What does alcohol detox look like?

Of all the substances that people abuse, alcohol deserves to be considered an enigma. Why? There is no law against drinking too much or too often. It’s like it is perfectly legal for someone to abuse alcohol. Unfortunately, the ramifications associated with alcohol abuse can be just as harsh and dangerous as with some drugs.

How do we know that alcohol abuse can be as harsh and dangerous as other forms of drug abuse? We know because any attempts a longtime alcoholic makes to stop drinking will usually result in them encountering some rather significant withdrawal symptoms. Here is a sample of the kinds of withdrawal symptoms and alcoholic might have to endure:

  • Shakiness
  • Bad dreams and trouble sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Profuse sweating on the hands and around the face
  • The DTs and hallucinations
  • Rapid and frequent changes in emotion

After looking at this list, you might have second thoughts about putting the bottle down forever. We encourage you to stay the course because, in time, these withdrawal symptoms will diminish. At that point, your mind will clear up and the cravings for alcohol will start to go away.

At this point, we have discussed alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Now, we would like to give you an idea about what alcohol detox looks like.

A Look at Alcohol Detox

Realistically, you can break up the alcohol detox process into three phases. There is the initial stage, the middle stage, and the final stage. As we go through each stage, you will notice that each of the above withdrawal symptoms is usually associated with a particular stage.

You will also want to note that our discussion will be in reference to what we will call a normal detox process. If someone has a severe alcoholism problem, the detox process could be a lot more dangerous. In such cases, a client might have to take part in a tapering program to ensure they are safe during the entire detox process.

Stage 1

The initial stage of withdrawal or detox will start about 8 to 12 hours after that last drink. Initially, the individual will start to get headaches and irritability. They might also start sweating and feeling a little nauseous in the latter parts of stage one.

Stage 2

Stage two is very progressive and offers the most discomfort. It usually starts at about day two. At this point, the individual will start sweating and have difficulties with concentration. By the time they get to day three, they can’t sleep, their blood pressure and heart rate are rising, and nausea and vomiting start taking a toll.

On day four, it’s not uncommon for people to feel like they are dying. They are constantly shaking, the DTs might have set in, and they are experiencing nightmares and hallucinations every time they try to go to sleep. It’s more of the same on day five, though some of the withdrawal symptoms will start to decrease.

Stage 3

Once the individual gets past day five, they should start feeling better. They will notice the physical symptoms of detox are decreasing and their mind is starting to clear. This should continue over the next couple of days.

It’s noteworthy that some of the worse withdrawal symptoms could linger a little. It’s nothing to really be concerned about because the battle has essentially been won.

The entire process can be a really bad experience should someone decide to detox on their own. A far better solution is to seek help in a medically monitored detox program. In such a program, medical professionals are monitoring a client’s progress. Should the client start to show bad signs of discomfort, a doctor can intervene. Intervening might include the prescribing of drugs to help clients sleep and deal with pain issues.

Knowing now what to expect from alcohol detox, you should now realize you will only experience a little discomfort for a few days. We can actually help you get through the process. After helping you detox, we would be in a position to get you the help you need so you seek to find the road to a lasting recovery. For more information about our services and the facility, we encourage you to contact one of our highly trained staff members at 772-266-5320.

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Essentials mission is to renew lives impacted by addiction through personalized and complete behavioral healthcare. Our main purpose is to provide services and education to the client and family that will support long lasting recovery of mind, body, and spirit.