If you’ve developed a dependency on alcohol, understanding how to detox from alcohol safely is critical.
When this happens, it’s important to seek professional help to guide you through the detoxification process. Joining a detox program for women will ensure you’re in good hands as your body clears the toxins from your system.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how to detox from alcohol safely.
How to Detox from Alcohol Safely
Heavy drinking over time can do a lot of damage to the body. There are so many waste products and toxins that build up – and rely on you to keep drinking. When you stop, the body begins to cheer as it rids itself of all this buildup.
You likely won’t be cheering, however, as you go through detox. It can be a tough, painful process. The higher the alcohol consumption and the longer it’s been used, the tougher the detox.
Good news, though — on the other side of detox, you will find feelings of clarity and peace. So, let’s get started on how to detox from alcohol safely.
Here’s how to detox from alcohol safely.
The detox process is different for everyone based on personal factors. Having a timeline of the detox process will allow you to have an understanding of what to expect and can help you see that the process is moving along.
The Industrial Psychiatry Journal gave an overview of the detox timeline:
Believe it or not, withdrawal symptoms (minor symptoms) can begin within 6 hours after the last drink. Those who are heavy drinkers can experience more severe symptoms within this time frame.
12 to 24 Hours
During this time frame, it is common for those going through detox to experience hallucinations. This means seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. Though it may freak some people out, most medical professionals are not overly concerned with these hallucinations.
24 to 48 Hours
More minor symptoms will start to arise during this period. Shaking, upset stomach, and headaches are the most common. While they may peak during this time, these symptoms may actually last up to 5 days before disappearing.
48 to 72 Hours
Not everyone will experience this, but delirium tremens (DTs) also known as alcohol withdrawal delirium can cause sudden and severe issues within the brain and nervous system. It can lead to a very increased heart rate and body temperature as well as seizures.
Detox symptoms reach their peak at this time – and they are usually the worst. For some, moderate versions of withdrawal symptoms can last up to a month.
The first step in getting sober – and ridding your life of alcohol – is detoxification. Generally, the detox process is followed by a treatment program that offers support and healing to overcome addiction.
There are 3 steps in the detox process.
- Initial Intake: When you have chosen to let go of alcohol, a medical team will review your history of alcohol/substance abuse, as well as any medical or psychiatric history you may have. This gives them a picture of your overall health and how impactful the detox may be to your mind and body.
- Medication: Through the detox process, decisions will be made based on your health about giving medication to help reduce the symptoms.
- Finding Stability: When the detox symptoms begin to dissipate, various therapies will be used to help heal the mind and body. This is often done with the support of a longer-term treatment program.
The Side Effects of Alcohol Detox
Alcohol affects the body’s nervous system – hence the relaxed feeling you get from drinking it. Trying to keep the balance, your brain makes more neurotransmitter receptors to stimulate the nervous system. So, when you stop drinking, the old and new receptors are losing their steady – and expected – flow of alcohol. The result? The nervous system is on overload.
The most common withdrawal symptoms are:
- Increased heart rate
More severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased body temperature
- Heart failure
As you move forward in life after detox, the coming weeks and months are often met with some additional withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Decreased appetite
- Mood swings
When undergoing alcohol detox in the care of professionals, measures are taken to keep the body in the best state of balance possible as this reduces the chance of any physiological upsets.
Medications are often used in alcohol detox treatment, such as benzodiazepines or the anti-convulsant, Keppra. Drugs like Valium and Ativan reduce the withdrawal symptoms and significantly reduce the incidence of seizures.
Due to their addictive nature, these drugs should only be used when recommended and handled by a medical professional.
Detoxing alone or at home without the constant monitoring and care of health professionals can increase your risk of something happening.
Dangers of alcohol detox are plenty — and potentially fatal. This can be a risk for anyone, but especially for those who have a long history of alcohol abuse.
What are the dangerous symptoms?
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Heart arrhythmias
- Kidney or liver dysfunction
- Extreme nausea
Seeking help from a facility that has a deep understanding of alcoholism and its withdrawal process can help you get through withdrawal safely. Further, they will be able to guide you through recovery.
Many different options of detox and rehab programs are available, but you should look for one that offers a holistic approach to healing. One that uses an evidence-based approach to overcoming the strongholds of alcohol addiction.
Getting through the detox process is hard. You will encounter some physical and mental feelings that you may have never experienced in your life. And you will likely question whether you have made the right choice in getting sober. However, choosing to go through detox with the support of others is always the right choice.
So many of us have sought alcohol as comfort during tough times, expecting it to be there for us and care for us when we didn’t have any other option. Instead, alcohol is a beast that tears lives apart. Ridding your life of this beast is not going to be easy because alcohol detox is a serious thing, but it is sure to be worth it.
Are you ready to take the first step today?