The Dangers of Detoxing From Alcohol Alone

Written by Chloe Nicosia

It’s vital to understand the alcohol withdrawal timeline and the severity of detoxing from alcohol alone

Although many people view alcohol as an innocent, social activity, it can actually be the exact opposite, if it’s abused. Alcohol abuse can lead to many major health problems with long-term use and can quickly deteriorate lives if left untreated. Addiction to alcohol is a treatable condition. However, it’s important to remember that trying to self-medicate or treat alcohol abuse alone can be harmful or even fatal. It’s imperative to be aware of the dangers of detoxing from alcohol alone.

The Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a serious condition. Detoxing from alcohol begins as early as two hours after the last drink, depending on how severe the addiction is. The alcohol detox timeline may vary per individual, but is known to typically last up to a week or more.

The alcohol withdrawal timeline usually has three stages. Some symptoms during these stages may be worse for others. This depends on the health and any other underlying mental conditions that the addict may have. These stages bring along many uncomfortable effects, which is why seeking help at a professional detox facility or rehab is highly recommended. These symptoms will be more tolerable and safer when experienced under the supervision of medical professionals.

Here are the three prominent stages of the alcohol detox timeline:

  1. Emotional effects begin to surface, such as anxiety and nervousness. Shaking, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting typically occur within the early stages when detoxing from alcohol. These effects can happen anywhere from two to eight hours after the last drink has been consumed. In a professional setting, a physician may prescribe medications to help alleviate the discomfort during this stage in the alcohol withdrawal timeline.
  2. The second stage of the alcohol detox timeline bring more severe symptoms, such as high blood pressure and irregular heart rate, in addition to those experienced during the first stage. These symptoms can cause major issues, like stroke or heart attack. This is why the dangers of detoxing from alcohol alone must be known. Because of these dangerous issues, the safest settings for alcohol detox are hospitals, detox clinics, and rehabilitation facilities.
  3. The most severe symptoms occur during the final stage. This is when emotional symptoms tend to be at a peak, due to frustration, realization, and pain from the detox process. Hallucinations and confusion may also occur—another reason why detoxing from alcohol should never be done without supervision. Seizures, fever, and a dangerous condition, known as delirium tremens (DT) are possible during the third stage, too. Delirium tremens is a severe condition during alcohol withdrawal that brings on mental issues or nervous system changes. Body tremors, deep sleep, delirium, sudden mood changes, restlessness, sensitivity to light and sound, and fear.

Other Things to Expect When Detoxing for Alcohol

Depression, aggression, and anxiety are all normal symptoms during alcohol withdrawal. Not only because of the chemical changes occurring in the body during this time, but because the realization of not being able to use alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress can be worrisome to those who struggle with alcoholism. Any lifestyle change is bound to bring apprehension and nervousness about the new way. However, the benefits from addiction recovery far outweigh the brief discomfort during the detox process.

Alcohol withdrawal usually lasts up to a week, but in some cases, can last a little longer. Just because an individual completes detox, this does not mean the addiction is cured. Following up with counseling, outpatient therapy, and staying active in recovery are the only ways to ensure a successful recovery. Detoxing from alcohol does not mean the body won’t crave it at times, but the goal of addiction treatment is to teach addicts how to overcome these issues to increase the chances of relapse prevention.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, Better Addiction Care can help. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.