If you have decided to put down that drink and get clean, you have taken a crucial step on your path to sobriety. Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, Arizona, is here to walk with you on that journey to clean living and freedom from alcohol dependency.
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How Long Does It Take to Detox
The process of ridding the body of toxins, such as alcohol, is called detox. For people with mild to moderate alcoholism, the detoxification process typically starts within eight hours after the last drink but can last up to seven days. For those battling severe addiction, withdrawal can last for two weeks or more.
The length of alcohol detox depends on many factors, including the severity of the individual’s alcoholism. The more severe the alcohol use disorder, the longer the detox process will take.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When you are going through detox from alcohol abuse, withdrawal symptoms are expected, and you should be prepared for them. Withdrawal symptoms happen when a person has been drinking too much alcohol regularly and then suddenly stops. Alcohol withdrawal happens more in adults but can occur in teenagers or children. If you have existing medical conditions, this can cause the withdrawal symptoms to be more severe.
Symptoms can occur as soon as 8 hours after the last drink but can appear days later. They usually peak during the first 24 to 72 hours but can last for weeks.
Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms are:
- Anxiety ( nervousness)
- Jumpiness ( Shakiness)
- Mood Swings
- Not thinking clearly
Some other symptoms you may experience are:
- Sweating ( clammy skin)
- Enlarged (dilated) pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Tremor of the hands or other body parts
A more severe form of alcohol withdrawal is called, delirium tremens. It occurs in about 5% or 1 out of every 20 people that experience withdrawal symptoms. In delirium tremens, the brain has difficulty readjusting its chemistry after alcohol is stopped. This results in a state of temporary confusion and leads to dangerous changes in the way the brain regulates circulation and breathing. Vital signs, such as heart rate or blood pressure, can change unexpectedly, creating a risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. Symptoms of delirium tremens are:
- Severe Confusion
There are no specific tests that are used to diagnose alcohol withdrawal. The evidence of withdrawal symptoms after heavy habitual drinking has been stopped is easy to identify. Individuals that have a history of withdrawal symptoms, then you are likely to experience them again if you began drinking heavily again and stopped.
If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse, then you may have also caused damaged to other organs. You should schedule an appointment with your doctor to do blood tests and check for alcohol-related damage to your liver, heart, the nerves in your feet, blood cell counts, and gastrointestinal tract. Poor nutrition is typical in an individual with alcohol dependence, so your doctor will probably check your diet and any vitamin deficiencies. Supplements, a healthy diet, and a regular sleep schedule may improve withdrawal side effects and help the body heal faster.
Being honest about how much alcohol you have been consuming can be hard when battling alcoholism, but it is crucial in getting the right treatment for your withdrawal symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your alcohol dependency and withdrawal symptoms, some treatment options are:
- Medical Detox
- Weaning ( Alcohol Use Reduction)
- Hospital Treatment
- Group and Individual Therapy Sessions
Monitoring and controlling the physical symptoms to reach a stable point is usually the first step in the detoxification process. Medical detox is often used to accomplish this. It uses medications to treat symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, seizures, and insomnia.
Sometimes alcohol use is slowly reduced over a period of time through a detailed tapering schedule that should be set up and supervised by your doctor or another medical professional. In this method, the patient is weaned off of alcohol in a controlled manner to avoid more severe withdrawal side effects. Your doctor may also go over medications that can help to lessen alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
As previously stated, alcohol abusers tend to have a shortage of several vitamins and minerals. Nutritional supplements can help with this deficiency.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, or delirium tremens, you should look into hospital treatment. Treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) may is often required for delirium tremens, because your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing need to be monitored closely.
The physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are just part of the detoxification process. You may also experience the more emotional side effects of withdrawal. Medications, coupled with therapy and counseling sessions, are used to treat anxiety, depression, and potential suicidal ideation. One of the main goals of any alcohol detox center is to prevent relapse. Group sessions like 12-step groups and individual therapy can serve as continued support through this stage and beyond.
Arizona has rehabilitation centers and clinics for alcohol detox right at your fingertips.
All you have to do is click here to start your search for alcohol recovery. Remember that being honest about your alcohol consumption and the severity of your symptoms is key in getting the right treatment for your condition. We have specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare that can talk to you or your loved one through this process and get you started on your way to clean living. Contact us today by calling (928) 756-0694 to learn more.