After prolonged use of alcohol, your body becomes accustomed and relies on it to function “normally”. Alcohol is a depressant and the brain will eventually stop naturally producing the chemicals that alcohol contains. Withdrawal symptoms during the alcohol detox phase are your body’s attempting at regulating and adjusting after you quit drinking.
If you’ve chosen to undergo treatment for alcohol addiction, the first critical step is detoxification. During the detox phase, your body is completely flushed of alcohol. A series of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may take place during this time, but it is critical to remember that this is the first stop on the road to physical and mental recovery.
While some people may experience extremely aggressive withdrawal symptoms during the alcohol withdrawal phase, others may only experience the minor effects. Severity of symptoms differ for each individual based on factors like:
- Duration of addiction
- Past withdrawal history
- Amount of alcohol consumed regularly
- Use of additional substances
Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol detox symptoms range from mild to possibly life-threatening. Individuals who have abused alcohol heavily for a number of years are more likely to experience the severe symptoms like seizures and delirium tremens. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can will occur within 2 hours after the last drink, but they typically peak 12-24 hours post-ingestion. The initial minor withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
After the initial minor withdrawal symptoms, more severe symptoms start to set in. These symptoms can result in serious health risks, which is why it is important to be supervised during detox. Some of the more serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Hand tremors
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid respiration
- Extreme hallucinations
Alcohol Detox Programs
Due to the potential dangers and health risks associated with alcohol detoxification, it is not advised that individuals go through the detox phase alone. Alcohol detox programs provide a safe and supervised environment that significantly lowers the risk of health complications. In a detox program, men and women are supported by a staff of trained professionals that help to manage the uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Detox programs also specialize in relapse prevention. If an individual is going through detox at home or alone, the severe withdrawal symptoms could be enough to present the temptation to drink again in an effort to stop them. Specially designed detox programs prevent the risk of relapse and permit a full recovery at the individual’s own pace.
Another advantage of alcohol detox programs is that they are tailored to fit an individual’s needs. Certain methods and medications don’t work for everybody, and upon assessment, each person will receive an individual treatment plan. A specialized treatment program will cater to each individual’s requirements. Any additional medical issues will also be addressed to ensure the proper precautions and treatment methods are used.
Alcohol detox programs will also be able to assess and treat any co-occurring disorders a client is suffering from. Mental health disorders are a common occurrence in the case of alcohol addiction. Often times, an individual is suffering from a mental health disorder and turns to alcohol to self-medicate. Treatment centers and detox programs are able to treat both issues simultaneously to increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety and recovery.
The Road to Recovery
The alcohol detoxification stage is your body naturally cleansing itself of the toxins. When the choice to get sober is made, the individual must first go through the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms during detox can vary based on the individual and the detox method. Detoxing is a huge step towards sobriety in the recovery process and should not be taken lightly.
The decision to get help through the alcohol detox process is one to be made with careful consideration. Although it can be difficult to make that decision, alcohol detox programs are the safest and most comfortable route. After the detox stage, individuals are ready to receive the treatment they need for alcohol addiction.