Drinking habits vary from person to person, and so do withdrawal experiences. About fifty percent of people who abuse alcohol will experience some symptoms when they stop drinking. A smaller percentage of people will have potentially severe symptoms, such as seizures and DTs. The question of how fast an alcoholic can detox depends on the type of detox you’re using. With traditional detox methods, the timeline will vary depending on how heavily the person drinks. If you have only mild symptoms, you will typically reach a peak in about 24 hours.
The symptoms will start to subside around 5 days after your last drink. Most people plan to detox for at least a week to make sure they don’t have any scheduling conflicts. If you drink more heavily, the timeline is a little more complicated. Serious symptoms can set in anywhere from 48 to 72 hours following your last drink. You will need to be medically supervised to make sure that you don’t develop life-threatening complications.
Rarely, some alcoholics have ongoing physical symptoms for about a month. There is also an option called rapid detoxification. While this won’t be available to everyone, it is a faster way of purging alcohol from the body.
About Rapid Detox Techniques
Rapid detox techniques are used in substance abuse treatment to remove the substances from a person’s body more quickly than normal withdrawal. Many people don’t want to deal with the ongoing withdrawal symptoms, and they instead want to sleep through their detox. An alcohol detox program allows a person to detox from alcohol while being medically supervised. They can be guided through their cravings and symptoms.
Detox programs are designed to reduce the pain and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Rapid detox programs are favored because they allow a person to avoid prolonged periods of side effects. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to seizures, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and potentially life-threatening DTs. It tends to be a painful process. The psychological side effects are also hard to deal with. People are often restless and agitated, depressed and anxious. They may not be able to sleep, and they may experience ongoing shaking in their bodies.
How Rapid Detox Works
A rapid detox is typically used for people who are having severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. If a person’s doctor determines that they are likely to have a severe withdrawal period, they might preemptively plan to do a rapid detox. The system is very different from traditional detoxing. A rapid detox cannot happen outside of a medical environment. It is a process that is aided with medication.
The patient will be sedated or anesthetized, and then the alcohol will be removed from the body. Any other drugs will also be removed at this time. A rapid detox crunches the withdrawal timeline down from days or weeks to hours. Since most of the worst symptoms occur while the person is sedated, they don’t have to suffer them. They wake up without remembering the discomfort their body has been through. However, many treatment centers don’t offer rapid detox services because of the potential side effects.
Potential Harm of Rapid Detox
Medical professionals have identified several potentially harmful aspects of rapid detox. These include:
- Cardiovascular health risks
- Bad reactions to anesthesia
- Ongoing withdrawal symptoms after detox
There isn’t a guarantee that you will experience no withdrawal symptoms if you go through a rapid detox. Though the program might ease you through the worst of the symptoms, many people still experience aches and nausea for several days afterward. The process has been shown to have potential cardiovascular complications. Because of this, it is not recommended for anyone who has heart issues. It’s also not a good idea for people who have compromised liver function. If you have been using alcohol and opioids for a long period of time, your body might also have a bad reaction to anesthesia. You might not be strong enough to be anesthetized.
There is also the possibility that there will be complications for your mental health. Most drug addicts also have an underlying mental illness, even if it hasn’t been diagnosed. If you use alcohol to self-medicate, this will complicate your ability to treat your mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. If you want to learn more about your alcohol detox options, we’re available. Call 772-266-5320 to speak with a counselor about your concerns and needs right now.