Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline: What To Expect When Quitting Drinking
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Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline: What To Expect When Quitting Drinking

Written By Legacy Healing Center - Aug 11 2020

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline: What To Expect When Quitting Drinking

Table of Contents

When withdrawing from alcohol use, the symptoms experienced can differ widely in severity from one person to the next. If a person is addicted to alcohol and drinks very heavily, their alcohol withdrawal timeline will likely be different from that of someone who doesn’t indulge in alcohol use as frequently. 

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Side Effects Associated With Alcohol Detox

It’s very important that anyone who is quitting drinking alcohol do so under the supervision of an alcohol addiction detox program that includes professional supervision and medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms that often accompany alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to very severe. 

Alcohol withdrawal can cause side effects that range from mild anxiety to an increase in blood pressure, hallucinations, and confusion. The severity of symptoms experienced during alcohol detox can be affected by several factors, including:

  •     The length of time a person has been abusing alcohol
  •     How much alcohol is being consumed each time a person drinks
  •     Medical history
  •     Any co-occurring mental health issues
  •     Whether there is a family history of addiction
  •     The existence of childhood trauma
  •     High levels of stress
  •     Using other drugs along with alcohol can also have an effect on withdrawal symptoms, making detox potentially more dangerous

For these reasons, every person undergoing alcohol detox will have a somewhat different experience. Some will not necessarily go through every stage in the alcohol withdrawal timeline. 

The Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

The alcohol withdrawal timeline is generally discussed in terms of its stages:

Stage 1 

During this first stage, mild withdrawal symptoms may be felt. Stage 1 in the alcohol withdrawal timeline will usually occur about eight hours after having had a last drink. 

Stage 2

After 24-72 hours of not having had a drink, symptoms will begin to become stronger. Stage 3 symptoms can quickly occur during the end of this stage of withdrawal.

Stage 3

About 5-7 days after the last drink, the symptoms of withdrawal will begin to taper off and become less intense. Going through these stages on the alcohol withdrawal timeline will depend, again, upon the factors associated with a person’s individual relationship with alcohol and other factors. 

Stage 4

Following the first week of withdrawal from alcohol, some symptoms may persist for weeks if treatment isn’t provided.

What Happens During Medically Supervised Detox

Once you’ve decided to enter a detox program for alcohol use disorder, your physical symptoms will need to be monitored and stabilized. Medications may be used during an alcohol detox program to alleviate some of the more intense withdrawal symptoms that might occur, such as nausea, dehydration, or seizures.  A medical professional will generally use benzodiazepines to provide comfort during the alcohol withdrawal timeline. The medication will help you feel better and also prevent more serious complications from occurring.  

As your body tries to return to its normal state of balance without alcohol in your system, your bodily functions will need to be constantly monitored for your safety. Vital signs like your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing levels, and body temperature should be supervised closely during detox.

One of the most serious side effects that can accompany alcohol withdrawal is Delirium Tremens (the DTs). DTs can include tremors, hallucinations, seizures, and changes in how your brain regulates your blood circulation and your breathing. DTs can occur without warning, usually one or two days after your body has gone without any alcohol. This is why Stage 3 symptoms can occur almost simultaneously during or on the cusp with Stage 2 on the alcohol withdrawal timeline.

Alcohol Detox Programs at Legacy Healing Center

It’s never advisable to quit drinking very suddenly and on your own if you are suffering from alcohol use disorder. Entering an alcohol detox and rehab program at Legacy Healing Center is vital to your well-being and your potential for long-lasting sobriety.

Not everyone going through the alcohol withdrawal timeline suffers the more severe symptoms like DTs, thankfully. But withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, especially if withdrawal is not performed under medical supervision.

The professionals at Legacy Healing Center will ensure that your physical symptoms are kept under control with 24-hour monitoring and the use of medications, if necessary, as you move through the stages of withdrawal.

We understand the seriousness of alcohol addiction and the ways it can change brain functioning. Once you’ve completed the stages of withdrawal and your body is free of alcohol, you will be ready to focus on the treatment our center offers for recovery, including:

  •     Behavioral therapies
  •     Individual therapy
  •     Group counseling
  •     Holistic care, such as yoga and meditation

After completing the alcohol detox program at Legacy Healing Center, you can opt to enter our inpatient program or take advantage of one of our outpatient programs. Call today to learn more about how our medically assisted alcohol detox program can help you get on the road to a successful recovery and a happy, healthy fulfilling life, 888.534.2295

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