Alcohol Withdrawal & Detox
If you’re someone in Colorado whether in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, or anywhere else in the state and you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol you aren’t alone. Some of the most common questions people have about alcoholism include what withdrawal from alcohol is like, what the side effects of alcohol withdrawal are, and what alcohol detox is like, all of which are covered below.
For heavy drinkers who try to stop, some symptoms come along with it called alcohol withdrawal. Sometimes these symptoms are mild, but for some people, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be incredibly severe and dangerous.
When you are a heavy drinker, it depresses the functionality of your system including your brain and central nervous system. Your brain functionality is changed in a way that it adjusts to while you’re drinking, and if you stop, your body goes into a type of shock.
Most of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms and details of the typical alcohol withdrawal timeline chart are based on factors such as how much you drank and for how long.
Withdrawal from alcohol is something that should be done under medical supervision because it can be deadly.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are called alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and while there are individual differences, these symptoms tend to follow a general timeline.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
For many alcoholics, particularly heavy drinkers, the alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur within as few as six hours after your last drink.
The following is an overview of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms timeline and the alcohol withdrawal treatment guidelines:
- Early Stage: During early stage withdrawal from alcohol, one of the very first symptoms is typically tremors, and the person may start to feel agitated. During this part of alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms tend to be their mildest, and they last for the first 24 hours or so after a person took their last drink.
- Second Stage: During the second stage of alcohol withdrawal are some of the most severe potential side effects. During this time a person may experience everything from hallucinations to seizures, and this usually starts anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after the last drink, but it may take longer or happen more quickly.
- Third Stage: Third stage withdrawal usually happens at the point of alcohol withdrawal day 3. During this time is when dangerous things like delirium tremens begin, but not every person goes through this stage.
Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
The side effects of alcohol withdrawal can be pretty varied from person-to-person. If you’re someone who drinks every day but not necessarily heavily, you may only go through early stage withdrawal where symptoms include things like feeling anxious, depressed or irritable.
If you’re a heavy drinker, however, the side effects of quitting alcohol can be severe, such as full body tremors, and a state of delirium.
For most people, the very first side effects of quitting alcohol are usually the shakes or tremors.
Alcohol Detox Signs and Symptoms
The following are some specific possible symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, broken down into stages:
Early Stage Symptoms of Alcohol Detox
- Tremors and shakes
- Feeling nervous, anxious or depressed
- Irritability or restlessness
- Changes in mood
- Lack of clarity
- Lack of energy
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heart rate
- Clammy skin
Second Stage Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Seizures which can lead to muscle rigidity, loss of control of the bowels and bladder, breathing problems and jaw clenching
Third Stage Symptoms of Alcohol Detox
- Full body tremors
- Certain kinds of seizures called grand mal seizures
- Delirium or confusion
- Changes in mood
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Anxiety or fearfulness
- Long periods of sleep
Alcohol Detox in Colorado
Since so many of the possible alcohol detox symptoms are so severe, it’s important to go to a professional alcohol detox center, whether in Colorado or out-of-state.
During an alcohol detox program, a team of medical professionals works to help patients be safe and as comfortable as possible while their body removes alcohol and goes through the various alcohol detox symptoms. It’s an extremely important part of the process of recovery from alcoholism.
There are generally two types of alcohol detox program options. One is going cold turkey, but this can be the most uncomfortable and also the most dangerous, so it’s not often the best choice since the person stops drinking suddenly. Instead, many facilities will do a professional medical detox that includes lowering the amounts of alcohol consumed gradually. An alcohol detox facility can also administer medicines such as benzodiazepines to help the patient be more comfortable and also safer, and they can help mitigate some of the other indirect risks of detox from alcohol like dehydration and respiratory failure.
Other medications that may be given at an alcohol detox facility include Naltrexone, disulfiram which is a generic name for Antabuse or Antabus and Campral. Naltrexone can help reduce alcohol cravings, while disulfiram creates hangover symptoms right after someone has alcohol, which can help deter them from drinking. Acamprosate is a medicine given to help with the long term symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and detox like anxiety and insomnia.
How Do I Find Alcohol Detox Centers Near Me?
Alcohol detox and withdrawal is one of the most severe situations even as compared to drugs like heroin, which is why finding an alcohol detox treatment program is so important. If you’re in Colorado, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver or anywhere else in the state, The Recovery Village at Palmer Village specializes in helping people detox from alcohol. We also take patients nationally, have facilities outside of Colorado as well.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.