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1 How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?

Alcohol is one of the most common substances of abuse in our society. Statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show that 43% of men have engaged in binge drinking, and the duration of abuse ­— prolonged and severe alcoholism — can lead to the accumulation of a number of devastating consequences on a person’s life.1Alcohol dependency leads to health problems that encompass both the physical and psychological aspects of a person’s life. The best decision you can make for yourself is to choose to end your battle with alcoholism.

What Is Detox?

Detoxification, or detox, is the first phase of substance abuse recovery. It involves a period of time after your last drink that you dedicate to ridding all of the alcohol or toxins in your body so that you can begin treatment with a clean slate.

The primary goal of detox is to safely and comfortably embark upon a period of abstinence at the start of the recovery process. Once you are clean, recovery can begin.

Why Is It Necessary to Detox Properly from Alcohol?

Alcohol can be one of the most dangerous substances to detox from. As detox progresses, withdrawal symptoms may become life-threatening, so professional medical monitoring is often necessary in many cases of abuse and dependency.While the importance of physically ridding yourself of alcohol is stressed in detoxification, it is also important to evaluate for any of the psychological factors that often accompany severe alcohol dependence, since they are likely to complicate treatment and evaluation plans.

Some detox facilities — especially high-end luxury programs, that are designed to offer one-on-one care — may make assessments about individual psychopathology during detox so that any psychological issues may be managed properly.

It is important that you understand that the struggle doesn’t end with this decision; the treatment can be uncomfortable. Detox can be the most difficult part of the treatment process because the body struggles without the presence of alcohol that it has grown accustomed to, and this can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms.

We can help you pick a facility that suits your needs. Please call 1-866-429-7715 to get connected with an experienced treatment support representative today.

Alcohol Withdrawal: Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

Everyone will experience alcohol detox differently. However, most people will experience at least some of the following withdrawal symptoms:2

  • Racing heart beat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
Seizures are the most dangerous of the acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They occur because your brain and the cells within it actually begin to change as they grow accustomed to the persistent presence of alcohol and its sedating effects throughout your system.

When alcohol is abruptly removed from your system, your brain struggles to adjust to the rebounding level of stimulation. Sometimes the brain can’t keep up with all this new excitatory neuronal activity, and this can result in a seizure.3

The risk of seizure remains high, in some cases, for several days after the last drink. Therefore, it is vital to your treatment course that you begin with detox and have all of the alcohol removed from your body first. Beginning treatment for alcohol abuse after safely completing detox is the best way to set yourself up to maintain sobriety — that way, the most physically uncomfortable part is over, and you can focus your efforts on recovery.

What to Expect from Alcohol Detox

The severity of a person’s withdrawal during detox is closely related to how severe and long-standing his or her addiction has been to that point.It is important to keep in mind that your experience of detox — its severity and duration — can differ from what you read here or what you may have observed in other people. Exactly how your detox progresses will be influenced by many factors, so it’s difficult to determine with accuracy what course your detox may take.

However, it is possible to get a general time frame for the detox process, complete with the progression of symptoms.

The First Hours of Alcohol Detox. Cravings are some of the first symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and a definitive sign that the body is beginning the detox process.

  • Cravings can occur within hours of taking a final drink and continue far into the detox process.

The first hours of detox may also involve symptoms such as:2

  • Physical sickness.
  • Anxiety, depression, or irritability.
  • Spikes in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Nightmares, insomnia.
  • Tremors: Physical tremors are quite common for all levels of alcohol addiction.
  • For more extensive addictions, symptoms may persist and get progressively worse throughout the detox process.

The First Two Days of Alcohol Detox. After the initial hours of detox come more severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, which can range from from hallucinations to deadly seizures.

The symptoms that develop within the first two days of detox can become life-threatening as the brain reacts to alcohol leaving the system.2

  • Hallucinations are possible during this stage of detox.
  • Seizures are possible as well, most commonly in the first 12 to 48 hours after the last drink, but can continue for days after the process begins.3
  • Rapid heart rate will continue and chest pain may arise, which may indicate heart or blood pressure issues.
  • Delirium tremens: a severe, dangerous effect of acute alcohol withdrawal (see below for symptoms).4
  • For many, the detox process does not end at 48 hours.
  • Severe or long-standing cases of alcohol addiction may require particularly close monitoring for days after the decision to detox is made.

The Rest of the Alcohol Detox Process. Detox can continue for many days after the initial withdrawal symptoms develop. It is likely that your cravings will grow and physical discomfort will increase somewhat as detox gets underway. If present, and not managed closely, seizure activity may continue and also increase in severity.

After the first 48 hours of detox, seizure risk will begin to lessen in many cases. However, continued medical observation may be required, as the risk of extreme confusion and cardiovascular events such as heart attack, and even stroke remains elevated.

These symptoms usually occur within 48 to 96 hours after the last drink, but occasionally they have a delayed onset, starting between 7 and 10 days after the last drink.2

Delirium tremens symptoms include:4

  • Body tremors.
  • Agitation or irritability.
  • Fever and sweating.
  • Extreme confusion or disorientation.
  • Rapid mood changes.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.

As mortality rates in unmanaged cases of delirium tremens are quite high, sedating medications, diligent supervision, and supportive care will be important until the health risks subside over the course of a few days.

Risk Factors for Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens won’t develop in every recovering drinker, but because it is so dangerous you should have a physician or other addiction treatment professional assess your risk in order to best prepare for potential complications.

The rapidity of onset and severity of symptoms can depend on how much and how often a person drank.

Risk factors for developing delirium tremens during alcohol withdrawal include:4

  • The cessation of drinking after a time of drinking heavily.
  • Not eating enough food during a period of chronic or heavy drinking.
  • Head injury, infection, or illness in a person with a history of heavy drinking.
  • History of alcohol withdrawal experiences.
  • Drinking a lot or often for more than 10 years.

Alcohol detox and withdrawal can be physically and psychologically taxing — health complications, cravings, and mood swings are not uncommon. This sounds like scary information, but it’s important to know the detox process inside and out, especially when you have a severe dependency.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. If you need help finding a good detox program, please call 1-866-429-7715. We’re here to help.

Can I Detox from Alcohol at Home?

Even if you decide that you’d prefer to detox from alcohol abuse at home, finding professional supervision is extremely important.Alcohol detox and withdrawal carry the risk of extreme health consequences, including hallucinations, seizures, and death. Finding a proper detox program — whether it be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis — is paramount to your recovery safety.

There are outpatient recovery programs that allow you to work through recovery from home, but you should consult with your healthcare provider before committing to outpatient detox, as it may not be the most appropriate option in all instances.

Relatively mild symptoms of withdrawal may be managed at home with appropriate medications and frequent check-ins with a supervising physician. However, it is difficult to predict every last withdrawal development and, further, tough to control for all the variables at home. For these and other reasons, undergoing detox at a facility and then working through the rest of treatment from home is a great option for many in early recovery.

Alcohol Detox Treatment

Many of the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal will have largely faded after five days of detox, though some may persist for a week or longer. Any serious symptoms still present at this point will continue to be medically managed at the detox center.

Medically assisted detoxification involves professional health monitoring during the detox phase to ensure your safety throughout the risky alcohol withdrawal effects.

Traditional treatment will offer you supportive therapy that will help prepare you for returning to everyday life and drinking temptations.

Luxury treatment also provides quality substance abuse treatment, but these facilities additionally place focus on privacy and comfort. In a luxury or executive program, you’ll find many amenities — private rooms, internet access, recreational entertainment, and more one-on-one care.

Because alcohol detox, withdrawal, and recovery can initially be such an uncomfortable process, luxury settings are ideal for recovering alcoholics. Many opt to undergo treatment in the best luxury residential rehab programs in the country, where they will also receive psychological counseling, and support from other recovering alcoholics.

That said, traditional treatment programs employ similar therapeutic approaches, and can be every bit as beneficial to those in recovery. The number of amenities may come close to that of the luxury centers, but the treatment services are frequently offered at a lower cost. Whatever your choice, make sure that you put your health first — both physical and mental — throughout the process.

 

2 How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

 

How long does it take to detox from alcohol? You are likely to experience the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if you drink heavily every day, and then suddenly stop.The symptoms of withdrawal are a reflection of your body’s physiological dependence on the booze. How bad it gets depends on a number of factors that vary among individuals.

Essentially, drinking every day causes your body to ‘expect’ the depressive effects of alcohol. This adjustment of the body’s norm must be continually fed by more and more alcohol to be sustained. With the abrupt discontinuation of alcohol intake, the body cannot relax in the same way. Without the alcohol to ‘steady’ the central nervous system, the body undergoes a period of overactivity. This is the source of the withdrawal syndrome.

There are several types of alcohol withdrawal syndromes, classified by the degree of severity and complications. In general, the more intensive, daily drinking – as opposed to periodic “binge” drinking – you do, the worse the withdrawal syndrome.

Withdrawal phenomena can generally be divided into minor withdrawals and severe withdrawals, a.k.a. delirium tremens or the “DTs.” Let’s look at each in turn.

How Long To Detox From Alcohol: Minor Alcohol Withdrawal Duration and Symptoms

How long do alcohol withdrawal symptoms last? When a patient is in for a mild case of withdrawal, he or she can expect approximately one week of noticeable symptoms, with peak severity occurring within the first few days.

If your drinking problem is complicated by other medical or psychiatric issues, be aware that the withdrawal syndrome for alcohol can take longer and, in some cases, be much more dramatic.

You can begin experiencing symptoms of withdrawal as soon as the normative level of alcohol in your blood drops, within hours of your last drink. Paradoxically, you can experience mild withdrawals even while still tipsy or drunk.

During the first 24-48 hours, minor symptoms of withdrawal occur, including anxiety and depression, fatigue, and mild confusion. The detoxifying individual may also have nightmares by night, and mood swings by day. Many people find they are unusually jumpy or irritable.

These minor symptoms are fairly common, but patients should remain conscious of the possibility of escalation. The next level of symptoms is a bit more harrowing, and may indicate your withdrawals have not yet peaked. They include:

  • Pale, clammy skin
  • The “sweats”
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea, possibly vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Physical tremors

These symptoms represent an intermediate stage between mild and severe withdrawal, and can be useful from a diagnostic perspective. They offer a final chance to seek medical attention before a full-blown case of the DTs develops.

When detoxification is medically supervised, as it generally should be, addicted patients may receive either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Outpatient, or “ambulatory,” treatment is the norm for less serious cases because there are readily available ways to minimize the harm potential of withdrawals. However, even outpatient detox patients need to be accompanied by a friend or family member who can keep an eye out and take action if things get bad.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol: Severe Cases

Severe withdrawals occur in approximately one in four long-term heavy drinkers, most of whom are over age 30 and drink at least half a 750ml bottle of hard liquor a day. Severe alcoholic withdrawal resembles a kind of psychosis, with both physical and mental symptoms. Collectively, the worst of it is known as “delirium tremens,” from the Latin for ‘shaking madness.’

Delirium tremens may develop any time between 12 hours and 4 days after the last drink. The range of onset is fairly wide. There is, however, usually a window of opportunity consisting of the first 24 to 48 hours of detoxification. So even if your body is gearing up for a horrific case of the DTs, it will likely take at least a day to get to that point.

How long does alcohol withdrawal last in cases of delirium tremens? It can last for minutes, hours, days, even weeks. Most acute episodes are resolved within five days. Each case is different, however, making it difficult to predict precisely when and for how long the DTs will last, if they occur at all.

When overtaken by the DTs, you may experience severe agitation or anxiety. Some patients break out in fever. Trembling is common, but could escalate to a point of seizures. Major confusion develops – a kind of dense mental cloud that makes it hard to discern what’s going on. Visual or auditory hallucinations can further complicate a bad situation.

3 How To Detox From Alcohol – Home Remedies

Many people don’t take alcohol detox seriously enough for several reasons. It’s a legal substance that is commonly used and the withdrawal dangers aren’t widely known. Detoxing from alcohol is a two-phase process. The first phase begins within 6-24 hours of the last drink of alcohol and can last up to 5-7 days. It’s during this period that the person could experience some dangerous withdrawal symptoms that may require medical attention and should be monitored very closely should you decide to do this at home. The second, and longer, phase of alcohol detox occurs over many months as the brain slowly begins to resume normal functioning. This is when sleep patterns are re-established and emotions are regulated.

Preparation for Alcohol Detox at Home

The Environment

One of the reasons that you are likely choosing to do this at home instead of in an institution is “comfort”. If so, be sure to have everything on hand to make your stay as comfortable, and safe, as possible. The alcohol withdrawal and detox doesn’t last long but don’t expect to be going out on the town during the process. You will be home for the duration so have something to keep yourself busy, whether it be books, movies, games, etc. Also, get rid of all the alcohol in your home. No joke. There is no “saving some for a special occasion” or “just in case”. Just get rid of it – toss it or give it away immediately. Trust me – you will not be able to resist the temptation once the withdrawal symptoms set in.

Support

Did you line up a family member or friend to come and stay with you? If not, do so now. This needs to happen from Day 1, particularly when it comes to alcohol detox. Probably after Day 3, you will be in the clear and they can just check on you, but this will vary on a case by case basis.

Home remedies for alcohol detox

1. Dietary Changes

vegetablesWhile there may be periods of time where you have no appetite or are unable to keep anything down, diet is critical and having the right foods and beverages on hand is very important. You’ll want to pick up lots of fruits and vegetables, whether they are your favorites or not. This is about replacing the toxins that are leaving your body with good things that are going to make you feel better, and Cheetos or Moon Pies aren’t going to cut it. Berries are an excellent snack that contains natural sugar, which is something that ex-drinkers tend to crave. Oats are also good for controlling blood sugar and serve as a relaxant. Bananas are great for lifting mood and a great source of energy, fiber and potassium. Also pick up some food that is high in protein, like chicken, fish or even peanut butter. When you do eat, it’s ok to only eat in small portions. Don’t force yourself to eat large meals as this isn’t necessary.

Avoid junk foods and include nutrient rich foods in your diet if you want to get the maximum benefit out of the detox. Junk foods with main ingredient as refined sugar or carbohydrate should be avoided to get effective results. The main motive of detox is to flush out the toxins from the body, so, you may also want to stay away from caffeine as it promotes chemical build-up. Eat fresh and natural food during the detox regimen. The fresh food will provide essential nutrients to your body and help in the internal healing process.

2. Drink enough water

It’s crucial that you drink moderate to large amounts of water. Do not consume more than 2 quarts in an hour, however. It is fine to mix in a few sports drinks for flavor but try to stick primarily to water for fluid intake. Drinking enough water will ease the withdrawal symptoms and allow the body to flush the toxins out of your body more easily. Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee as much as possible. Your sleep patterns will already be very disturbed. These drinks only exacerbate that and will not help calm yourself.

It is very important for you to drink around 100 ounces of water every day to wash off the chemicals, toxins and alcohol from your body. Drinking water at regular intervals will also help you to combat dehydration caused by alcohol consumption.

3. Have enough vitamin B

Alcohol consumption on daily basis causes the deficiency of vitamin B. In order to heal the body from within, it becomes very important to replenish and restore this vitamin in the body. In addition, the restoration of magnesium and vitamin C is also imperative to ensure smooth body functions.

4. Use Milk Thistle & Kudzu

Milk thistle extract acts as a natural cure to remove the toxins from the body. It not only blocks the absorption of alcohol in the liver but also reduces the severity of side effects of alcohol consumption. These milk thistle capsules not only promote liver health, but boosted immune response in clinical trials.

Kudzu has been used since times immemorial to cure several ailments and treat alcohol addiction. The powerful medicinal virtues and antioxidant properties of this herb reduces the damage and regenerates the damaged liver tissues. To curb the craving for alcohol, take ten grams of kudzu powder every day.

5. Use Angelica Extract

Angelica reduces the craving and withdrawal symptoms of alcohol. It is an anti-inflammatory herb that curbs the desire of having alcohol. This herb can cause sickness and nausea if you go back to drinking at all. The recommended dosage is three to five drops per day. You just have to add the extract to a glass of water and have it. This herb will also relieve headaches and bloating symptoms caused due to abstinence from alcohol.

6. Add Cayenne Pepper to Food

Cayenne pepper reduces the craving and increases your appetite. Adding pepper to food can ease the most common withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and decreased appetite you must be facing after quitting alcohol.

7. Drink Passion Flower Tea

Since many people suffer from insomnia and delirium after giving up alcohol, drinking passion flower tea can help them to alleviate these symptoms to a great extent.

8. Basil

Basil’s potent medicinal value induces spiritual healing. Basil is one of the most effective herbs to curb alcohol craving. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This helps to free the body from harmful free radicals and detoxifies the body properly. You need to pluck some soft basil twigs and soak these overnight with twenty peppercorns in a glass of water. Regular intake of this water can easily curb your desire for alcohol.

9. Bitter Gourd Leaves

The leaves of bitter gourd help to restore the damaged liver. These leaves are full of valuable compounds that can cure alcoholism to great extent by flushing out the toxins from the system. You need to grind soft bitter gourd leaves and extract its juice. The juice should be consumed fresh with a glass of buttermilk.

10. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an ancient herb and has powerful medicinal value. This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is an excellent way to improve the brain function and detox your whole body. This herb alleviates alcoholism related tension and stress and induces a sense of well-being. One teaspoon of ashwagandha with a glass of milk should be taken twice a day. Alternatively, ashwagandha supplement capsules could be used as well.

11. Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is a supplement which improves the function of nervous system and brain. While acting as a blood purifier, it also helps to decrease the stress and anxiety related to alcoholism. The recommended intake is about 50 grams that is to be taken three times daily.

The above mentioned home remedies can stimulate your stamina to combat alcohol addiction and help you overcome the withdrawal symptoms. Before you decide to fight the addiction, consult your doctor for more information on herbs and other supplements. You should also consult a physician to know if you are healthy enough to fight the addiction on your own and do not need any medical assistance. Fighting an alcohol addiction might seem to be difficult, but the right treatment can make it possible for you to win this battle.

Other Activities

Other things you’ll want to do during detox to ease symptoms include taking frequent baths, or sitting in a pool if you have one available. The water temperature should really be to your comfort – whatever is going to make you feel better and more comfortable at that moment. It could be the complete opposite just a little while later. Mild exercise, such as stretching and going for a short walk, may also help with blood circulation and anxiety through the release of endorphins. Rest when you are able to and keep your mind busy when you aren’t. Don’t worry about what time it is or isn’t. Your body clock isn’t going to be right for quite some time so sleep when you can. When you can’t sleep, keep your mind occupied with those books or movies that you have on hand and planning that wonderful new life free from alcohol.

cravings in detoxDealing With Cravings

Cravings are a normal part of any addiction and are common-place during withdrawal. They can also pop up months or even years after you stop using drugs or drinking. . Here are some important things to remember about alcohol cravings and some ways to deal with them.

What You Should Know About Cravings:

  1. They are not caused by a lack of willpower or motivation. However, that doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or failing to do something right.
  2. Cravings don’t mean that your detox and withdrawal aren’t working.
  3. Cravings are never constant and their severity lasts for a very short period.
  4. Psychological or physical discomfort can trigger the cravings. Managing this discomfort can reduce the cravings to a significant extent.

Things You Can Do to Manage Cravings:

  • Identify cues or “triggers” that may have brought on the cravings. They could be people, places or things that remind you of alcohol. Re-direct your mental energy towards ways in which you can avoid these same triggers in the future.
  • Remind yourself of why you stopped consuming alcohol in the first place. This would be the time to re-list the negative effects that the alcohol use had on your life and also list the positive things that you stand to gain by staying clean.
  • Call on others for help. This is where a Support Network comes in, family members and friends that support your recovery.
  • For those that are spiritual, meditation and prayers can play a significant role in keeping the mind calm and helping you focus on things that are important.

After Alcohol Detox

After about 36 hours, you will be generally uncomfortable and mostly irritable for the rest of the week. Continue with your detox routine, healthy diet, vitamins, supplements, moderate exercise and intermittent sleep. In less than a week, you should be ready to resume some “normal” activities provided they are not too stressful. What’s most important to note here is that you’ve simply detoxed from alcohol, nothing else. You have successfully gotten the toxins out of your system but, unless you make some other changes in your life, you will more than likely end up right back where you were a week ago – or worse. To prevent this from happening requires several things:

  • Coming to the understanding that Alcoholism is a disease
  • Considering getting additional help or treatment
  • Finding a good support network

With alcohol detox, generally your appetite will increase. This is great because chances are you’ve been starving yourself and are massively undernourished right now. However, make the right choice and put some good things in your body for once. On the flip side, if you’re not feeling well, it’s fine to eat in small amounts but when you do eat something, eat the right things.

If this is your first go around with a detox experience, be glad that it’s over. Don’t stop keeping yourself updated as things change quite quickly. If you’ve been through this before, the alcohol detox will likely not come as much of a surprise to you, yet the new developments in this field may do you some good and, hopefully, keep you moving in the right direction.


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