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Alcohol Detox

What is Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is the process by which your body rids itself of all of the alcohol in your system. This process is what leads to the negative symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. At an alcohol detox facility, your withdrawal symptoms will be treated with appropriate medical care. This helps make them less severe and easier to deal with. There are a few different medications used to help the alcohol detox timeline. These include:

  • Benzodiazepines, a nervous system relaxer that helps you sleep and reduces muscle spasms.
  • Naltrexone, a medication that helps reduce cravings for alcohol. It can also help prevent relapse by inhibiting the effects of alcohol if you do drink. 
  • Acamprosate, which is saved only for people with very long-term alcohol addictions. It helps reverse some of the damage that alcohol can cause on your brain, returning chemical imbalances to more normal levels. This helps reduce the cravings, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and restlessness that can result from alcohol withdrawal.
  • Disulfiram, which helps to prevent relapse by producing severe, negative side effects if you do drink. These can include nausea, headache, weakness, facial flushing.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

Alcohol is a substance that plays a large part in many people’s daily lives, from casual drinks with friends to parties to relaxing after a long day. In fact, over 80 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have consumed alcohol at least once in their lives, and over 50 percent have consumed alcohol in the last month. But contrary to many people’s belief that alcohol is harmless, it is in fact highly addictive. And once you are addicted, it can be all but impossible to stop drinking on your own. Alcohol rehab facilities exist solely to help people overcome alcohol addiction. Their programs often include both detox and rehabilitation services. One of the most common questions asked of alcohol rehabs is what the alcohol detox timeline is. Let us help you learn more about both alcohol abuse and the alcohol detox timeline.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

Most people are able to drink alcohol occasionally without ever developing issues with abusing it. Many others, however, end up abusing alcohol without even realizing it. Alcohol abuse usually begins with binge drinking, which is drinking enough alcohol to raise your blood alcohol level, or BAC, over 0.08%. For men, this is usually 5 or more drinks over a few hours, and for women it is 4 or more drinks. As someone gets used to drinking this amount of alcohol, they will need more in order to feel its effects. This leads people to drink more and more to get intoxicated. Once this happens, a person is very likely to develop an addiction to alcohol.

The Signs of Alcohol Addiction

If you are not sure whether or not you have an alcohol addiction, there are some signs that you can look for. People with an alcohol addiction often drink more than they planned to, and drink despite loved ones voicing concern about their drinking. They may also have tried to cut back on their drinking, but found that they could not. Personality changes are also common, including aggression, anger, withdrawing from social activities, and depression. And when someone with an alcohol addiction isn’t drinking, they may experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms may be what led you to worry about the alcohol detox timeline.

In addition to the above symptoms, below are 8 signs of alcohol addiction:

  • Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss;
  • Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings;
  • Making excuses for drinking such as to relax, deal with stress or feel normal;
  • Choosing drinking over other responsibilities and obligations;
  • Becoming isolated and distant from friends and family members;
  • Drinking alone or in secrecy;
  • Feeling hungover when not drinking;
  • Changing appearance and group of acquaintances you hang out with;

The Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal happens when someone who is addicted to alcohol stops drinking. The symptoms usually appear about 8 hours after their last drink, but can take as long as a day or two. These symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Shakiness in your hands
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache

For people with the most serious alcohol addictions, other withdrawal symptoms may complicate their alcohol detox timeline. Delirium tremens, or DTs, are a severe form of alcohol withdrawal. The symptoms can include fever, hallucinations, seizures, confusion, and agitation. People who experience delirium tremens may find that their alcohol detox timeline is longer than others, but it is very important for these people to seek help from an alcohol rehab with a detox program.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

The alcohol detox timeline can be just a few days, or up to a few months if withdrawal symptoms are not treated. Detox usually occurs in three different stages. Stage one begins within just a few hours of your last drink and includes mild symptoms like headache, upset stomach, and mild tremors. Stage two then begins after about 24 hours, and includes more serious symptoms like worsening tremors, nightmares, stomach issues, insomnia, and sometimes hallucinations. In stage three, usually 2-3 days after your last drink, these symptoms peak before slowly subsiding over the next week. For people experiencing DTs, the alcohol detox timeline can be a little longer, but are typically gone within a few weeks with proper treatment.

Get the Help at Detox Nashville for Alcohol Addiction

The idea of having to deal with the alcohol detox timeline can be frightening for someone who is addicted to alcohol. It is important to instead think about how much damage your drinking is doing to your overall physical and mental health. Compared to the life-long effects of chronic alcohol addiction, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are temporary things that go away with treatment. 

If you need help with alcohol detox, Detox Nashville is here for you. Contact us today and speak to an admissions counselor to discuss your needs and concerns with our highly-trained team of experts.