A diagnosis of alcoholism is usually followed by journey to an alcohol detox facility. What happens during this process?
This guide walks you through the three phases involved with the process of detoxification. It covers withdrawal symptoms, how they last, the drugs that are used to treat them, the medicines that are used to prevent cravings, and resources for self-care after you have arrived at the center. There is also information on what to do after you leave an alcohol detox center.
Alcoholism’s Effects on Mind & Body
The pleasure of drinking alcohol has been enjoyed in societies across the world over the centuries. People indulge in it to relieve stress and anxiety caused from the stresses of everyday life.
While there is no “cure” for alcohol dependence but removing yourself from it is a vital first step towards sobriety. The aim of an individual who is undergoing alcohol detox isn’t just to clear his or her system of all trace elements of alcohol, but also to be able to keep abstinence for the foreseeable future.
Difficulty in Alcohol Detox
Many who are dependent on alcohol find it hard to stop drinking, even though they are aware of the consequences.
The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can be very severe and result in seizures or delirium (DTs) which is a life-threatening condition that typically requires hospitalization. Some people experience hallucinations or psychosis as they withdraw, which can be life-threatening if it is not treated by a medical professional.
Patients at danger of developing DTs should not attempt to detox by themselves. They should also avoid switching between different levels of care unless they have been advised by a doctor. Detoxification should be done only in a safe and controlled setting such as an alcohol detox centre, where patients can receive regular supervision and help.
The process of detoxing from alcohol typically takes place in three distinct phases: withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), and protracted withdrawal.
The initial two phases generally last around a week, and the third one can occasionally last for months or years after an alcohol user stops drinking. Signs of PAWS include mood swings, cravings, fatigue, sleep issues, concentration difficulties and irritation. Many former alcohol addicts have to alter their lifestyles to deal with these symptoms , and seek help from support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/or psychotherapy.
Understanding Alcohol Detox Phases: A Timeline
After quitting drinking, it is possible to experience post-acute withdrawal signs (PAWS) within a few hours. This condition can last up to a couple of weeks.
The initial stage of detoxification from alcohol lasts between 2 to 3 days and is marked by intense psychological withdrawal symptoms such depression, anxiety and insomnia. These symptoms generally disappear within 48 hours, however in some cases , they could take up to five consecutive days. This is when the physical part of detox is beginning. People who are undergoing alcohol detox may experience tremors and nausea. However, these signs typically last for about an hour at the most.
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The goal of the patient who is in a detox program is not just to cleanse their system of any alcohol, but also to discover how they can stay away from alcohol in the future. A detox center provides patients with 24/7 monitoring and supervision throughout their detox process to ensure their safety.
While the patient’s withdrawal symptoms can be intense They are not usually dangerous (unless not treated).
After the alcohol detox process is completed, former heavy drinkers typically undergo a “rehab” or post-acute withdrawal phase that may last for weeks or months following quitting, contingent on how quickly the person adjusts to life without alcohol. In this phase it is possible that they will experience some physical effects of withdrawal, such as insomnia, insomnia and concentration issues. In addition, they will likely experience Alcohol cravings.
The majority of treatment programs offer individual counseling sessions with an addiction medicine therapist and groups therapy with recovering alcoholics. These treatments have been proven to greatly increase recovery rates over time.
People who are addicted to alcohol are often afflicted with withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly quit drinking following a period of excessive intoxication or prescription medication or other drugs. To minimize the risks associated when abruptly stopping drinking, it is crucial that those who want to quit drinking understand the symptoms, the signs, and the effects of withdrawal. Certain people might require medical supervision to detoxify from alcohol, particularly if they have been addicted for an extended time.