Alcohol withdrawal is experienced when somebody suddenly stops drinking alcohol completely. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Generally, the longer somebody has been alcohol dependent, the more severe the symptoms. Although many people who suffer from alcohol withdrawal will progress past this stage and begin to experience positive effects, it is essential to be medically supervised during the detox phase.

Alcohol’s Effect on the Body

Alcohol inhibits normal brain function by disrupting connections between neurons. When we drink excessive amounts of alcohol, we have reduced levels of coordination and judgment. Over time, alcohol abuse will cause the brain to build up a tolerance to these effects.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Removing the addictive substance is the first step towards conquering addiction, and it’s necessary to give your body time to adjust to functioning without it. When somebody with alcohol dependence quits drinking, the absence of alcohol in their body shocks their nervous system. As well as placing a physical strain on the body, alcohol withdrawal is also a major hurdle to successful recovery from addiction.

Alcohol detox can be extremely challenging and painful as the withdrawal symptoms can have severe emotional and physical effects. The symptoms can be so distressing that they can cause a relapse. However, while it cannot remove all withdrawal symptoms, a supportive detox plan allows people to stop drinking safely and more comfortably.

Common Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Everyone who undergoes alcohol withdrawal will have a different experience, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Sweating

How Can a Professional Help?

Some of the symptoms people may experience with alcohol withdrawal are dangerous, which is why medical support is necessary during this phase.

Going through the detox process with medical supervision is much more likely to yield positive results and protect the client physically and psychologically. Detox is certainly not an easy process, but it is an essential stepping stone for people who want to recover from alcoholism. After the detox process finishes, clients can then engage in therapy sessions to aid the recovery process.

Treatment For Alcohol Withdrawal During Detox

Medical professionals who specialize in detox and withdrawal are there to help people manage this initial stage in their recovery. In some cases, doctors will decide that medication could be a helpful addition to the detox program they have planned with the client, and continuous monitoring of the client’s vital signs ensures they remain safe at all times. According to research, clients should also go through detox in a protective and quiet environment, and often recovery centers have therapists who are available to support you while you go through this challenging process.

How Long Does Detox Usually Last?

The length of the detox stage will vary between individuals and the substance they are detoxing from. Some withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days, while others can last a few months or longer.

Assessments are necessary before treatment begins to determine how long the detox will likely take and if additional treatment should be administered.

Many factors can affect the length of withdrawal, including:

  • Duration of alcohol use
  • Addiction severity
  • Family history of addiction
  • The willingness of the individual to recover
  • Level of family and social support
  • Medical or psychological conditions
  • History of relapse
  • History of withdrawal

The risk of uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms is possible for many substances that are abused. Therefore, it is important to have immediate access to medical staff who can help manage symptoms and administer medical assistance if necessary. Due to the potential risks, it’s not advisable to undergo detox on your own at home and without medical help.