What You Need to Know About Alcohol Detox
Alcohol addiction is more common than you might think. There are various ways of treating this, and the best course of action is to undergo a proper treatment plan that looks at different treatment options. More often than not, the first step on the road to recovery is alcohol detox.
Alcohol detox is something that can technically be done by yourself or with the help of others, and it’s proven to be extremely effective. There are a few concerns you may have, and plenty of questions that might be at the forefront of your mind.
Primarily, most people want to know how long it takes to detox from alcohol. We can’t give a straight answer to this as it depends on various factors. However, we have created this blog to explain alcohol detox in more detail and give you an idea of how long it can take.
What is Alcohol Detox?
Essentially, when you detox from alcohol, you’re removing harmful toxins from your body. You’re abstaining from alcohol which your body has grown used to processing.
Alcohol is a drug, which means it interacts with your body in a range of negative ways. It makes you feel certain things. Also, your organs work harder than usual to filter the substance through your body.
The main idea of alcohol detox is to completely cleanse alcohol out from your system. You stop drinking it, and your body naturally starts flushing it out. But there can be some serious side effects along with this process.
What Happens During A Detoxification?
The alcohol detox process is never going to be simple. What tends to happen is that you stop drinking, then your body experiences withdrawal symptoms. For some people, these symptoms come on within hours of their last drink. In many ways, this is a good indication of whether or not you have alcoholism (addiction to alcohol). If you can’t go a few hours without having a drink before withdrawal symptoms kick in, then you know you have a problem.
The reason you get withdrawal symptoms is that your body has become used to alcohol. You’ve built up a high level of tolerance, and it creates a chemical addiction inside your body. If you now remove alcohol from your system, then your body goes a little bit haywire. It starts to think: ‘hang on, we’re used to alcohol in here, and now there isn’t any!’. Your regular alcohol consumption has pretty much tricked your body into thinking it needs alcohol to feel normal. Therefore, the body goes into a state of shock when there’s no alcohol to process.
As a result, going into detox from alcohol can be potentially dangerous. If you have a severe alcohol dependency, then removing it from your system can cause all manner of issues with your health.
Some of the common symptoms you’ll experience through alcohol detox are:
- Delirium tremens (DTs: confusion and shivering)
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid heart rate
- Vomiting or nausea
- Stomach pains
- Mood swings
We’ll talk more about withdrawal symptoms further on in this blog, but you can see how they can be detrimental to your health. For this reason, we highly recommend medically-supervised detox or a Medication-Assisted Treatment program.
How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol?
So, how long will it take you to complete your alcohol detox? The answer is: it depends. It depends on your alcohol addiction, how you’re detoxing, and any other underlying health issues you might have.
For some people, the whole detox process can last around one week. Their symptoms kick in a few hours after their last drink. Then they peak within the first few days, then get better in the second half of the week. But this is usually the case for people with mild alcohol addiction. These are people that maybe haven’t been drinking persistently for that long but have recognized the need to address this issue.
For others, it can take weeks to detox from alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms kick in very quickly and can persist for a good couple of weeks. More often than not, people who experience long detoxes have a high dependency on alcohol. They may have been drinking consistently for years on end, so their body is so used to having alcohol in its system. This makes it harder to flush out, hence the extended withdrawal symptoms.
So, as a very general rule, the length of time it takes to detox will be longer if you consume more alcohol, have been drinking for an extended period, and have a high dependence on alcohol. However, it’s impossible to look at one person and tell them the detox will last x amount of days.
How Should You Go Through An Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
We mentioned right at the beginning that there are different ways of trying to detox from alcohol. If you want, you can attempt to do it on your own, but there are dangers to be aware of!
Maybe you wake up after another session of drinking and realize that things have to change. You decide to cut alcohol out of your diet starting right now. It’s an easy way to start, and it’s completely free, but is it the most effective?
Mostly, if you detox on your own, then you just rely on your own inner will. You can throw out all the alcohol in your home, avoid going to the bar, but you’re pretty much responsible for every step. All it takes is one bad day, and you suddenly fall back into the clutches of alcohol.
What’s more, when you’re doing it alone, your withdrawal symptoms are harder to manage and can last for longer as well. Again, this is because you have no real support to help you during your alcohol detox. Your body has to cope by itself.
Get Detox Support!
The good news is, there are so many great medical treatments out there for alcohol detox.
By getting medically monitored treatment, you can tackle gnarly withdrawals. Attended a rehab facility, which means you stay there for the duration of your detox. Instantly, the chances of getting through it are improved as there is literally no way of accessing alcohol at all.
You could also receive medication to tackle your withdrawal symptoms. This makes it far easier for you to cope with a lack of alcohol during your detox. As a result, you see a better response from your body, which means it can be quicker to detox from alcohol when compared to if you went through detox on your own.
It’s far more effective to go through an alcohol detox when you also receive medical assistance.
Withdrawal symptoms are usually the leading cause of relapses, and you have no way of managing them on your own. For people with very mild alcohol dependence, then it could be possible to detox by yourself. But it’s often a far better idea to invest in rehab and get help while surrounded by professionals.
Not only that, but it’s far safer as well. We mentioned that some of the withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and can result in life-threatening scenarios. By attending a medically monitored treatment facility, you’re always in the hands of someone who is looking out for you. They can prevent these scenarios and keep you in good health while you detox.
Alcohol Detox Can Take Days or Weeks to Be Successful
Alcohol detox is a proven method of kicking your addiction to alcohol. By ridding this toxin from your system, you get to a place where your body no longer depends on it.
The length of time it takes you to get through your alcohol detox will vary based on the severity of your addiction and how much you depend on alcohol every day. It can take a few days, but it can also take weeks as well. The best way to ensure you see the best results is by attending a medically monitored treatment facility. Here, you get all the help and assistance you need to ensure you get through the detox with minimal issues.