The diagnosis of alcoholism is typically followed by a visit to an alcohol detox facility. What exactly happens during this procedure?
This guide walks you through the three phases involved with detoxification from alcohol. It includes withdrawal symptoms, how they occur, the substances used to treat them, the drugs that can be utilized to reduce cravings and self-care resources once you’ve arrived at the detox center. It also contains some specifics on what to expect after leaving the alcohol detox facility.
The ravages of alcoholism on mind & Body
Alcohol has been enjoyed by societies throughout the world for centuries and overindulged in by many who believe it can relieve anxiety or stress brought on from the stresses of daily life.
Although there isn’t a “cure” for alcoholism but removing yourself from it is an essential initial step towards sobriety. A patient’s goal while undergoing alcohol detox isn’t just to rid his or her system of all traces of alcohol, but also to know how to stay abstinence-free for the foreseeable future.
Alcohol Detoxification is difficult
Many people who are dependent on alcohol have a difficult time trying to stop drinking being fully aware of the consequences.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol can be quite severe. They may include seizures and delirium (DTs). It is a potentially life-threatening condition which often requires hospitalization. There are some who be afflicted with hallucinations, psychosis, or psychosis withdrawal. This could be dangerous should it not be treated by a medical professional.
Individuals who are at high danger of developing DTs are advised not to detox by themselves. They should avoid changing between care levels unless they have been advised by a physician. The detox process should only be conducted within a secure and controlled setting like an alcohol detox center. Patients can get constant assistance and supervision.
Three phases of alcohol detox are common: Withdrawal (PAWS) Protracted withdrawal (PAWS) or withdrawal.
The first two phases last for approximately one week. But the third phase can often last weeks or even years after an alcohol user stops drinking. PAWS symptoms are fatigue and mood swings, insomnia, sleep problems, fatigue, concentration problems, irritation, and mood swings. A lot of former drinkers must alter their lives to cope with these symptoms , and seek support from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/or psychotherapy.
Understanding Alcohol Detox Phases: A Timeline
After quitting drinking, it’s possible to experience post-acute withdrawal signs (PAWS) within a few hours. The condition can last up to a couple of weeks.
The first stage of detoxification can last from two to three weeks. It is marked with severe psychological withdrawal symptoms like depression, insomnia, and anxiety. These symptoms generally disappear within 48 hours, but in some cases , they could last for up to five days. The physical component of detox starts at this point as well; people undergoing alcohol detox might experience nausea, tremors, vomiting, fever and chills. But, these symptoms usually only last for several hours in the maximum.
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The main goal for a patient during the process of detoxing from alcohol isn’t just to rid their body of any trace of alcohol but also to discover how to remain abstinence for the future. A detox center will provide patients with monitoring 24 hours a day and supervision while detoxing to ensure their security.
While withdrawal symptoms may be extreme for certain patients, withdrawal symptoms are generally not dangerous provided they are treated properly.
After the alcohol detox process is completed heavy drinkers generally undergo an “rehab” or post acute withdrawal stage that can last for weeks or months following the cessation of drinking, depending on how quickly the person adjusts to life without alcohol. Some may have signs of withdrawal from earlier ones, for instance, insomnia and irritability. There is also the possibility of experiencing cravings for alcohol.
Treatment programs typically consist of the group therapy of other recovering alcoholics and individual sessions with a therapist who is trained in addiction medicine. The treatments have been shown to greatly increase recovery rates over time.
People who are addicted to alcohol may experience withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly stop drinking following a period of intense intoxication, prescription medication or other drugs. It is important for people seeking to stop drinking to know the signs, symptoms , and consequences of withdrawal in order to limit the risk of the abrupt stop of drinking. But, there are individuals who require medical attention during alcohol detox, especially when their addiction has been going for years.