A visit to an alcohol detox centre is often necessary following the diagnosis of alcoholism. What is the process like?
This guide walks you through the three phases associated with alcohol detox. It includes withdrawal symptoms, how long they last, the drugs used to treat them, medicines that are utilized to reduce cravings as well as self-care options once you have arrived at the center. It also includes some information about what to expect when leaving an alcohol detox center.
Alcoholism’s Toll on Mind & Body
The pleasure of drinking alcohol has been enjoyed by people across the world over the centuries. Many individuals indulge in alcohol to relieve anxiety and stress brought on by the pressures of daily life.
While there is no “cure” for alcoholism however, a process of detoxing is a vital first step toward sobriety. A patient’s goal while undergoing alcohol detox isn’t just to clear his or her system of all trace elements of alcohol but also to discover how to remain abstinence in the future.
The difficulty of Alcohol Detox
A lot of people who are dependent on alcohol find it difficult to stop drinking being fully aware of the consequences.
The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can be quite severe. It can lead to seizures and delirium tremens (DTs). This is a potentially life-threatening condition which often requires hospitalization. There are those who experience hallucinations and psychosis during withdrawal, which can be life-threatening if not handled by a doctor.
People who are at a high risk of developing DTs are advised not to detox by themselves. They should avoid shifting between levels of treatment until they are supervised by a medical professional. Only detoxification should be done within a secure and controlled location such as an alcohol detox center. Patients are provided with constant guidance and support.
Alcohol detox typically happens in three distinct phases: Withdrawal, post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and protracted withdrawal.
The first two phases can last for approximately one week. But the third phase is usually several months or even years following an alcoholic has stopped drinking. Symptoms of PAWS include cravings, mood swings, fatigue, sleep issues, anxiety and lack of concentration. Former alcoholics will need to change their lifestyle in order to deal with these symptoms. They can seek support through organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), therapy, or psychotherapy.
Understanding Alcohol Detox Phases: A Timeline
In the first few hours after quitting drinking, he or she might begin to experience what’s known as post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) an illness which can last for a few weeks or even months following having quit drinking.
The first stage of alcohol detox lasts from two to three days and is characterized by severe physical withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. The signs usually go away within one to two days, however, in certain instances, they may be present for as long as five days. This is when the physical component of detox begins. The people undergoing alcohol detox may have nausea or tremors. However, these signs typically will last only a few hours maximum.
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The objective of patients who undergo an alcohol detox is to not only detox their body of alcohol, but also learn ways to avoid drinking in the future. A detox center will provide patients with 24-hour monitoring and supervision during detox to ensure their safety.
While withdrawal symptoms can be very serious for certain patients they are not usually dangerous if they are treated properly.
After completing alcohol detox individuals who have been heavy drinkers usually begin the “rehab” or post-acute withdrawal phase that can last for weeks or months after quitting, depending on how quickly the individual adjusts to life without alcohol. They might still experience some symptoms from previous withdrawals, like insomnia and irritability. In addition, they will likely experience Alcohol cravings.
Treatment programs typically include groups of therapy with fellow recovering addicts, as well as individual counseling sessions with a therapist trained in addiction therapy. In time, these programs have been proven to significantly increase the rate of recovery.
People who are addicted to alcohol are often afflicted with withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly quit drinking following a period of heavy intoxication, prescribed medication , or any other drug. To limit the risks that come abruptly quitting drinking, it is vital that people who are trying to stop drinking are aware of the signs, signs and effects of withdrawal. Certain people might require medical supervision to detoxify from alcohol especially if they’ve been addicted for an extended period of time.