If you’re one of the millions who suffer with a substance abuse disorder, you may be trying to stop. The fear of withdrawal symptoms keeps many people from stopping. In addition, some wrongfully assume the only dangerous withdrawal symptoms are from drugs.
This is not true. The physical and psychological withdrawal from alcohol can be as agonizing as virtually any drug. Alcohol withdrawal can kill you. The withdrawal symptoms and length of time are different. There are various factors that determine the severity and length of alcohol withdrawal.
The only way to safely avoid the dangerous consequences of alcohol withdrawal is to enter a detox. But how many days should you be in alcohol detox? Let’s look at some symptoms and timeframes for alcohol detox.
Alcohol Detox Overview
The American Medical Association recommends using alcohol in moderation. However, alcohol is an addictive drug. Once you cross the line into alcoholism, stopping abruptly can have dangerous consequences.
The period of alcohol withdrawal is different depending upon a number of factors. The years of abuse can exacerbate these symptoms. However, even short-term alcoholics can experience agonizing effects from withdrawal.
The amount of alcohol consumed on a regular basis is a better determining of the length of alcohol detox. It’s this sudden stopping that causes the most problems. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.
Because of the potentially dangerous consequences of withdrawal, a medically supervised detox period is strongly recommended. Both the physical and psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will occur an alcohol suddenly stops or drastically reduces the amount.
Most of the symptoms, both physical and psychological, are caused by the altering effects prolonged alcohol abuse has on the brain. This is why longtime alcoholics often experience the excruciating agony of Delirium Tremens. These alterations to your brain activity can be subtle.
Most alcoholics never notice any change. However, when you stop, your deprived brain can react violently. The research on the effects of alcohol on our brain in relation to withdrawal symptoms is ongoing.
However, the medical profession insists that the only way to safeguard against the dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms is through detox. Let’s look at some symptoms, their timeframe, and why detox is important.
Alcohol Withdrawal Stages and Detox Timeframe
It is important to keep in mind that the stages of alcohol withdrawal, including the timeframe for detox, can be different. However, these are the medically recognized symptoms you may experience, and how long you might expect these symptoms to last.
The first stage of alcohol withdrawal can seem mild. You may associate many of these symptoms with the common hangover. However, stage one alcohol withdrawal will begin to push you closer to a dangerous level.
First stage symptoms include headaches and nausea. You may begin to experience increasingly harsher gastrointestinal problems the longer you abuse alcohol. This stage includes problems sleeping that may help trigger shakiness, even tremors.
Most first stage symptoms begin to appear roughly eight-hours after your last drink. As you move into the second stage of alcohol withdrawal, the physical danger can become worse. Second stage symptoms include heart palpitations and increased blood pressure.
Combined, these symptoms can quickly become a medical emergency. During the second stage of alcohol withdrawal, you may become disorientated and confused. The first stage symptoms may get worse as well.
Your breathing can become abnormal, and you will experience hot flashes and cold sweats. It is this critical second stage when your body is trying to tell you that something is horribly wrong. Most of the second stage of alcohol withdrawal symptoms will be fully evident within 24-hours of your last drink.
The third stage of alcohol withdrawal is when your life could be in danger. Many of the moderate second stage symptoms will persist. Third stage alcohol withdrawal symptoms are often triggered by failing to address the early withdrawal warning signs in the first and second stages.
Once you cross the line into the more serious third stage symptoms, your life may be in danger. Third stage alcohol withdrawal may include terrible feelings of disorientation, dizziness and fainting. You may experience both visual and auditory hallucinations.
During the third stage of alcohol withdrawal, you may experience dangerous seizures. The most pronounced symptoms of third stage alcohol withdrawal are Delirium Tremens. Once you venture this far into alcohol withdrawal, you must be hospitalized.
It is very common to go from second stage withdrawal symptoms to third stage alcohol withdrawal within minutes. This is an important reason why medically supervised alcohol detox is so strongly recommended.
Most symptoms from the third stage of alcohol withdrawal will intensify between 24 and 72 hours after your last drink. With proper medical supervision, you will begin to gradually recover after about three-days.
However, the exact timeframe for alcohol withdrawal varies. There are different factors that a trained professional will consider. The amounts of alcohol consumed, and the duration of the heavy drinking, are critical.
Under medical supervision, physical and mental health issues can also be monitored. While rare, some alcoholics experience constantly reoccurring withdrawal-like symptoms for many weeks. Sleep problems and dramatic mood changes are the most common.
Some symptoms can last for months. However, with proper medical supervision, you can detox safely. Once the detox period is complete, and you are out of medical danger, you can begin to understand why you may need help with your drinking problems.
Some never make it into detox. They either suffer through a miserable life, or die as a result of the dangerous withdrawal symptoms of alcohol. You don’t have to be one of the unfortunates. There is help. All you need to do is ask. If you feel you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol, don’t wait.
Reach out for help today. There is a solution, and that solution is found in recovery. People are ready to help endure the agonizing experience of alcohol withdrawal, and then help you to never go back there again. Reach out for help today at 833-820-2922.