For those with alcohol use disorder, withdrawal is just the first (but very important) step on a long journey to recovery. These first few weeks are critical because they are when the risk of relapse is highest. However, try not to have too many firm expectations, as symptoms can continue for multiple weeks in some people. Individuals should be prepared to be uncomfortable during this period and have medical help available if needed. This is the period in which delirium tremens is most likely to occur, which requires immediate medical attention. Drinking plenty of liquids, especially fresh water, will help you to flush the toxins out of your body.

If you drink alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop or seriously cut back on how much you drink. Generally, you may need treatment for alcohol misuse when you can no longer control the amount you drink or how long you drink. You may also know that you need help with alcohol misuse when you begin experiencing consequences directly related to your alcohol misuse—but alcohol detox you still can’t stop or cut back on the amount that you’re drinking. To learn more about when you may need help for alcohol misuse, visit our informational page on helping someone with an alcohol use disorder or take our alcohol misuse self-assessment. Once you have gone through withdrawal, you’ll also need a plan to remain alcohol-free. Start by talking to a healthcare provider about the treatment options for alcohol dependence.

When to seek help

Call your provider or go the emergency room if you think you might be in alcohol withdrawal, especially if you were using alcohol often and recently stopped. Call for an appointment with your provider if symptoms persist after treatment. Most people who go through alcohol withdrawal make a full recovery. This depends on the individual and the results of laboratory tests that their doctor may order.

Manifesting two or more of these symptoms for an extended period is indicative of withdrawal syndrome. This condition is more common in heavy drinkers who are detoxing than in people who are gradually cutting down on unhealthy foods like sugary drinks. If you get withdrawal symptoms, you will need medical support to help you reduce and stop your drinking. That will help you decide on the best plan to stop drinking, with support which can include specific prescription medication to take during your withdrawal. This sort of medication can be essential for people with severe alcohol dependence, to avoid the danger of having a seizure during withdrawal, which could result in permanent injury or death.

Duration of Alcohol Withdrawal

Anyone who is having severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, such as seizures, hallucinations, or prolonged vomiting needs immediate medical treatment. That could be because they didn’t have normal sleep patterns to begin with. Daily drinking can cause disruptions in sleep as well, so quitting suddenly can be a shock to the system. After six days of sobriety, these people report vastly different experiences with sleep and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms. People with moderate-to-severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms may need to be treated at a hospital or other facility that treats alcohol withdrawal.

alcohol detox symptoms

Currently, health experts do not know if any factors influence the timeline of alcohol withdrawal syndrome aside from how much alcohol an individual typically consumes. More studies are necessary to better understand this condition and how certain factors may affect the timeline and severity of symptoms. A doctor may also prescribe a sedative drug, such as a benzodiazepine, to help reduce withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness or agitation. Benzodiazepines like Librium (chlordiazepoxide) and Ativan (lorazepam) may also help to prevent minor withdrawal symptoms from becoming more severe.

Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually appear when an individual discontinues or reduces alcohol intake after a period of prolonged consumption. In most cases, mild symptoms may start to develop within hours of the last drink. This activity reviews the evaluation and management of alcohol withdrawal and highlights the interprofessional team’s role in the recognition and management of this condition. Your primary care provider can advise you on where to seek care for the physical and mental symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It’s very important to seek help if you struggle with alcohol use disorder.

alcohol detox symptoms

When a person enters addiction treatment, a clinical assessment will be conducted in order to understand their history with alcohol abuse. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a series of symptoms caused by stopping use of alcohol. Even milder symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be too uncomfortable to tolerate. Withdrawal from alcohol can also cause psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a set of symptoms that occur when someone who is physically dependent upon alcohol suddenly stops drinking or drastically reduces their alcohol intake. The exact timeline for alcohol withdrawal varies from person to person. It’s based on several factors, including how long, how much, and how regularly you have been drinking alcohol. When someone drinks alcohol for a prolonged period of time and then stops, the body reacts to its absence.

Aspects of the fear response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as danger and contamination fear, xenophobia stress, and compulsive checking stress, can also be considered as part of a broader COVID-related stress construct (25, 26). Fear of COVID-19 has been studied extensively as a contributor to adverse mental health outcomes during the pandemic (27, 28). Moderately severe AWS causes moderate anxiety, sweating, insomnia, and mild tremor. Those with severe AWS experience severe anxiety and moderate to severe tremor, but they do not have confusion, hallucinations, or seizures. When not properly treated, AWS can progress to delirium tremens (Table 38–10).

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