Alcohol detox timeline you should follow

Getting rid of alcohol and its intoxication is not easy. In fact, even trying to prevent the effects of alcohol you drunk at a single seating can be quite challenging. Also, if you try leaving alcohol right away when you have a heavy drinking habit, you will face another problem that is an alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Thus, it needs to be controlled in a routine manner and rushing will not do any good. This article will help you understand about a process of management of alcoholism which is organized, routine and effective.

Alcohol detox timeline

Alcohol detox is a medically supervised period when the patient is suffering from alcohol withdrawal syndrome. A doctor will recommend and administer the medications to eradicate the problems gradually with other health professionals monitoring you all the time for the perfect data.

As alcohol withdrawal syndrome shows its symptoms in different stages of it, alcohol detox needs a similar routine to prevent those symptoms effectively. Below is a timeline for the whole alcohol withdrawal stages and routine for alcohol detox,

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Here is a typical timeline for the process of alcohol detox.

Stage 1(0—72 hours)

0-6 hours after alcohol cessation

This is when everything starts. The right moment when you stop drinking after a heavy dosage of alcohol, you start to show weird symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Some such general symptoms include restlessness, insomnia, nausea and anxiety.

For non-heavy drinkers, the problem may subside within this time and they may not have to face the other stages at all. Some people experience more severe symptoms already at this early stage. Those symptoms include:

  • Fever: The body heats up abnormally and this is due to the effect of alcohol. The fever can get quite high and this can result in further problems. So, there is a need of proper advising and care for such person to be back healthy again.
  • Increased blood pressure: This generally happens to people who have already been using daily medicine for controlling their high blood pressure. And it is not at all idea. This can cause serious complications like stroke or heart attack or any kind of internal bleeding due to the rupture of the blood vessel due to the extremely high pressure of blood against the blood vessel’s walls.
  • Increased pulse rate: You will discover that your heart beat or pulse rate increases as well. With the constant feeling of anxiety it is no surprise that you have been breathing fast and also your heart beats are fast. This is your body going into the rush and not being able to come back to the normal conditions. Very high pulse rate isn’t good and it needs medical attention.
  • Profuse sweating: This has two reasons. The first one is due to the increased stress. You get too stressed out when you have just stopped drinking after a heavy usage of liquor. This causes a lot of sweating. The other possible reason for you sweating is that as the alcohol withdrawal syndrome includes fever in its symptoms that might be the reason behind it.
  • Seizure: If you are extremely dependent on alcohol, severe symptoms may begin to manifest early on and even at this stage. Seizures or convulsion attacks usually, in these cases, start as early as around 7-24 hours after you last had alcohol and this occurs in series of episodes. This may happen to people of any age and this causes a lot of muscle contractions in addition to the possible loss of consequences. There is a need of thorough check and observation for people who have a history of very severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

6-12 hours after alcohol cessation

It is more or less similar to the previous stage but this has either worsening symptoms or gradually improving symptoms. If the symptoms are improving, it is a good sign and that may mean you do not have to care about later stages. If the symptoms get worse, you need immediate attention and this can mean that there are other severe symptoms coming your way. The common symptoms include:

  • You may experience minor tremors in hand. The shaky movement of the hand is not the most fearful of symptoms but must be looked after if it prevents you from doing your work.
  • You might see nightmares and unlikely dreams or may have a lot on your mind when you are thinking of sleeping. This is an advanced sleeplessness condition and it may require some remedies for you to get your sleep back.
  • You may not be hungry and your stomach may be ‘upset’. During the time of alcohol withdrawal, the stomach doesn’t really behave and there is a loss of appetite.
  • You may experience headaches due to the craving of alcohol or just like that due to the effects of alcohol withdrawal. It is normal until a headache is unbearable.

12-48 hours after alcohol cessation

This is just another stage of alcohol detox and withdrawal. This has some unique symptoms as well which might not go very well for you:

  • Hallucinations: Hearing weird stuff that does not exist and seeing imaginary things is caused in this stage. This is because of the messing of mind occurred by the effect of alcohol withdrawal.
  • Seizures: You are likely to experience seizure if you reach this stage of alcohol detox. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures are likely to occur that affects your whole brain. It is of course not good and you will want constant monitoring on yourself for you own well-being because the problem is getting far.

48-72 hours after alcohol cessation

Now, this is where things go into severity. Patients experience some severe symptoms like:

Delirium tremens: It is a rapid onset of confusion caused after some days of stopping the alcohol consumption. This lasts for two to three days and this can be a real problem. This generally doesn’t occur on social and casual drinkers. This occurs in people who have a high consumption of alcohol for a whole month or more.

As it constitutes other complicated symptoms like irregular heartbeat, irregular blood pressure, shaking and hallucinations. As this directly affect the brain, it is a very severe condition and must be looked after mandatorily.

Disorientation: This is a mental condition of being unknown about what is going on. This can be really problematic and you may be confused all the time about the things going on and this can even result in other mental health complications.

Symptoms peak in the first several days after drinking cessation, but can go on, in less severe forms, for weeks.

Second stage: 2—5 days

During the first week of alcohol detox, the forms of symptoms that has been mentioned above may occur constantly and this also includes the severe symptoms like the DTs.

This requires medical intervention and the earlier you get that the better it is. DTs can produce hallucinations, seizures, and other mental problems as this condition affects the brain directly and also it affects the brain in all the areas making it difficult for you to do day-to-day activities as almost all actions we perform needs to be processed by the brain.

How Long To Detox from Alcohol?

Depending on the level of your drinking and how long you have been drinking, your alcohol detox duration varies. The stage of alcoholism also plays a role.

If you are just a starter in drinking you may even end the symptoms as early as a few days after stopping to drink. Alcohol detox duration typically lasts from a week to two but symptoms can persist for weeks or even months after detox.

You may experience a lot of PAWS (Post-acute withdrawal symptoms) such as reduction in sexual interest, hostility and insomnia, mood problems, fatigue and all kind of tiring symptoms. You may not feel like yourself for some months.

Acute withdrawal symptoms generally occur at the beginning of the detoxification period and it may last for about a week or two.

After this session of symptoms, you may find yourself with other withdrawal symptoms called protracted withdrawal symptoms which last for a long time.

It is so persistent that it may not leave you before a year after your last drink. These symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Hostility
  • Reduction in sexual interest and sexual appeal
  • Decrease in energy
  • Decrease in metabolism (faulty stomach and digestive system)
  • Depression
  • Sleep disruption, nightmares, and insomnia
  • Tremors

So, these were some information about the stages of alcohol withdrawal and the alcohol detox. The timeline has been briefly explained and this can help you figure out in which stage you or the person who you are concerned about lies on and how you can address the symptoms thus caused effectively.

You need medical attention for some severe symptoms like a hallucination, depression, and DTs. You should go through the alcohol detox timeline under the observation of an expert or a medical person.

Do not get panicked by the common symptoms and if there are symptoms that really bothers you seek help and be patient.

The best way to get away from alcohol when you are an alcoholic is to face the consequences of alcohol withdrawal but doing it by understanding the alcohol detox timeline makes it much easier.

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