Alcohol has played a consistent role in society for as long as can be remembered. In fact, one chemical analysis found that it was between 7000-6600 B.C. that alcohol was first believed to be consumed. During that time there was not even one iota as much information about alcoholism and what it can do to humans as there is now, but thankfully today is much different. Not only do we know more about alcohol and its effects on the mind and the body, but we also familiar with what to expect when detoxing from alcohol.
What is Detox?
Detoxification, or “detox”, is the process of allowing all mind-altering substances to fully clear the body. During this time, someone who is detoxing from drugs or alcohol will no longer use, which, depending on their history of substance abuse, will cause withdrawal symptoms to develop. Certain factors play a role in the intensity and length of one’s detox, such as what substance was being abused, how often, and in what capacity. In most cases, detoxing from drugs or alcohol can take anywhere from a few days to a week or two.
Who is Detox For?
Intensity, duration and severity of detox symptoms depends on many factors. If someone has been using substances for any extended period of time, attending a detox or stabilization program can be extremely helpful, and often is very necessary for safety and comfort.
Some of the telltale signs that detox will be helpful include:
- Long term substance abuse. The longer an individual has been using a substance, the more likely a medical detox will be necessary. It is important to remember however, that with substances like benzodiazepines, alcohol and opiates, someone does not need to have been using for a long time to benefit from a stabilization period.
- Withdrawal symptoms. These can be more or less severe depending on the substances used and depending on the length of use, but regardless of where they fall on the scale, having withdrawal symptoms managed under medical supervision makes them much more tolerable.
- History of seizures or other adverse physical reactions when discontinuing alcohol or drug use.
- Any other medical complications or issues that could make discontinuing substance use independently dangerous.
Detox is also imperative for those who are detoxing from substances that can cause life threatening symptoms, including alcohol.
What to Expect When Detoxing From Alcohol
If you are addicted to alcohol, you might already be familiar with what to expect when detoxing from alcohol. You may have already attempted to detox before or have even felt the onset of withdrawal symptoms setting in when you were unable to drink. But, there is much more to detoxing from alcohol that what meets the eye. So, let’s discuss what to expect when detoxing from alcohol.
First thing is first — how do you know if you are going to go into withdrawal when you stop drinking? And how severe will your symptoms be? Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to answer that question, but there are a few guidelines you can follow to help determine if detox will be part of your recovery journey.
Consider your past history with alcohol. How long have you been drinking? How much do you drink in a day? How often are you consuming alcohol? It is common for those who have drank for long periods of time and/or in high amounts and frequently to develop withdrawal symptoms that require assistance from professionals. It is less common for those who do not drink lots of alcohol at a time and for long periods of time to need detox services, but it is possible and does happen. Your best bet is to reach out to your primary care physician or a treatment specialist who can help you determine if detox is for you.
If you do find that you require detox services, there are a number of things that you can expect. It is no secret that the first part of your experience in detox will likely be related to the withdrawal symptoms you develop. These symptoms can start to kick in within hours after your last drink. Again, chances are you may have some experience with the onset of symptoms if you have not been able to access alcohol when you needed to in the past. You might be thinking that you are aware of what to expect when detoxing from alcohol because you already know that you will have withdrawal symptoms.
What to Expect When Detoxing From Alcohol: Potential Dangers
Alcohol detox can be very dangerous without medical support if an individual has been drinking extensively or for an extended period of time. Professional detox or stabilization programs are an important part of the recovery process. They allow individuals to safely and comfortably step away from the substances they have been using.
If you are dependent on alcohol, meaning that you cannot stop using without developing withdrawal symptoms, it is imperative to be in the right hands when detoxing. The first day or so of your detox will be filled with developing symptoms that range in intensity levels. By a few days in, you can begin to develop what is known as delirium tremens, or the DT’s. The DT’s are a set of symptoms that include confusion, high blood pressure, shaking, fever, and hallucinations. The greatest concern during this time is fever and high blood pressure, both of which can trigger strokes, seizures, and other life-threatening medical events. When in a detox program, however, these symptoms can be carefully monitored and better managed, helping you to avoid suffering long-term damage or death.
It is important to understand that, without support and monitoring during detox, withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even life-threatening. Clear Residential’s individualized and professional detoxification care helps safely alleviate the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Alcohol Rehab in Redondo Beach
If you are still unsure about what to expect when detoxing from alcohol, do not hesitate to reach out to Clear Recovery right now. We have trained and compassionate admissions specialists who can answer all of your questions and help get you started on the right path of recovery.