Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can cause life-altering changes in a person. Not only can it impact the person struggling with alcohol abuse, but also loved ones, friends, and even work colleagues. Unfortunately, recovering from alcohol abuse can be extremely difficult. In the beginning, alcohol detox can be painful, but it is extremely important as a first step to treating alcoholism. What happens when you stop drinking?
Alcoholism is a disease that requires treatment, and alcohol detox is often the primary stage to safely and effectively begin a path to long-term recovery. However, you should know that alcohol detox is unsafe without addiction-specific treatment overseen by professional addiction specialists.
Alcohol deaths in Colorado rose 57% between 2005-2018. AspenRidge Recovery offers support for over 80,000 Coloradans currently suffering from alcohol abuse. Learn more about our alcohol recovery program by calling 855-281-5588.
What Happens When you Stop Drinking?
Using alcohol for months or even years can drastically alter how the brain functions, causing imbalances in important chemicals and resulting in dependency. In severe cases, alcohol can permanently damage the brain. Alcohol can produce euphoric feelings and increase dopamine. With time, certain imbalances occur and when detoxing from alcohol, the brain, and other body operations will try to recover to normal function. A sudden stop from regular drinking can impose some physical and emotional problems as the alcohol leaves the system.
The process of the alcohol clearing out of your body is detoxification or detox, while the physical and emotional symptoms during alcohol detox are withdrawal. These make it apprehensive for some people to quit drinking. Detoxifying cannot cure addiction, pattern thoughts, or prompt a person to live without alcohol. However, it helps to navigate the processes of alcohol withdrawal and prepares them to avoid relapse and stay sober.
Alcohol Detox Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal during the detox phase can be dangerous and scary, with various intensity ranges. Some are mild, while others are severe and life-threatening. The severity and longevity of alcohol use and dependency disorder can influence what to expect from your body when you stop drinking. Regardless, detoxing at home can result in severe alcohol withdrawal and death.
Here are some minor and milder symptoms of alcohol detox:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and intense worry
More severe alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme hallucinations
- Consistent confusion and irritation
- Delirium tremens
A medical professional must monitor the process of addressing alcohol addiction and dependence with detoxification, especially when the person experiences more severe withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms can quickly worsen for those with a history of heart or lung diseases or other medical conditions. Therefore, getting treatment specialists to monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, and pains are necessary to ensure their state is not worsening. The medical team relies on the data from these tests to decide on the medicines to relieve discomfort.
Alcohol recovery is extremely important to avoid catastrophic damage to the brain, heart, and overall mental health.
How to Safely Detox from Alcohol
Most people suffering from alcoholism are under the influence leading up to alcohol recovery. If they have not been drinking, they may be experiencing withdrawal. The first action during detoxification is to ensure the person stays safe while becoming sober. There are certain stages of alcohol rehab that should be considered.
The approaches rehab centers take to ensure an intoxicated individual is safe are:
- Tracking vital functions
- Monitoring breathing
- Preventing dehydration
- Keeping constant communication with patients
Withdrawal flushing alcohol out of the system is usually the worst part of the rehab experience, but recovering from addiction requires them to remain sober. Aspenridge Recovery treatment center in Colorado refers people to our trusted detox center partners to ensure the alcohol detox process is safe before entering into our care. The facility may also offer a diet plan of nutritionally rich foods to help clients avoid deficiencies during the withdrawal phase.
Alcohol Detox Timeline
If you’re wondering how long alcohol detox takes, there’s no exact timeline for the symptoms a person experiences. But you can expect the withdrawal symptoms to start surfacing as early as two hours after you stop drinking. The severity of a person’s addiction also influences the length of alcohol detox, but medically-assisted withdrawal can help to avoid complications, relieve painful effects, and monitor the patient’s health.
The peak period of discomfort is within the fort 10 to 30 hours after the last drink. Most painful symptoms will subside within the first week, while the mild ones can last for weeks to months or a year.
Here’s an outline breakdown of what to expect from the alcohol detox process:
Before Twelve Hours:
The beginning of alcohol detox has milder symptoms that can worsen as time passes. Within this period, you may experience headaches shaking, nausea, anxiety, or irritations.
After Day One:
Symptoms can increase in severity after 24 hours of alcohol detox. It doesn’t erase the previous signs from the initial 12 hours. It becomes an additional symptom that may include seizures, hand tremors, and disorientation.
After Day Two:
Day two is similar to the first detox day. The symptoms continue to the second day with panic attacks and hallucinations. During this period, the body flushes all alcohol from the system.
Before Day Seven:
Within the first week of detox, the person can experience more withdrawal symptoms that may and go. During this timeframe, the person can experience more life-threatening events like Aspiration Pneumonia and Delirium Tremens (Less than five percent of people may experience delirium tremens while quitting drinking).
After Seven Days:
Once the first week of detox is over, most withdrawal symptoms are reduced. Remember that the length of time a person endures alcohol detox symptoms differs from others. Some symptoms might still linger for a few more weeks, but after the initial week, most become minor, and treatment with medication helps.
There are post-acute withdrawal syndromes that some may experience even after most serious withdrawal symptoms are reduced. These people must endure prolonged alcohol detox symptoms for several months or a year, such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, delayed reflexes, and low energy.
Importance Of Alcohol Detox
Alcohol detox is critical as a first step in treating alcoholism. It helps to flush the alcohol from the body and prepares the mind for the next stage of therapies, support groups, and counseling sessions. For some, it can go for two weeks or longer for others, depending on their alcohol use disorder severity. The aim remains to relieve the mind of the burden of being dependent and equip patients for the next parts of their life.
The withdrawal symptoms can make anyone nervous about going through the alcohol detox process. But being prepared and getting services from treatment professionals at a rehab facility can ease the process, help manage the pain, and keep your focus on recovery.
AspenRidge Colorado Alcohol Rehab
AspenRidge Recovery is Colorado’s leading alcohol addiction recovery center helping thousands to overcome excessive drinking and alcohol use disorder. Our various programs aim to treat AUD using different approaches, including dual diagnosis therapy, substance misuse help, cognitive therapy, holistic approaches, group therapy, and more. While we don’t offer alcohol detox, we work with Colorado specific detox centers that have medical supervision to help individuals progress in their recovery.
The Joint Commission also certifies our center, and our licensed counselors are trained, specifically, in substance misuse and addiction. We offer the following programs:
We can help guide you through the different stages of alcohol rehab and next steps. It’s also critical to understand that treatment is different for everyone and, therefore, a tailored treatment approach is important. Contact us today for more information about Colorado alcohol rehabilitation at 855-281-5588.