What Is Alcohol Detox?
With over 80 percent of people aged 12 and older in the U.S. having reported drinking at least once in their lifetime, it is safe to say that drinking it is a common activity in our society today. For most people, alcohol plays only an occasional role in their lives; for others, it is a daily habit. But if a person abuses alcohol, which can include drinking daily or binge drinking at least once per week, the more likely they are to develop an alcohol addiction, also called an alcohol use disorder. The length of time it takes for alcohol detox can vary depending on the age, length of use, amount of consumption and various other factors. Learn more below.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse is often something that sneaks up on people. It can be very easy to get into a cycle of consuming too much alcohol in one sitting, or drinking too many nights a week. The most common form of alcohol abuse is binge drinking, which is drinking enough alcohol to raise your blood alcohol level over 0.08%. For men, this is usually 5 or more drinks within 2 hours, and for women it is 4 or more drinks. Drinking this much alcohol over such a short period of time on a regular basis makes your body develop a tolerance for alcohol, which means that you will have to drink more in order to get intoxicated. And if you continue drinking more and more, you are likely to start developing alcohol use disorder and require a medically supervised alcohol detox to safely withdrawal from alcohol.
The Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
An estimated 14.5 million Americans are currently suffering from alcohol use disorder. This means that, if they try to stop drinking, they are likely to experience some negative side effects. These side effects are called withdrawal, and can make getting sober a very difficult process. The alcohol detox timeline can begin anywhere from 8 to 48 hours after your last drink, and the symptoms can include:
Nausea or vomiting
People with very serious or long-term alcohol use disorder may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms that can prolong their alcohol detox timeline. These symptoms are usually called delirium tremens, or DTs, and can include fever, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and seizures. For people at risk of experiencing DTs, it is absolutely essential that they detox at an addiction treatment facility. There, they can receive medical supervision and appropriate treatment to lessen these symptoms and keep them from becoming life-threatening.
What Happens During Alcohol Detox?
When you are addicted to alcohol, this means that your body is used to it being in your system. If you stop drinking, your system has a negative reaction which is what causes withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol detox is the process of getting all of the alcohol out of your system; at a detox facility, this process is made easier and faster with the use of medications. There are a few different medications used to help the alcohol detox timeline. These include:
This medication is only given to people with very long-term alcohol addictions. It helps reverse some of the damage that alcohol can cause on your brain, which helps to rebalance your system. This helps to reduce cravings, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and restlessness that can result from alcohol withdrawal.
Also called benzos, these medications serve as a nervous system relaxer, which helps you to sleep and reduces muscle spasms.
Naltrexone is very commonly utilized for detox because it helps reduce cravings for alcohol. It can also help prevent relapse after you’ve completed rehab by inhibiting the effects of alcohol if you do drink.
Alcohol Detox Timeline
The alcohol detox timeline usually happens in three different stages. Stage one begins within just a few hours of the last time you drank alcohol, and includes more mild symptoms like headache, mild tremors, or an upset stomach. Stage two usually begins about 24 hours later, with more severe symptoms like nightmares, insomnia, worsening tremors, stomach and digestive issues, and sometimes hallucinations. In 2 to 3 days, stage three will begin. This is the stage where your withdrawal symptoms will peak before eventually tapering off. Most people are free of withdrawal symptoms after 1 to 2 weeks. The alcohol detox timeline is different for every person. It can last as little as just a few days, to upwards of a few months if you are severely addicted, or do not detox at a rehab facility.
Get the Help You Need for Alcohol Detox in Ft. Lauderdale
For many people, the fear of not knowing how long it will take them to detox can be just as difficult to overcome as the symptoms of withdrawal. But if you seek help at a facility with an alcohol detox program, you can get the help you need to get through the detox process as quickly and comfortably as possible. Remember that, no matter how unpleasant detox is, it is a much better alternative to continuing to allow alcohol to control your life – and keep causing damage to both your physical and mental health.
If you have questions about alcohol detox or the alcohol detox timeline, we are here to help you. Contact us today or give us a call at (877) 789-6707 to discuss your needs and concerns with our highly-trained team of experts, and find out just how our program can help you get your life back.
With over 80 percent of people aged 12 and older in the U.S. having reported drinking at least once in their lifetime, it is safe to say that drinking it is a common activity in our society today.
Drug detoxification, commonly referred to as detox, is the process of allowing your body to clear all of the drugs out of your system.