Have you tried to detox from alcohol in the past and failed? Nearly 15 million people in the United States struggle with an alcohol use disorder, and many of them never get access to the help that they need in order to recover.
For some of them, detox is the biggest hurdle. When you detox from alcohol, you have to prepare yourself for an intense experience. Not everyone is ready to go through it, even if they know that it’s what’s best for them.
We’re here to talk about detoxing from alcohol so you know what to expect. Read on to learn more.
What Is Alcohol Detox?
When someone is ready to start their recovery journey through a substance use disorder, the first step of the process (aside from admitting that they have a problem) is detox.
Detox happens when your body no longer has the substance in its system. The body starts going through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms range from uncomfortable to dangerous (which is one of the reasons that going to a professional rehabilitation and detox center is so important).
When you have substance abuse disorder, your body starts to rely on that substance to function. This is why you need to consume more and more alcohol to continue feeling its effects. Your body adapts.
When you remove the substance that your body relied on, you start to feel sick. While this is actually part of the healing process, it doesn’t feel that way while you’re going through it. Detox is often the hardest part of the recovery process, and an uncomfortable and unsupported detox period may cause someone to give up on recovery altogether.
The Timeline of Effects While You Detox From Alcohol
Detoxing can take, on average, 5 days (though some people continue to experience symptoms for longer and there are long-term detox symptoms). These first 5 days are going to be stressful, but with a supportive team at your side, you’ll make it through.
Here’s how the initial detox period breaks down over the first few days.
Initial 6 to 12 Hours
Believe it or not, you can start feeling withdrawal symptoms only a few hours after you take your last sip of alcohol. This will vary depending on how advanced your addiction is. Some people may not start feeling symptoms until a day has passed.
Most of the symptoms associated with early withdrawal during detox are mental. You may feel more anxious, you may have mood swings, and it’s likely that you’ll have trouble sleeping.
Physical symptoms include nausea, other types of gastrointestinal distress, and shakey hands. You may also have splitting headaches.
These symptoms mimic common flu symptoms.
12 to 24 Hours
During the first day of detox, you’ll end with more intense physical symptoms. The initial symptoms won’t go away, so these will be on top of the 6 to 12-hour symptoms.
It’s normal for mild shakiness to turn into full hand tremors at this stage. This is frightening, but it’s a normal part of the withdrawal process. You may also feel confused or disoriented during this time.
It’s not common, but some people experience seizures at this stage of detox. Make sure that you have someone nearby who’s able to monitor you in the event that you need medical attention.
24 to 48 Hours
Around the 48-hour mark, seizures become more common. You may start to experience more serious physical symptoms (that again, mimic serious flu symptoms).
It’s normal for people going through withdrawal to hallucinate or become delusional. Because this is upsetting for friends and family, it’s best if a medical or mental health professional is nearby to help.
Hallucinations are often auditory, but tactile and visual hallucinations happen as well.
You may experience a high fever accompanied by excessive sweating. You may also start experiencing more intense nausea and vomiting.
On top of the other symptoms, people with Delerium Tremens experience hypersensitivity to light and touch, agitation, confusion, and they’re more likely to experience seizures.
Final 2 to 3 Days
Some people find the final 2 to 3 days the worst while others find that their symptoms start getting less severe.
People who have serious symptoms at this point, they may extend beyond those 2 to 3 days. Some people experience acute withdrawal symptoms for weeks. This isn’t a cause for concern as long as you’re detoxing with professionals.
You may experience loss of consciousness, continue experiencing Delerium Tremens, or have seizures. You’ll also continue experiencing mental health symptoms from the previous days.
Some people go through post-acute withdrawal syndrome (or PAWS, for short). This means that symptoms of withdrawal can continue for up to a year, though they won’t be as intense as they were during the initial withdrawal period.
You may experience fatigue, trouble sleeping, irritability, and depression. You may notice that you feel dizzy and your balance is off. Your memory may not be as sharp as it was before the detox period.
It’s normal to experience intense alcohol cravings during this period.
Detoxing Safely from Alcohol in New Hampshire
Because detox from alcohol is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst, it’s important that you detox under the care of experienced professionals. They’ll make sure that you stay safe and that you don’t quit in the middle of the process.
Alcohol Detox programs in NH give patients a place to go through withdrawal safely in a supportive environment. They may offer medication to help make the detox period more comfortable and they can make sure that you get medical assistance in the event of an emergency.
Are You Ready To Start Your Recovery Journey?
The idea of going through detox from alcohol is scary, and it’s often what puts people off of starting recovery in the first place. A few days of illness and discomfort are worth it when it leads to recovery.
We know that you’re ready for sobriety and we want to help you. Contact us for alcohol detox in NH and start your new life today.
Connect with Sobriety Centers of New Hampshire
Sobriety Centers of New Hampshire can help you through the early stages of detox, inpatient alcohol rehab, and beyond. Our full continuum of care is unlike any other program in Granite State. When you detox in our center in NH you’ll be surrounded by caring and qualified professionals who have a vested interest in seeing you or your loved one get well and find lasting and sustained recovery.
The first step is the physical separation from alcohol. It should always be conducted with the help of experienced professionals in a medical detox center.