Detoxing from alcohol is a necessary step in rehab. Detox gives you a chance to clean out your system, allowing your body to heal slowly. It is both a physical and mental process in which you experience withdrawal symptoms and severe cravings.
While detoxing from alcohol can be challenging, it is also rewarding. When you complete this step, you will feel better physically, and your mind will be clearer. You will be ready to enter outpatient rehab and continue your treatment plan. Without detox, recovery is not possible.
Jump to Section
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The most challenging part of detox is suffering through withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the changes that your body goes through when you suddenly stop drinking. This time is also when your body begins to heal and function without the drug. Withdrawal produces side effects such as:
Anxiety, nausea, constant headaches, inability to sleep, or tremors
A rise in body temperature, sweating, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, disorientation, depression, drastic mood swings
Delirium tremens, impaired vision, hallucinations, seizures, angry outbursts, medical emergencies
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are different for each person. Symptoms depend on how long you’ve been drinking, how much you drink, and if you mix alcohol with drugs.
Timeline for Detoxing from Alcohol
Most alcohol withdrawal symptoms start to surface within 48 hours after you take your last drink. A standard timeline includes:
Six to 12 Hours
At first, you may experience some agitation or anxiety. This anxiety is mainly due to not being able to drink and your fear or hesitation in rehab. You will also experience headaches or stomach problems. Tremors are also common within the first 12 hours.
12 to 24 Hours
Moderate withdrawal symptoms begin to occur. You may become disoriented or experience some hallucinations. Severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, are also possible. Some clients experience hand tremors during the first day.
48 to 72 Hours
Withdrawal symptoms peak by the third day. That day is when you may feel extreme discomfort. Common symptoms include seizures, insomnia, high blood pressure, hallucinations, fever, and delirium tremens. However, you may require medical attention for the worst symptoms.
What Is Delirium Tremens?
Detoxing from alcohol may induce delirium tremens, the most severe form of withdrawal symptoms. There are several signs of delirium tremens, including:
- Begging for sympathy
- Heart problems
- Severe anxiety and depression
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Non-stop vomiting and feeling sick
Delirium tremens usually occurs in the worst cases of alcoholism, where a person has been binge-drinking for several years. Delirium tremens can last up to ten days after your last drink.
Treatment During Detox
Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. For this reason, you should never attempt it alone. Detox treatment centers provide a safe environment where you can receive the care you need from licensed professionals. Treatment centers offer comfortable facilities, medication-assisted treatment, and 24/7 monitoring.
Staff is always on hand to help you if you need medical attention. You receive the support you need to get through this difficult time. With the help of professionals, you are more likely to complete detox successfully. Once you get clean, you are ready to transition into rehab.
Start Your Treatment Today at Northern Illinois Recovery
Northern Illinois Recovery offers comprehensive care for alcohol addiction. For instance, we provide detox, rehab, and aftercare to ensure long-term recovery. To find out more about detoxing from alcohol and your treatment options, contact us at 855.786.1978. We can answer your questions, discuss your treatment, and get you started with detox. At Northern Illinois Recovery, we are here to help you get on the road to recovery.
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.