alcohol withdrawal

Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal, or alcohol detox, is a potentially life-threatening condition when people who drink regularly suddenly stop or decrease their alcohol intake. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be fatal without professional treatment. Enrolling in treatment at an alcohol detox center can help you stay safer and more comfortable as you go through the different stages of alcohol detox.

If you need support withdrawing from alcohol, Promises Washburn House can help. We offer a medically monitored detox, so you will have our caring staff by your side as you go through alcohol withdrawal. Contact us today at 855.298.3104 to schedule an intake assessment and determine if you are a good candidate for alcohol detox at our facility.

Stages of Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal happens when people who drink regularly quit drinking or try to cut back on alcohol intake. This is usually the case when you have developed an alcohol use disorder. However, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can also occur in those with mild alcohol dependence. There are three stages of alcohol detox:

Stage 1

Approximately six to 12 hours after your last drink, you will enter stage one of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms may be mild at this time and include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shaky hands
  • Upset stomach

Stage 2

About 24 to 72 hours after your last drink, symptoms worsen. In addition to stage one symptoms, you may experience:

  • Confusion
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Mood disturbances
  • Sweating

This is also when people with severe alcohol use disorder may experience delirium tremens (DTs). This more intense form of alcohol withdrawal can involve hallucinations, tremors, seizures, and fever.

Stage 3

The third stage of alcohol detox includes the symptoms from stages one and two, but they begin to dissipate. Your symptoms may last up to one week or more after your last drink, especially in cases of severe addiction. Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may last beyond one week include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances

Learning how to manage your symptoms throughout the stages of alcohol detox can help you get through this challenging period.

How to Get Through Alcohol Withdrawal More Comfortably

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be so severe that some people find it virtually impossible to maintain abstinence. And since severe alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, the safest option is to enroll in an alcohol detox program. Medical alcohol detox can help you get through withdrawal discomfort with the aid of:

  • Anti-nausea medications to alleviate nausea and vomiting
  • Anticonvulsants to help prevent seizures
  • Antidepressants to relieve symptoms of depression
  • Antipsychotics to address hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions
  • Naltrexone to reduce alcohol cravings
  • Benzodiazepines to reduce anxiety and support restful sleep
  • Pain relievers to ease headaches and body aches

Although an alcohol detox program provides the appropriate medications to help you get through alcohol withdrawal, detox programs are not only about medication. You will also participate in individual and group counseling. Alcohol use disorder goes deeper than simply quitting drinking. Many underlying contributors to alcohol misuse need to be addressed to prevent relapse. While you are receiving professional help in alcohol detox, you will meet with counselors regularly to help you begin to explore triggers for alcohol use and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Get Support for Alcohol Withdrawal at Promises Washburn House

Withdrawing from alcohol can be uncomfortable but also dangerous. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol dependence or addiction, seeking the guidance of an alcohol detox center can help you begin the recovery process. Reach out to Promises Washburn House today to get the support you need to kick off an alcohol-free life.

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