If you drink heavily on a daily basis and make the decision to stop, you are likely to experience the symptoms of withdrawal. A few factors go into the length of time it takes for you to detox from alcohol. These include how long you have had the habit, how much you drink, and whether or not you have experienced detox previously. Most people find their detox symptoms fade and halt four to five days past the last drink. To detox, know what to expect and prepare accordingly.
Timeline of Detox Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect
Minor withdrawal symptoms tend to begin roughly six hours after the last drink. If you have a long history of drinking heavily, you could even experience a seizure at this time. At 12 to 24 hours, you may be one of the small percentage that experience hallucinations. At 24 to 48 hours, minor symptoms tend to continue. These might feature tremors, stomach upset, and headaches. Read more
Less severe withdrawal usually has symptoms peaking about this point, decreasing after four or five days. At 48 to 72 hours, some people encounter a severe form of withdrawal from alcohol that is known as delirium tremens, DTs, or alcohol withdrawal delirium. At this point, you may have seizures, high body temperature, or extremely high heart rate. At 72 hours, the symptoms are at their worst.
Withdrawal Symptoms When you Detox
Alcohol causes feelings of euphoria and relaxation. When you cease drinking, you take alcohol away from neurotransmitter receptors that stimulate or excite the central nervous system. This results in an overactive nervous system. Symptoms that result from overactivity include irritability, tremors, sweating, nausea, and anxiety. The severe circumstances that make up the DTs include symptoms such as high body temperature, illusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures.
DTs Risk Factors
There are a series of risk factors that make the DTs more likely when going through alcohol detox. These include a history of DTs, a history of seizures when withdrawing from alcohol, low levels of sodium or potassium, abnormal liver function, low platelet counts, advanced age, brain lesions, dehydration, and the use of additional drugs. These risk factors make it advisable to withdraw at a medical facility equipped to treat complications related to alcohol detox.
Stages of Detox from Alcohol
There are three basic stages when going through alcohol detox. The first stage includes anxiety, nausea, abdominal pain, and insomnia. The second stage features increased blood pressure and body temperature, confusion, and unusual heart rate. The final stage has seizures, agitation, fever, and hallucinations.
Nearly every American adult has had alcohol at some point. One in three emergency room visits is related to alcohol, and it is third amongst preventable causes of death in the U.S., with nearly 90,000 people dying annually from causes related to alcohol. Detoxing from alcohol can be a frightening prospect, but with forethought and preparation, as well as the protection of a medical facility, the process can go smoothly and lead to a safer lifestyle.