America has an alcoholism problem, and things are getting worse. New studies reveal that 32 million Americans – or one in seven adults – have abused alcohol or suffered from alcoholism within the last year. What’s worse is that few of these people have received alcohol addiction treatment or medically supervised detox.
Detoxing from alcohol is one of the first steps toward sobriety, but it’s also one of the most difficult. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe, which can discourage some alcoholics from reaching that crucial turning point toward recovery. Detox is a physical and mental process that is painful and, in some cases, potentially deadly. This is why medical detox is recommended.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The worse the alcoholism, the more likely you are to develop severe withdrawal symptoms. For many individuals, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will last up to three days, but they may persist for weeks longer depending on your drinking habits.
When does alcohol withdrawal begin?
Most withdrawal symptoms start within the first 2 to 8 hours after the last drink. In a few cases, they begin days later. The peak of the worst symptoms generally occurs within 24 to 72 hours. The sudden separation can produce immediate and intense symptoms, which is why it can be so difficult to break addiction to alcohol.
When alcohol withdrawals begin, it’s important to be prepared. You will experience temptations to grab another drink to ease the symptoms. Not only is your body experiencing a difficult process of detoxing, but your mind is also facing a mental battle of resilience.
Distraction is one of the most effective tools to overcome the difficult days of early recovery. When you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, knowing how to distract yourself will help keep you focused on your goals. Without distractions, you’ll be focused on your discomfort Things you can do to distract yourself include:
· Going for a walk
· Watching television
· Reading a book
· Listening to music
· Spending time with others
If you suffer from alcoholism, there are instances when medical detox is recommended. Professional supervision is key to minimizing your withdrawal symptoms and discomfort whenever possible. You can also enjoy peace of mind knowing that your health is the top priority.
To learn if detox and alcoholism treatment is right for you, contact us online or call us at 615-939-9294.
Time heals all wounds: Understanding the alcohol withdrawal timeline.
Now that we’ve covered when alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin, let’s explore how long you can expect these symptoms to last.
No two cases are exactly alike. Clinical manifestations of withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person based on the severity and duration of alcohol abuse. What follows is a clinical continuum, but the sequence of events may not apply universally since it’s largely dependent on the degree of alcoholism.
There are four stages of the withdrawal process.
This is the stage when alcohol withdrawal starts. You may experience autonomic hyperactivity within hours of the final drink. Fortunately, most symptoms will peak within 24 to 72 hours of when they first appear. When you detox from alcohol, symptoms you may experience include:
· Anxiety or agitation
· Nausea and vomiting
· Elevated body temperature
· Increased blood pressure
Medically supervised detox follows alcohol withdrawal guidelines to minimize these symptoms for your safety and comfort. Drug and alcohol treatment centers understand the importance of preventing complications of stopping alcohol use. We understand what alcohol withdrawals feel like and want to help you succeed on your path toward recovery.
Within 12 to 24 hours after the last drink, one-fourth of alcohol-dependent individuals in withdrawal will experience hallucinations. This marks the second stage of withdrawal. People suffering from hallucinations will see or hear things that are not physically present. The hallucinations are punctuated with moments of reality where the person has clear-headed understanding of what is currently happening before another hallucination kicks in. Though Stage Two occurs after Stage One, many symptoms present from Stage One may still linger during this time.
Can alcohol withdrawal cause seizures? The answer is yes. During Stage Three, up to 10 percent of patients will experience neuronal excitation, which manifests in the form of seizures. Because the body is dependent on alcohol, a few hours of abstinence or decreased alcohol intake is enough to “shock” the body. Stage Three usually sees individuals experience several generalized, short seizures rather than a single long seizure.
Delirium tremens occur in up to 5 percent of all patients, but affect nearly 30 percent of alcoholics who experience seizures in Stage Three. Delirium tremens is a prime example of why medically supervised detox is so important. If left untreated, mortality rates may be as high as 15 percent. Our alcohol addiction treatment programs are staffed with experienced healthcare professionals who look out for such complications.
Most symptoms begin within three to four days of withdrawals, though they are also known to begin as long as two weeks afterward. Disorientation, hallucinations, impaired attention, pronounced autonomic hyperactivity, tremors, rapid heartbeat and pupil dilation are some of the common symptoms. Medicines called benzodiazepines can help when administered by an addiction treatment professional.
Don’t let fear of what might happen during withdrawal prevent you from taking action to better your life.
Addiction treatment professionals understand what alcohol withdrawals feel like. We understand the anxiety, insomnia, psychological and physical symptoms that alcohol withdrawals can cause. We understand the importance of monitoring your progress for as long as symptoms are present.
Because sudden alcohol cessation can cause hallucinations, convulsions and even seizures, it’s important to seek professional help. These symptoms and side effects can result in death if left untreated. If you suffer from serious dependency on alcohol, don’t attempt going “cold turkey” without the protocol that a treatment facility can provide. You deserve support, understanding and expert resources to guide you through this challenging but promising time.
Recovery from alcoholism goes beyond detox. It lasts beyond the months after your last drink. It’s a lifetime commitment to a new, healthy lifestyle.
Our facilities offer alcohol addiction treatment that addresses the root cause of your addiction. We understand that no two people are alike and that a host of varying factors has contributed to your substance abuse. Our recovery programs are designed to focus on your unique experience and healing as an individual.
It’s time to kick your drinking to the curb. Contact us online or call us at 615-939-9294 to learn about our treatment facilities and the drug rehab options near you.