Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking due to withdrawal symptoms, but alcohol detox is the first step in treating your drinking problem/s.
Q 1 – How long will my detox take?
People ask, how long after I quit drinking will it take for my body to return to normal?
The Answer, 48-72 hours after your last drink, but this is not the finish of your detox.
For the majority, the symptoms of withdrawal will begin to subside after 48-72 hours, allowing you to function more normally and manage your ongoing issues with alcohol.
But your body will remain in stress for at least a week and most people will spend that time in hospital or at home in bed with medical supervision.
Q 2 – Will detox fix my drinking problem?
Your problems will be far from fixed after detox, especially the first few days as you will be tired, confused, and generally unwell during that period.
The truth is that alcohol is a drug that changes your body’s chemistry, and it takes a good period for the body to come good after abuse.
And symptoms appear after detox such as poor memory can last for months.
But detox is a necessary first step – and an important step, allowing you to reflect on your drinking issues – while you are sober.
Q 3 – Is it worthwhile getting sober?
Getting sober has too much upside to be ignored, so educate yourself on what to expect immediately after detox to help make the road ahead easier for you (and your loved ones).
Alcohol is a depressant that your body begins to rely on over the months and years of drinking.
Your brain eventually stops producing certain chemicals that it receives from alcohol, becoming dependent on the drug.
That’s why when you quit drinking, it takes time for your body to adjust and this is what causes withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, ‘the shakes’, irregular heartbeat, and hallucinations.
Funny isn’t it – that a legal drug can have one of the longest and most difficult ‘come downs’ compared to other drugs.
Q 4 – What should I expect during my detox
During this time, alcohol is completely flushed from your body.
Withdrawal symptoms typically subside within approximately 1-2 weeks after starting detox; however, this could take longer depending on the severity of your addiction.
From there, you will be able to focus on other aspects of the recovery process such as different activities, therapies, counselling, and support options.
Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking because they’re nervous about the withdrawal symptoms experienced during alcohol detox.
While some people may only be affected by minor effects of alcoholism, others may face extreme pain.
Withdrawal symptoms can change quickly and aggressively, which is why it’s important to detox under the care of medical professionals. Treatment professionals at a alcohol rehab facility will be able to help you manage your pain with different medications. This allows you to focus on your recovery and get better.
Q 5 What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Detox
The alcohol detox phase can involve withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild intensity to life-threatening.
Oftentimes, the longevity and severity of your alcohol use disorder (AUD) will play a role in the withdrawal symptoms you experience.
For example, individuals who have struggled with years of heavy drinking are more likely to develop serious withdrawal symptoms like seizures or delirium tremors.
Minor symptoms of alcohol detox include:
More serious alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms are:
- Extreme hallucinations
- Delirium tremors (in rare cases)
Although uncommon, the most serious effect from alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremors. It can start within two to five days after your last drink and can be life-threatening.
Q 6 Should I Detox in hospital?
Due to the severity of some withdrawal symptoms, alcohol detox should be monitored by a medical professional, whether in hospital, in alcohol rehab, or at home.
This is especially true for those who have a other medical conditions, as withdrawal symptoms can quickly worsen.
A Doctor with adequate supports will be able to track your blood pressure and heart rate to make sure your condition doesn’t worsen. You can also talk with them about the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as if you are in any pain.
Q 7 What should I expect during Detox
Here’s a breakdown of the alcohol detox process:
First Six to Twelve Hours
The initial symptoms of alcohol detox are mild but can quickly begin to worsen as time goes on. Some of the early withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, shaking, nausea, and irritability.
As you approach the end of the first 24 hours of detox, symptoms may become increasingly severe. Alongside the effects felt from the first 12 hours, additional symptoms may involve disorientation, hand tremors and seizures.
Like the first full day of detox, the most painful symptoms will continue into the second day. Hallucinations and panic attacks are common during this time as your body rids alcohol from its system.
Days Three to Seven
For the remainder of your first week in detox, different withdrawal symptoms may come and go. This is also the timeframe where you’re most at risk for life-threatening symptoms such as delirium tremens.
After One Week
By the time you’ve completed your first week of detox, many of the withdrawal symptoms will begin to taper off. While some symptoms may persist for a few weeks, most of them are minor and can be treated with medication.
Even after the most serious withdrawal symptoms have lessened, some people may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) – the prolonged symptoms of detox. Generally, these symptoms include anxiety, low energy, trouble sleeping and delayed reflexes, and can last from several months to a year.
Alcohol Detox Timeline Summary
The most uncomfortable detox withdrawal symptoms usually peak around 10-30 hours after the last drink and start to lessen by 40-50 hours.
Although delirium tremens is unlikely, roughly 30% of those who get it will also develop Aspiration Pneumonia. A medically assisted withdrawal helps prevent serious complications, keeps track of a patient’s health condition, and relieves any painful effects.
The Time for Help Is Now
Seeking help for alcohol use disorder is a huge step toward sobriety. That’s why the decision on where to get treatment should not be taken lightly.
Good luck and DO NOT START THIS JOURNEY without the support of your doctor or a appropriate healthcare professional from your local hospital or Emergency Department.
Release My Super specialises in the release of superannuation for drug and alcohol detox, rehab, mental health treatment, and IVF under the Compassionate Release of Super Program.
Mental health does not discriminate and impacts like a ripple in the water. Get help!