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Alcohol Treatment & Withdrawal

About Alcohol Withdrawal

When an individual has a physiological dependence on alcohol, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal experienced when alcohol intake is significantly reduced or stopped can be extremely distressing and uncomfortable. As a result, people commonly return to drinking alcohol to relieve their discomfort.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a set of symptoms that occur when someone is physically dependent upon alcohol and suddenly stops drinking or drastically reduces their alcohol intake.

Withdrawal from alcohol is believed to arise due to various changes in brain activity caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol use. Because of this, the associated symptoms of alcohol withdrawal reflect disruptions in both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter activity in the brain due. 

The impacts alcohol has on the body are complex, but two particular neurochemicals contribute to both the short-term effects of drinking and the development of AWS when someone stops drinking.

Daylight Detox is an Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment Center

We Provide A Safe Alcohol Withdrawal Schedule

You might be wondering if alcohol withdrawal treatment is needed as you decrease and stop your alcohol consumption. Typically, you may need alcohol withdrawal syndrome treatment when you can’t reduce or stop consuming alcohol without experiencing signs of alcohol withdrawal. It is time to seek alcohol withdrawal treatment with alcohol misuse if you begin experiencing consequences of your alcohol misuse and still can’t stop or cut back on the amount you are consuming. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline, Stages and Severity

What occurs with your body when you stop consuming alcohol may depend on several factors. The severity of alcohol withdrawal and the signs of alcohol withdrawal will vary for different individuals based on their level of physiological alcohol dependence.

Three stages and signs of alcohol withdrawal that an individual in withdrawal could experience have been outlined by The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), including:

  • Stage 1 of the alcohol withdrawal timeline: mild symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, increased anxiety, tremoring hands, heart palpitations, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Stage 2 of the alcohol withdrawal timeline: moderate symptoms may include the above listed mild symptoms and increased blood pressure, confusion, increased heart rate, abnormal breathing, and mild hyperthermia.
  • Stage 3 of the alcohol withdrawal timeline: severe symptoms can include all of the above symptoms and auditory hallucinations, seizures, impaired attention, and disorientation. 

Without alcohol withdrawal syndrome treatment by a healthcare addiction professional, some people can rapidly progress from the alcohol withdrawal timeline of Stage 2 to Stage 3.

While an exact alcohol withdrawal timeline for alcohol withdrawal will vary between individuals, it is based on several factors, including the quantity and duration of consumption, physical and mental health issues. However, a typical alcohol withdrawal timeline for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and detox may look similar to this:

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Hours after last drink:

  • 6-12 hours – the relatively mild early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may begin to be felt, including headaches, mild anxiety, insomnia, upset stomach, and slight tremors.
  • Within 24 hours – signs of alcohol withdrawal can include visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations can begin.
  • Within 24-72 hours – various symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may be experienced as some have peaked, resolved, and some are hanging around. Seizure risk is usually the highest from 24 to 48 hours after the last drink. Delirium (DTs) can appear during this time range.

Rarely, some individuals experience more persistent signs of alcohol withdrawal such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, and mood changes—that last for months. It is crucial to remember that most people recover fully with proper medical detox and alcohol withdrawal syndrome treatment.

While stopping alcohol consumption is not easy, think about what addiction and problem drinking are doing to you, how it impacts your life, and how much it costs you.

The Best Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment Programs

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome treatment is often considered the first step of treatment. It will help you manage and navigate the problematic symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, this step does not target patterns of thought and behavior that have contributed to alcohol use, misuse, and abuse. Additional alcohol addiction treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support needed to maintain sobriety after you complete detox.

Typically, the journey through symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is variable and somewhat unpredictable. Screening and assessment tools still do not allow physicians to confidently predict who will or will not experience life-threatening symptoms. Those individuals experiencing mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and those who are concerned about which withdrawal symptoms may be experienced will benefit from the advice of our professionally trained addiction team to assess and treat individuals in alcohol withdrawal treatment.

Those experiencing moderate to severe signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or those who have experienced severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal previously typically need inpatient monitoring and treatment of withdrawal symptoms. 

Outpatient treatment could be available for mild-to-moderate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, inpatient care may be required if symptoms of alcohol withdrawal become severe.

Other alcohol withdrawal syndrome treatment solutions and resources after alcohol detox include:

  • Therapies include but are not limited to family therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Support groups such as AA
  • Ongoing support and education from our alcohol addiction specialists

Alcohol Withdrawal Medications

To prevent or lessen alcohol withdrawal symptoms or medical complications with severe withdrawal from alcohol, doctors could prescribe medications that can stop specific alcohol withdrawal reactions from progressing to more severe outcomes, stabilize patients, and provide supportive care.

Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

It is important to seek alcohol withdrawal treatment. You should not take the battle of alcohol withdrawal alone, as moderate-to-severe alcohol withdrawal is sometimes dangerous and life-threatening.  

Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are relatively rare. However, it is sometimes difficult to predict which individuals will experience them and which individuals will experience only mild withdrawal symptoms. Despite this, studies have indicated some predictors to help determine when to expect a more severe alcohol withdrawal. These predictors include:

  • Daily and heavy alcohol consumption
  • Being older 
  • A history of alcohol seizures or history of DTs
  • Having comorbidities
  • Being dehydrated
  • Having disturbed electrolytes
  • Lesions on your brain
  • Liver function abnormalities

Unfortunately, it is impossible to precisely predict who will experience what symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, the course of alcohol withdrawal, or the severity of signs of alcohol withdrawal. It depends heavily on an individual’s body chemistry, the amount of daily alcohol consumption, your age, and whether you have any other physical or mental health conditions, along with many other factors. This is why it is important to seek professional alcohol withdrawal treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last

A variety of factors can influence the type and severity of symptoms that a person may experience during alcohol withdrawal. In general, signs of alcohol withdrawal peak within 24-72 hours and resolve within 4-5 days. In some cases, less intense symptoms of anxiety can linger following withdrawal. Persisting anxiety beyond the detox may be a potential indicator of an anxiety disorder.

What Does Alcohol Withdrawal Feel Like?

Alcohol withdrawal typically involves a range of emotional, psychological, and cognitive symptoms, including increased agitation, anxiety, irritability, and restlessness. An individual may have impaired judgment, difficulty focusing or remembering, and, in severe cases, panic attacks, hallucinations, and paranoid or persecutory delusions resulting from alcohol withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms a person experiences and their severity may vary significantly from one person to the next.

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Signs of alcohol withdrawal and symptoms of the various timelines and stages of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • anxiety
  • headaches
  • tremors
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • mood changes
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • heart palpitations
  • increased blood pressure or heart rate
  • hyperthermia
  • fast, abnormal breathing
  • hallucinations
  • seizures

When Does Alcohol Withdrawal Start?

When you stop or significantly reduce alcohol intake, it disrupts your brain activity. It is used to decrease anxiety and sedation and compensates for the alteration that alcohol does to the receptors in our brains. This causes a hyper-aroused state, leading to a range of withdrawal symptoms that can appear within hours after your last drink.

What is Withdrawal From Alcohol?

It is estimated that over 50% of people with a history of alcohol misuse will experience withdrawal symptoms. In addition, the probability of developing alcohol withdrawal increases with the amount of alcohol consumed and the frequency of consumption. Most people who experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms drink daily, consuming large amounts for multiple days (approximately more than eight standard drinks per day).

What Helps Alcohol Withdrawal?

Because moderate to severe alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, close medical monitoring for symptom development in addition to the use of certain sedating medications (e.g., benzodiazepines like chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and oxazepam (Serax) can help to stabilize the patient, as well as minimize seizures and other severe withdrawal symptoms.

A person who is at risk of alcohol withdrawal symptoms or thinks they might be at risk of alcohol withdrawal should seek the guidance of a physician or other treatment professional. Benzodiazepines are frequently used to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. As a patient’s condition stabilizes, a physician gradually tapers down the dose over several days until the patient is off the medication. The dosage and tapering schedule is determined by the medication used and the patient’s response to it.

What is Inpatient Alcohol Treatment?

Inpatient alcohol treatment involves living at an alcohol addiction treatment facility for the duration of alcohol withdrawal and addiction treatment. At the same time, you receive around-the-clock support and intensive therapy in group and individual sessions.

To keep you safe and comfortable, a doctor or other medical professional can best determine the level of supervision, monitoring, and medical intervention you might need for appropriate withdrawal management at an alcohol treatment center in Florida. In general, alcohol withdrawal treatment may involve many different medical professionals, including a physician (who may or may not be specialized in treating substance use disorders) along with nursing and clinical support staff, psychologists, social workers, and mental health counselors.

What is Outpatient Alcohol Treatment?

Outpatient alcohol addiction treatment involves remaining at home and attending group and individual therapy sessions at regularly scheduled appointments. This provides you an opportunity to practice what you learn in treatment in real-world situations while managing stressors.

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If someone you care about is enduring and suffering from alcohol withdrawal, the person most likely needs to receive medical care at an alcohol treatment center and follow the advice of a physician so that they can detox safely.

You should never attempt to withdraw and detox on your own – there is alcohol treatment near me. Alcohol treatment centers with a doctor or other medical professional can best determine the level of support you will need for appropriate withdrawal management. Daylight Recovery Center offers a safe and supportive environment where you will be supervised by a physician and nursing staff who can provide medications and monitor your condition to ensure that you receive ongoing evaluation and appropriate management of symptoms.