While a person is recovering from alcohol addiction, they may experience some withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, symptoms can be life-threatening. When a person is ready to stop drinking, they should consider seeking professional help to reduce the intensity of their symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about how long it takes to detox from alcohol. We also discuss the signs of addiction, some of the withdrawal symptoms a person may experience during drug withdrawal, and how to deal with these symptoms.
How long does it take?
According to the American Addiction Center, the initial detox process takes about a week. However, a person may find that their symptoms last longer. In most cases, a person can expect the following timeline:
- About 8 hours after the first dose, the first phase of withdrawal symptoms begins.
- After about 24 to 72 hours, symptoms usually peak.
- After about 5 to 7 days, the intensity of symptoms may subside.
- After the first week, some side effects, especially psychological ones, may persist.
The first symptoms include nausea, anxiety, insomnia, and abdominal pain, which tend to appear within 8 hours of the last drink.
Symptoms can include high blood pressure, increased body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and confusion. These symptoms usually begin 24 to 72 hours after the last drink.
Symptoms usually begin about 2-4 days after the last drink and can include fever, seizures, hallucinations, and restlessness.
When detoxification takes place in a medical center, health care professionals often use medication to treat withdrawal symptoms. Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines to control seizures and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
At the rehabilitation center, the health care team will monitor the person’s body temperature, blood pressure, and breathing rate. In some cases, a person may choose to gradually reduce their alcohol intake over several weeks. In these cases, a person should work with a doctor or healthcare provider to develop a schedule they can safely follow to reduce addiction.
If a person detoxifies slowly, they can avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend certain dietary changes or supplements, such as vitamins B-1 (thiamin) and B-9 (folic acid), to help your body cope with reduced alcohol consumption. .
Signs of alcohol addiction
As with other addictions, alcoholism can have a negative impact on a person’s life. Signs of an alcohol use disorder vary from person to person, but they can include:
- drink secretly or alone
- Short-term memory loss
- there is a power failure
- making excuses to drink, such as saying it is to relieve stress or to relax
- extreme mood swings
- change your appearance or friends
- choose to drink because of obligation or responsibility
- hangover even without drinking
- isolation from friends and family
When to ask for help?
A person should seek help if they notice that they or a loved one has symptoms of an alcohol use disorder. Asking for help can be a challenge for someone struggling with addiction. Relatives and friends can help by letting the person know that they are not alone in this struggle.
If a person isn’t sure if they need help, Recovery Worldwide suggests using a tool called CAGE, which is a short questionnaire that healthcare professionals can use to help with screening. filter people for treatment.
If a person can answer yes to two or more questions in CAGE, they should consider seeking treatment.
The CAGE questions are as follows:
- Have you ever thought that you should cut back on your alcohol intake?
- Do people upset you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had an early morning drink to calm your nerves or recover from a hangover?