Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in the United States today. Millions of Americans can safely enjoy alcohol without using too much or engaging in risky behavior. Yet numerous people struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol. The outcome for many of these people is alcohol use disorder (AUD). The best way to begin recovering from AUD is by undergoing alcohol detox.
It is possible to complete alcohol detox at home, though often the safest and best option is to seek alcohol detox through a trusted AUD treatment provider. Contact Gulf Breeze Recovery at 833.551.2304 to learn more about alcohol detox.
What Is Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detox is the process of eliminating alcohol from the body. The process can take four or five days, though withdrawal symptoms may last longer in cases of more severe AUD. The most challenging part of alcohol detox for most people is the withdrawal symptoms. Most people undergoing alcohol detox crave alcohol and are tempted to use it. Uncomfortable physical symptoms typically exacerbate these cravings.
The most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms are:
Trying alcohol detox at home is sometimes inadvisable because severe withdrawal symptoms can occur. These are rarer than mild symptoms but can still happen, especially in cases where drinking behavior was excessive or carried on for an extended period. Perilous alcohol withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs).
How to Detox from Alcohol
The alcohol detox process is straightforward. If you undergo detox at a treatment facility, they will provide medical support and monitoring during detox. One thing that distinguishes alcohol detox from other types of detox is that medications can often make it easier to undergo. Examples of drugs used in alcohol detox include benzodiazepines and neuroleptics. More specific options include naltrexone and disulfiram.
Benzodiazepines are often used during alcohol detox to reduce the risk of seizures. Neuroleptics work similarly by tamping down the risk of seizures. They also tend to help with anxiety and irritability resulting from alcohol detox. Meanwhile, both naltrexone and disulfiram are less used early in the detox process but can be implemented to help keep cravings low. Each medication also helps people avoid future drinking as they provoke adverse side effects when a person does drink. These side effects are negative reinforcement that helps people maintain sobriety after completing alcohol detox.
Timeline of Detoxing from Alcohol
What does alcohol detox look like? The timeline is outlined below, from initial withdrawal symptoms to the first few days.
Most people with an alcohol use disorder experience some withdrawal symptoms about six hours after their last alcohol drink. For people with a history of extremely heavy drinking, this early period is also when they are more at risk for seizures.
12 Hours to the End of the First Day
Withdrawal symptoms continue through the rest of the first day. Some people may experience hallucinations at some point during the first day of alcohol detox.
24 to 48 Hours
Many people experience the peak of their withdrawal symptoms between the 24- and 48-hour mark. For milder AUDs, withdrawal symptoms may begin tapering off after this period.
48 to 72 Hours
This window during alcohol detox is when people with severe AUDs are most at risk of DTs. As one of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms, DTs involves elevated heart rate, fever, and potential seizures.
72 Hours and After
The start of day three and onward is when people may begin to feel better. However, people with severe AUDs may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for up to a month.
Complete Alcohol Detox at Gulf Breeze Recovery
Are you in need of alcohol detox? Contact 833.551.2304 to learn how to detox from alcohol safely.