Alcohol Detox & Withdrawal Symptoms

a woman talking to her doctor about her experience at an alcohol detox programAlcohol withdrawal symptoms can be one of the most severe detoxes depending on how heavily the abuser used alcohol. Addicts who didn’t consume that much may experience anxiety, depression, nausea, and sweating. Alcoholics that consumed large amounts of alcohol daily may have mental confusion, severe tremors, delirium, hallucinations, and/or dangerous seizures.

Withdrawal symptoms can start as early as two hours after the last drink and last for weeks. The symptoms can range from mild anxiety to seizures and delirium tremens (DTs), which consist of fever, confusion, and rapid heart beat. It is estimated that 1% to 5% of alcoholics die from DTs. This is why it is important to have a medically supervised detox. Recovery Ways has experienced clinicians to supervise patients and make sure they are ok and reduce the risks of DTs or seizures during detox.

In general, minor symptoms appear within 12 hours after a person stops drinking. The next 12 to 48 hours patients may have auditory, tactile, or visual hallucinations but since they know they aren’t real they are not the same as the hallucinations that come with the DTs. Seizures can start as early as 2 hours after someone stops drinking, but is more likely between 24 -48 hours. DTs usually start between 48-72 hours and the symptoms usually, peak at 5 days. Those who are older, have abnormal liver function, acute medical illness or a history of withdrawal seizures and DTs are more likely to get them.

Are you experiencing alcohol withdrawals and need detox immediately?

Recovery Ways has an excellent alcohol detoxification program that is medically supervised. Contact our admissions coordinators and they will verify your insurance benefits and walk you through every step of the admissions process.

Physical Symptoms

Heavy excessive drinking messes with the brain’s neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that transmit messages. It enhances the effects of the neurotransmitter that produces feelings of calm and relaxation, GABA. However, prolonged use suppresses GABA activity which means the user needs more alcohol to feel the same effects. It also affects the neurotransmitter that produces feelings of excitability, glutamate. When alcoholics stop drinking these neurotransmitters are no longer suppressed and they rebound leading to many symptoms.

Some of the physical symptoms include:
  • Sweating
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Shakiness
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Racing or irregular heartbeat
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
Psychological Symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations (some cannot be distinguished from reality)
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion

Abuse and Addiction Potential

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in America and it can lead to serious destruction. It can cause financial ruin, long-term health effects, criminal activity, injuries, and death. Alcohol is not limited to a specific demographic, everyone young to old, rich to poor, all races, cultures, and genders use alcohol. The National Institution on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimated that 16.6 million American adults had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2013. Alcohol causes a psychological and physical dependence which makes it even harder to stop using especially since it is a legal substance. It is very addictive.

Managing Withdrawal at an Alcohol Detox Center

There are certain drugs that can be prescribed and administered during this time to the patient to help ease some of the withdrawal symptoms depending on their history and addictions. Some benzodiazepines can help control the shakiness, anxiety, confusion, and reduce the risks of seizures and DTs. If the patient also has an addiction to benzos they may be offered carbamazepine instead since it has a lower potential for abuse. There are other medications that can help with different symptoms that will make withdrawing easier for the patient especially with the support offered by Recovery Ways clinicians. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three medications to help reduce alcohol cravings. Acamprosate helps with long-term withdrawal symptoms. Disulfiram makes people sick if they drink, helping to make it less desirable. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and potential rewards that may come from it.

Contact us for Alcohol Addiction Detox & Treatment

If you or a loved one is in need of alcohol detox Recovery Ways can help. Our admission coordinators can review your benefits, provide expert advice on treatment options, and walk you through the entire admission process. If you’re ready to make a change and live a live free of alcohol addiction, we are here.

Contact us here or call 888.986.7848 for more information on admission.