A common misunderstanding among Americans today is that if they are able to maintain a mostly normal level of functioning in life, they don’t need help for alcohol abuse. However, the fact that a person is able to keep their job, family, and social commitments going while drinking daily or binge drinking should never be one’s criteria for success.

Among problem drinkers, alcohol is consumed in different ways. Drinking too much or too frequently is dangerous and can be a precursor for or evidence of addiction. Binge drinking and daily drinking are both common forms of an alcohol use disorder.

Any person who problem drinks daily should consider a medical detox. For those who drink less frequently or tend to binge drink may not need a full medical detox. At The Ridge, we are trained to identify the need for various types of detox and can help you get into the right level of care based on your needs. Give us a call and we will help you make the best decision.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Alcohol Detox

When an individual is dependent on alcohol, stopping drinking for even a few hours can cause an onset of withdrawal symptoms. An alcoholic will face symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, and anxiety which worsen for the first few days of recovery. If the person continues to abstain from alcohol, he or she can potentially suffer from hallucinations, seizures, and other serious side effects. For this reason, alcohol detox should never be attempted alone or without consulting a physician. In order for a person to safely detox from alcohol, they must be evaluated by a professional to determine the level of care they require.

The initial phase of getting clean from alcohol is actually the admissions and assessment process. This step should not be underestimated because it helps treatment providers understand the individual and his or her need and allow them to determine the best way to help the person. Depending on the results of the assessment, a person might be referred to a hospital setting to help manage the most severe symptoms of withdrawal and keep the person comfortable. Others, due to their alcohol abuse history, are found to be less dependent on alcohol and can safely detox with support at a regular inpatient program.

The admissions process helps treatment centers connect clients with the right kind of care. Too much care and supervision can cause frustration and lack of commitment among the client. Too little can put the person in danger. It is important during the admissions process that clients are honest and open about their drinking, the challenges they are facing, and any other substances they have been using in order to help treatment providers get a real understanding of the problem.

Early Withdrawal: Up To 12-Hours Post Alcohol

The first signs of alcohol withdrawal usually begin to show about 6 to 8 hours after the last drink. As the person’s blood alcohol level drops, they will begin to feel shaking, nausea, and insomnia. Anxiety will begin to set in, as well as abdominal pain and body aches, during which time the person might panic and want to drink. These symptoms are similar to a hangover but at a more severe level.

Phase one of alcohol detox spans 6 to 12 hours after the last drink. It is categorized by:
Early Withdrawal: Up to 12 Hours Post Alcohol

  • A headache due to dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting due to an increase in production of stomach acid and irritation of the lining of the stomach
  • Insomnia because alcohol disrupts the natural stages of sleep, causing deep sleep early on and wakefulness later
  • Excessive sweating due to dilated blood vessels and increased heart rate
  • Shaking due to a sudden rush of brain activity that the body can’t keep up with
  • Anxiety because of a disruption in brain neurotransmitters and cravings

Mid-Withdrawal: 12-72 Hours Post Alcohol

During the next 12 to 72 hours, the individual faces other symptoms which are more dangerous than during the first phase. The continual rise in blood pressure and body temperature, irregular heart rate, and confusion can set in at the beginning of mid withdrawal. The individual will continue to become dehydrated and may struggle with a loss of appetite and resulting malnutrition. This is when the most serious side effects of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens, or DTs, occur.

Phase two of alcohol detox spans 12 to 72 hours after the last drink.

It is categorized by:

  • Low blood sugar caused by the sudden elimination of the sugar found in alcohol as well as malfunction of the liver
  • Hallucinations caused by a flood of dopamine, low blood sugar, and vitamin deficiency
  • Mood swings because of changes in hormone levels in the brain
  • Seizures – 4% of people withdrawing from alcohol experience grand mal seizures one to two days after quitting, which are caused because of a depletion of nutrients, dehydration, and insomnia
  • Delirium tremens – 4 % of people withdrawing from alcohol experience this rapid onset of extreme confusion, seizures, tremors, increased heart rate, and hallucinations, which are due to sudden changes in brain functioning.

Treatment & System Management: In order to ensure patient safety, the recovering alcoholic must be monitored closely during the days after alcohol detox begins. Medications can help manage insomnia, dehydration, nausea, and seizures. Tranquilizers like benzodiazepines are used to calm the brain and reduce over-activity. Other medications can be used to manage blood pressure, heart rate and reduce cravings and other symptoms. Nutritious supplements and healthy meals help regulate the mind and body and aid in recovery.

Post Withdrawal: 2 Weeks To 1-Year Post Alcohol

After the individual has safely gone through the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, they can begin to focus on the emotional symptoms, which are the most noticeable in the post-withdrawal phase. Lasting from two weeks to one year after alcohol use, post-withdrawal is the period of time in which therapy and rehab should be utilized.

While the individual will be happy that they have successfully detoxed from alcohol and are on their way to a healthier, sober life, the challenges are not over yet. The person must deal with cravings to drink, triggers to revert back, and changes in brain chemistry as the body and mind continue to adjust to functioning without alcohol. During this time, therapy and counseling to manage the emotional side effects are vital. Anxiety, depression, and continued cravings are common side effects of post-withdrawal, but as the person learns about the disease of addiction, is able to heal physically, and feels comfortable talking with their therapists, they will learn coping skills and ways to deal with cravings and regulate mood.

Ongoing: Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Those who continue to feel severe effects caused by alcohol withdrawal in the weeks and months after detox suffers from Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). These symptoms often show up unexpectedly, but they are relatively common.

Symptoms of PAWS:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble with memory
  • Sensitivity to stressful situations

What Are The Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal That Occur During Detox

Those who drink large amounts of alcohol or do it frequently build up a tolerance to their substance. They require more alcohol to feel the same effects, and in turn, can consume more alcohol without it seeming to affect them.

Both binge drinkers and daily drinkers can be considered to have an alcohol use disorder. Both can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking, although this is less common among binge drinkers who go days or weeks between binges. Binge drinkers become used to the hangovers and the day-after-drinking feeling. Daily drinkers, on the other hand, become uncomfortable within the first 8 to 12 hours of stopping drinking, which is usually enough to make them start drinking again.

In this way, life continues for the alcoholic – they go about their daily lives, but do so while under the influence, which leads to loss of productivity, changes in mood, irritability, anxiety, and other consequences. When they try to stop drinking, they face alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure

Long-Term Treatment and Rehab After Detox

At this time in a person’s recovery, they should continue talking to their therapist and participate in support group sessions. Medications can also be used during this time such as Disulfiram, which causes extreme nausea if the person drinks, makes drinking undesirable. Anti-depressants and sleep help control anxiety and help the person sleep.

The further out from detox the person gets, the less severe their symptoms will be and the better they will begin to feel. Setbacks should be expected, however, as with all recovery experiences. With the help of a trusted treatment center like The Ridge and participation in support groups, the process of rebuilding one’s life of sobriety will get easier over time.

Do Binge Drinkers Have Different Symptoms During Detox?

Binge Drinking. Binge drinking is the act of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a relatively short period of time. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, although it is still a form of alcohol abuse, and it can easily lead to addiction.

We’ve all seen the results of binge drinking. The individual quickly becomes intoxicated and unable to control their actions, leading to a host of consequences. Drunk driving, unsafe sex, falls, injuries, poor judgment calls, trouble with the law, and domestic violence are all associated closely with binge drinking. Binge drinkers are also at risk for alcohol poisoning and even death because of high levels of alcohol in the body. Not only does binge drinking lead to serious immediate threats to one’s health and the well-being of those around them, but studies also show binge drinking has long-term effects as well.

Binge drinking statistics according to the CDC:

  • Adults (ages 18+):1 million adults ages 18 and older (6.2 percent of this age group) had an alcohol use disorder. This includes 9.8 million men (8.4 percent of men in this age group) and 5.3 million women (4.2 percent of women in this age group).
  • About 6.7 percent of adults who had an alcohol use disorder in the past year received treatment. This includes 7.4 percent of males and 5.4 percent of females with an alcohol use disorder in this age group.
  • Youth (ages 12–17): An estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 (2.5 percent of this age group) had an alcohol use disorder. This number includes 298,000 males (2.3 percent of males in this age group) and 325,000 females (2.7 percent of females in this age group).
  • About 5.2 percent of youth who had an alcohol use disorder in the past year received treatment. This includes 5.1 percent of males and 5.3 percent of females with an alcohol use disorder in this age group.

Daily Drinking

Another form of alcohol abuse is frequent drinking. Those who drink daily don’t always binge drink, although they sometimes do. These individuals get used to having a certain level of alcohol in their system at all times and must drink daily in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Daily drinkers often pride themselves on being functioning adults – they maintain their careers, they volunteer in the community, and they fulfill most family and household duties. They might even be viewed by co-workers and loved ones as successful and accomplished. However, these daily drinkers are addicted to alcohol and need help. Functioning alcoholics live in denial that they need help and for the most part feel pretty secure in their lives and abilities. However, given time, the addiction begins to catch up with them and things start to unravel.

How Many People Need Alcohol Detox?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2015 NSDUH:

  • An estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 (2.5 percent of this age group) have an alcohol use disorder. This number includes 298,000 males (2.3 percent of males in this age group) and 325,000 females (2.7 percent of females in this age group) (SAMHSA).
  • 62 percent of underage high school seniors have been drunk at some point.
  • Youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and four times more likely to develop a dependence on the drug.
  • An estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 18 live with a parent who struggles with alcoholism.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse has multiple negative effects that are experienced physically and mentally. The most common physical effects of alcohol abuse are as follows:

  • Brain damage
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Addiction

Do You Need Alcohol Detox

Do I Need an Alcohol Detox?

The question remains: Do I need alcohol detox? The simple test is to attempt to go s without drinking. If you can’t abstain for one month because you can’t resist the urge to drink or because of the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, you need help. Professional alcohol detox is available to help you safely withdraw from alcohol so that you can emerge from the control of this addiction and get back to the life you once enjoyed. Alcohol detox at a trusted facility will do more than help you get clean. It will help you develop the skills and resources necessary to remain sober.

Consider going to Psycom.net and taking the alcohol self-assessment to honestly look at your level of drinking and determine your need for treatment.

If you’ve determined you have an alcohol abuse problem, and once you’ve admitted you need professional detox, the first step is to contact a treatment facility and go through their professional assessment process. An assessment will help determine the level of care you require to safely recover. At The Ridge, our team of physicians and treatment providers conducts assessments on all incoming clients, in order to determine their needs and create a treatment plan.

Start Medical Detox In Cincinnati Ohio, Today!

Not everyone requires the same level of care for alcohol treatment. Sometimes the individual can recover through an Intensitve Outpatient Program aided by counseling and support group participation. Others need supervised detox at an inpatient facility that offers structure and supportive care. Still, others require medical detox or even detox in a hospital setting where they are monitored closely by a team of medical experts and treated with medication and supportive care to ensure safety.

The Ridge is a premier drug and alcohol rehab center. We take our clients’ safety seriously, which is why we conduct assessments on our clients prior to enrolling them in an alcohol detox program.

Call (844) 661-2791 now to learn more about our treatment programs!