someone you love here in Florida is considering an alcohol detox program, please reach out to us here at Beachcomber or an addiction center near you before attempting to rid the body of alcohol and it’s ill effects.