A visit to an alcohol detox facility is typically needed following a diagnosis of alcoholism. What happens during this process?
This guide will walk you through the three phases that are associated with alcohol detox. It includes withdrawal symptoms, their duration, are treated, the medications used for treating them, the medications that can be used to avoid cravings as well as self-care options once you arrive at the facility. There is also some information regarding what happens following the departure of the alcohol detox facility.
The Physical and Mental Effects of Alcoholism on the Mind and body
Alcohol is a popular drink in societies around the world for centuries and overindulged in by many who believe it can relieve anxiety or stress caused from the stresses of daily life.
While there is no “cure” for alcoholism however, a process of detoxing is a vital first step towards sobriety. The purpose of an alcohol detox patient is not just to cleanse their body of alcohol, but also find out how they can continue to abstain in the future.
It is difficult to Alcohol Detox
Many people who are addicted to alcohol find it difficult to quit drinking, even being fully aware of the negative consequences.
The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can be very severe and result in seizures or delirium (DTs), a life-threatening condition that typically requires hospitalization. Certain people might be afflicted with hallucinations, psychosis, or psychosis withdrawal. This could be dangerous when it isn’t treated by a trained professional.
Someone at risk of DTs should not attempt to detox by themselves. They should stay clear of changing from one stage of care unless medically required to do so. The only way to detoxify is in a controlled and safe environment like an alcohol detox center. Patients can get constant support and supervision.
Three phases of detoxification from alcohol are common: withdrawal (PAWS) Protracted withdrawal (PAWS) or withdrawal.
The first two phases usually last for about a week however, the third phase may take several months or even years after an alcoholic stops drinking. The signs of PAWS include mood swings, cravings, fatigue, sleep problems, tension and concentration issues. Many former alcohol addicts have to alter their lifestyle to accommodate the symptoms they experience as they seek support from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/or psychotherapy.
Understanding Alcohol Detox Phases: A Timeline
After quitting drinking, it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of post-acute withdrawal (PAWS) within hours. This could last as long as a couple of weeks.
The first stage of detoxification for alcohol can last between 2 to 3 days and is marked by intense psychological withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and depression. The symptoms typically disappear after 24 hours, but in some cases , they could last up to five days. The physical aspect of detox begins during this time as well; people undergoing alcohol detox may experience tremors, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. However, these symptoms typically are only for a couple of hours in the maximum.
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The objective of an alcohol detox patient is not only to detox their body of alcohol, but also to understand ways to avoid drinking in the future. A detox center provides patients with 24-hour monitoring and supervision throughout their detox process to ensure their safety.
Although withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe for some patients, they are not usually dangerous when they are properly treated.
Former heavy drinkers typically undergo the “rehab” stage, or post-acute withdrawal after having completed the alcohol detox. The duration can range from several weeks to a few months, depending upon how quickly they adapt to life without alcohol. They might still experience some effects of their previous withdrawals for instance, insomnia and irritability. In addition, they’ll likely experience Alcohol cravings.
Most treatment programs include individual counseling sessions in conjunction with an addiction medicine therapist as well as group therapy for recovering alcoholics. These programs have been found to dramatically increase the rate of recovery over time.
People who are addicted to alcohol will often experience withdrawal symptoms after they abruptly stop drinking following a period of high intoxication, prescribed medications, or other drugs. It is essential for those who want to quit drinking understand the indicators, symptoms and consequences of withdrawal to reduce the risks associated with discontinuing drinking abruptly. Certain people might require medical assistance for detoxing from alcohol, particularly if they have been addicted for a lengthy period of time.