The longer a person abuses an addictive substance, such as alcohol, the worse their alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically are once they stop using. Although withdrawal is often uncomfortable, many people get through it without serious health problems.
However, people dependent on drinking, especially those who have used long-term, can have severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Knowing this is what sometimes prevents someone from getting help. Just thinking about withdrawal causes anxiety, but going through the detox process can be a lifesaver.
The Importance of Detox
Detoxification, or detox, is ridding the body of all addictive substances or toxins. It’s the first step toward recovering from addiction. Detox isn’t a long process, but it’s imperative.
A person can’t successfully rehab if they’re still using. Their mental and physical states won’t be in the proper condition to process the rehab experience. Detoxing in a qualified facility is the recommended course of treatment, as trying to detox at home (without medical supervision) can be dangerous.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
If the thought of an uncomfortable — even painful — detox has kept you from seeking treatment, you’re probably wondering how long it takes for alcohol to leave your body. Maybe you’ve even tried detox before, only to relapse when the symptoms become unbearable. Here’s an overview of what to expect during alcohol withdrawal.
A typical timeline for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal looks like this:
- Several hours after the last drink: The shakes may start about eight hours or so after taking that last drink. A person will feel anxious and may be hot and sweaty. Nausea and confusion are also common.
- The first one to three days is when alcohol withdrawal symptoms are the most intense. Some people experience severe symptoms, such as delirium tremens (the DTs) or hallucinations. Other milder symptoms include irritability and increased respiration.
- After the first week: Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will gradually subside. Once seven days have passed since the last drink, most people feel much better physically. However, that doesn’t mean a person is “cured.” What it means is that he’s ready for the next phase of recovery.
Someone who abuses alcohol for years or decades can have severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, some of which are life-threatening. They shouldn’t attempt at-home detox due to alcohol detox symptoms. Many facilities can help a person go through the detox process safely and comfortably. Depending on the detox center, clients may receive medical assistance in easing the worst of their symptoms.
What to Expect After Alcohol Detox
After a person has detoxed from alcohol, they’ll be ready to start the next phase of treatment, which is typically inpatient or outpatient rehab. During rehab, a person will work on the root causes of their addiction and develop tools to help them stay sober.
Rehab looks different for everyone, as each person has unique experiences, needs, and goals. However, the general purpose of rehab is to help a person develop a healthy lifestyle and build a strong support system to maintain sobriety.
Some aspects of post-detox include:
- Inpatient vs. outpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment requires a person to live at the rehab facility for the duration of their program, typically 30, 60, or 90 days. Outpatient treatment allows a person to live at home and come to the facility for therapy and other treatments during the day.
- Group and individual therapy: During group therapy, clients meet with a therapist and others in recovery to discuss their experiences and challenges. Individual therapy is similar but just between the client and the therapist.
- Addiction education: Addiction education is a critical component of treatment, as it helps clients understand the disease of addiction and how it affects them personally. This knowledge can empower clients to make healthy choices and avoid triggers.
Aftercare planning: Once a person completes rehab, they’ll need a plan for staying sober. This may include continued therapy, 12-step meetings, or other support groups.
Staying sober after rehab requires hard work and dedication. A big part of maintaining sobriety is having a solid aftercare plan.
A Place to Heal
Are you tired of the damage that alcohol addiction does to you or a loved one? You can leave drug and alcohol abuse behind with help from a qualified treatment facility like Memphis Recovery Center.
You’re an individual, and you deserve treatment that addresses your specific needs. Our compassionate, dedicated staff believes in treating each client as a unique person. We work hard to personalize treatment, so everyone receives the most appropriate care.
The recovery programs we offer include:
- Alcohol rehab
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Youth treatment program
- Family therapy program
Addiction touches more than the person using. It also impacts her family members. Our facility provides a strong family therapy component, which allows you and your loved ones to heal together. You can get the education and support you need as you progress in your recovery.
Don’t let alcohol withdrawal symptoms scare you away from recovery. You and your loved ones deserve a healthy, happy you, and we’re ready to partner with you on your road to recovery. Call us at 866.304.8254 for more information.