Drinking alcohol has become so normalized that entire sitcoms are based around friends spending time at a bar. Media has normalized teenage drinking to a point that the majority of people have tried alcohol before finishing high school. Although alcoholism is passed down through genetics, anyone can get this started. Turning to alcohol at an early age often leads to developing alcoholism over time, even if the early use is very limited. Naturally, the sooner this is caught, the better. But, once you realize that you’re physically addicted to booze, it’s often during the early phases of the alcohol detox process that you cave.
Summary of Expectations During Detox
Detox is more than just a hangover. Detox, is the withdrawal symptom period that only happens if the body has become addicted to alcohol. What to expect in the future includes:
- Alcohol Cravings. The first thing that an addicted body will do is increase the desire to consume it. This craving enhances by wishing to reduce the physical symptoms of withdrawal and the desire to experience intoxication.
- Mood Changes. Detox takes a toll on the body, which is a drain on the mood. It is a see-saw effect from the body adjusting to the mood-elevating effects of alcohol having exhausted the feel-good chemicals from the brain.
- Sleep Issues. Detox provides a combination of fatigue and insomnia.
- Nausea. Even past the hangover, the body will purge the contents of the stomach.
- Agitation. People detoxing often feel agitated. This is induced by the heartbeat increasing and the body perspiring. This is often (when factoring in other symptoms) misconstrued to be signs of a cold or flu.
- Hallucinations. If the addiction is severe enough, a patient may experience visual or auditory hallucinations.
Some symptoms only appear during particular periods of detox, some may overlap or even compound as the alcohol detox process passes.
What is the Alcohol Detox Process?
Symptoms of detox can commence as early as two hours from the last drink. The exact experience of the alcohol detox process will be different for each person, but it can generally be outlined as below.
- 6 to 12 hours. Symptoms are generally mild and include headaches, anxiety, nausea, shaking, and irritability.
- Day One. The previous symptoms become more severe and get accompanied by disorientation and hand tremors.
- Day Two. With the previous issues compounding, the worst will continue into this period which may add hallucinations and panic attacks.
- Days Three to Seven. Various symptoms will come and go. The most life-threatening conditions, such as delirium tremens (the DTs), are at their highest risk during this period. Almost 30 percent of those who get the DTs will develop aspiration pneumonia.
- After One Week. The worst of the symptoms should be passed, and the lingering ones are tapering off. Minor symptoms may last for a few weeks.
Even after the worst is over, severe addictions may lead to post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) – a prolonged period of detox.
Reducing Withdrawal Pains
There are a variety of medications that are available to reduce the symptoms experienced during detox. These can include:
- Benzodiazepines. These calm the central nervous system, which helps with insomnia, anxiety and muscle spasms.
- Naltrexone. This helps reduce alcohol cravings and inhibits feelings of inebriation if one consumes alcohol.
- Disulfiram. This works as a deterrent by inducing undesirable reactions if someone consumes alcohol while taking this medication. Such a combination can result in nausea, headache, or feeling flushed.
Seek Help Today
Serenity House Detox & Recovery Houston can offer help for a family struggling with alcoholism in a loved one. If your drinking is having terrible effects on the lives of those closest to you, you should consider clinical detox as an option for recovery and treatment. There are multiple treatment options, including:
- Outpatient treatment so you can live at home
- Residential treatment programs so you can live on campus
- Different therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy
Call us today at 866.516.8356 to discuss your options for detox and treatment. You and your loved ones will benefit from you being in a better mental and emotional place.