Detoxing from Alcohol
Entering an alcohol detox center is one of the most important steps which one can take to better their lives. Alcohol is one of the more difficult and dangerous substances to detox from, and the length of time spent in an alcohol detox can vary from person to person. A variety of factors come into play when determining the length of time one will spend in a detox center. The thought of putting responsibilities, like work, bills, and family obligations to the side for a period of time can prevent some from getting the help they so desperately need. Some of those struggling with alcohol abuse issues will use these responsibilities as an excuse as to why they cannot seek help from a detox or rehab center. Life is always happening, there will never be a time when those obligations are not there, the best time to enter a medical detox center is always now.
When one who is struggling with alcohol abuse continues to drink and avoids entering an alcohol detox they are only digging themselves deeper into the endless hole that is alcoholism. Detox is necessary and avoiding it will only intensify and prolong the withdrawal symptoms. One must rid their body of the toxins that have built up while they drank in excess. Regular abuse of alcohol disrupts the brain’s natural chemistry and creates a serious imbalance. The brain will not return itself to normal overnight, this takes time. While in a detox facility one will have the help of medical professionals who can give them certain medications to help the minimize withdrawals while the brain repairs itself.
Alcohol Withdrawl Symptoms
Without proper medication, those who are struggling with alcohol abuse disorder will face a variety of physically painful and mentally draining withdrawal symptoms. In severe cases, one can actually die from alcohol withdrawal if they are not under proper medical supervision. Entering a medically supervised alcohol detox is imperative for anyone who experiences any level of alcohol withdrawal. The severity of one’s symptoms and the length of time which they occur will vary from individual to individual. One can spend anywhere from five days to two weeks detoxing from alcohol.
Anyone who consumes large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis will face the same symptoms with varying levels of severity. Those who drink massive amounts of alcohol for an extended period of time will incur some additional withdrawals, once again, these will vary in intensity from person to person. Alcohol withdrawal has been broken down into three stages by medical professionals. Stage one being the least severe and stage three being the most severe.
Stage One Alcohol Withdrawal
Most people who abuse alcohol regularly will experience stage one alcohol withdrawals. These people can begin to feel withdrawals beginning in as little as 12 hours after their last drink. Symptoms will get more intense and prevalent as time passes, reaching peak severity around day three through day seven.
Anyone who is going through stage one of alcohol withdrawals will experience these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Numbness and tingling in fingers, toes, chest, and joints
- Muscle pain and discomfort
- Muscle tremors
- Watering eyes
This stage typically takes place for the first two or three days of the detox, without medication it is obvious how unpleasant it can be to face these sensations head-on. For those who consume larger quantities of alcohol, this stage can also include touch, auditory, and visual hallucinations.
Stage Two Alcohol Withdrawal
Not everyone who goes through stage one of alcohol withdrawal will also go through stage two, but anyone who goes through stage two will also have to experience stage one symptoms. Stage two alcohol withdrawal symptoms will appear within one to three days after the user’s last drink. Approximately 70% of heavy drinkers will go through stage two. This stage is exceptionally terrifying because there is a high potential for a seizure to occur. A full-body, grand mal seizure can occur which can cause the brain or heart to fail which can result in death is a possibility. Stage two also includes:
- High blood pressure
- Confusion, which can lead to intense fear
- Restless legs
- Profuse sweating
Stage Three Alcohol Withdrawal
Around 33% of people who experience go through stage two of alcohol withdrawal will also enter stage three. Stage three is the most intense and dangerous stage. Anyone at risk of experiencing these symptoms should be under the direct supervision of trained medical staff and must receive proper medication to ensure their safety. These withdrawals are very intense, very dangerous, and absolute torture for the person struggling. This stage is noted by delirium tremens or DTs. DT’s are significant and must be treated as such. Delirium Tremens can easily be fatal when proper medication is not administered. The symptoms from stages one and two will still occur, but there will be additional discomforts on top of them. Common symptoms of DTs include:
- Delirious mental state
- Involuntary nervous system instability.
- Increased body temperature
- Intense auditory, touch, and visual hallucinations
- Memory loss
- Intense confusion
- Grand-mal seizures
How Long is Detox
The main factor which determines the length of time spent in an alcohol detox program is how much that person was drinking on a regular basis. When someone consumes a liter of vodka a day for five years they will experience far more intense withdrawals when compared to someone who drinks a six-pack every night. This is not to say that the person who consumes six beers on a daily basis will not have painful withdrawals, but chances are, they will not be as severe as someone who drinks more than them.
The drinker’s age, height, weight, physical health, and mental health also play a serious role. Someone in their early 20’s who has been abusing alcohol for a few months will not experience the same level of severity as a 65-year-old who has been abusing alcohol for decades. Even if these two individuals were drinking the same amount of alcohol, the older person would face a more intense and dangerous detox. Younger bodies just bounce back faster. This is the same for someone who is in peak physical condition compared to someone who is morbidly obese. The person who is in better health will have an easier time detoxing than someone who lives a more sedimentary lifestyle.
When someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse disorder admits that they have a problem and are willing to do something about it, it is crucial that they receive it. Every day that passes in which they do not get help the harder it will become for them to stop. Not only that, that willingness to better their lives can come and go in a short period of time. Detoxing from alcohol is the first step toward breaking free of its powerful grip. Once detox is completed, most professionals agree that the client should continue their care in some type of rehab center.
Getting Help for Alcoholism
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse disorder and would like to know more about alcohol withdrawal and the length of alcohol detox, please contact our toll-free line at any time. A specialist is always standing by ready to help you however they can. Calls are always confidential and free of charge. One of our substance abuse specialists can even help you locate a local alcohol detox center in your area. No one should ever have to try and overcome alcohol withdrawals alone, not only is it very difficult and rarely successful, but it is also very dangerous. Please seek out the professional help you need and deserve. A better life might just be a phone call away.