At Wavelengths Recovery, we understand your struggle and want to help you find comfort during your detoxification journey. Read further to know what to expect through alcohol detox, alcohol withdrawal, and treatment of alcoholism.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a form of alcohol abuse that can be characterized as mild, moderate, and severe. In the medical community, it is commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Individuals struggling with alcoholism and AUD feel that they cannot function normally without alcohol. Depending on the severity of one’s AUD, they may experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms due to their dependency on alcohol.
When you develop alcohol dependence, your brain becomes accustomed to its effects and attempts to counterbalance them. It is this counterbalancing that leads to withdrawal symptoms as your body attempts to detoxify itself.
What Is Alcohol Detoxification?
Alcohol detox starts when you stop drinking completely and give your body time to recover from your alcohol dependence. It can be brutal, but it is the first necessary step in recovery.
Throughout this phase, your body will go through a timeline of different symptoms as it tries to find balance without the chemical in your body.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to extremely intense, which is why you should always do a detox under professional supervision. The symptoms you experience, how long you experience them, and their intensity will all depend on how dependent you were on alcohol beforehand.
Common mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Delirium tremens — a rare, but life-threatening symptom
If you have a medical condition, such as lung or heart disease, your withdrawal symptoms may be exasperated.
During a detox at Wavelengths, we can provide medications to combat severe withdrawal symptoms, making them easier to manage.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline and Phases
Everyone’s experience with alcohol withdrawal symptoms is different. However, you can expect to start feeling withdrawal symptoms just a few hours after your last drink:
Phase One: The First Week
Your symptoms will start off mild. You may get a headache, start sweating, feel nauseous, or have anxiety. After 24 hours, these symptoms worsen. You may be disoriented and start to have tremors (shakiness). The risk of seizures also increases after the first day.
On the second day, you may begin to experience panic attacks and hallucinations. This is usually when symptoms are the most painful and intense.
By the third day, your symptoms will likely soften, though for some they get worse. Symptoms during this time typically lasts 2 to 3 more days. During this time, a person is most at risk for delirium tremens — which can include hallucinations, shaking, shivering, sweating, seizures, irregular heartbeats, and potentially brain damage.
Phase Two: The First Few Weeks
Once you make it through the first week of your detox, your symptoms will start to alleviate. You may still experience some of the more minor issues, like headaches and insomnia, but they will be less intense and occur less often.
After a few weeks, all of the extreme symptoms should subside.
Phase Three: The Remaining First Year
While most symptoms will go away after the first couple of weeks, some people do experience prolonged withdrawals that last for a few months or up to a year. This is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and the most common symptoms are extreme fatigue, anxiety, slow reflexes, and trouble sleeping.
It’s important to continue communicating with your medical advisor throughout the first year of your detox if you experience lingering symptoms.
Alcohol Detox Medications and Treatments
Wavelengths’ alcohol rehab program can provide medications that can help you manage withdrawals and make the detox process safer and more comfortable.
Common alcohol detox medication includes:
- Acamprosate (also known as Campral) — to reduce alcohol cravings
- Benzodiazepines — to help with anxiety, insomnia, and muscle spasms
- Disulfiram — to create negative reactions if you drink alcohol
- Naltrexone — to reduce alcohol cravings and reduce effects of alcohol use
Along with reducing detox withdrawal symptoms, medications can also help restore the proper function of your brain and nervous system. They will keep your brain’s chemicals in check to lower the risk of more serious issues.
If you experience any negative side effects from medications, you should alert your doctor.
A detox center can also provide rehabilitative treatments to aid your recovery. These treatments include therapy sessions, guided meditations, support groups, and nutritional support.
Many people have found these treatments effective in their recovery. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that one in three people who receive treatment are sober a year later.
Wavelengths Recovery’s Huntington Beach Detox Center
Doing your alcohol detox at Wavelengths Recovery’s Rehab in Huntington Beach, we will give you the best chance of success and freedom from your alcohol dependence. Our medical professionals oversee your detox and assist you with medications, treatments, and provide a prosperous environment.
We also offer private and group therapy, vocational skills training, and the option to live in our beautiful transitional sober homes.
If you are struggling with alcohol dependence and are worried about the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol detox, contact Wavelengths Recovery for help today.