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How Do I Know If I Need an Alcohol Detox?

April 8, 2019

How Do I Know If I Need an Alcohol Detox?

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alcohol detoxAlcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease and it can be fatal if not treated. For the past 32 years, the month of April has been designated as Alcohol Awareness Month by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (now Facing Addiction with NCADD). The organization has worked tirelessly to increase prevention and treatment awareness and reduce the stigma associated with the disease of alcoholism. This year’s theme is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” and you can do your part by embracing your own recovery and/or urging a friend or loved one to get help.

The Facts About Alcohol Detox

Detox is often the first step in recovering from an alcohol use disorder, so in honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, we’re answering the question: How do I know if I need an alcohol detox?

Making the decision for yourself or a loved to enter a detox program isn’t easy, especially since denial is a powerful side effect of addiction. Many people fear detox and have misconceptions based on the intense pain and sickness betrayed in movies and on television shows. Detox is physically and emotionally difficult. But the right professionals can help you cleanse the body of alcohol while monitoring and treating any withdrawal symptoms or potential medical complications.

While medical detox is always recommended, treatment can depend on factors including the history and severity of your drinking, medical history, family history, physical health and any co-occurring mental disorders.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Everyone experiences alcohol withdrawal differently and symptoms can range from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening. Withdrawal typically sets in between six hours to one day after your last drink and can be broken down into three stages:

  • Stage 1: lasting 8 hours: anxiety, depression, insomnia, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and heart palpitations
  • Stage 2: lasting 24 to 72: irritability, irregular heartbeat, sweating, confusion, and increased blood pressure, body temperature and respiration.
  • Stage 3: lasting one week: hallucinations, disorientation, agitation, fever and seizures

In general, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fast heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety

Understanding The Dangers of DTs

For heavy drinkers, alcohol detox is potentially life-saving. If you have been abusing alcohol for a long period of time and abruptly stop drinking, you can experience a severe and life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens (DTs). DTs typically occur three to 10 days following the last drink and include:

  • Agitation
  • Global confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Hypertension
  • Diaphoresis (excessive sweating with no explanation)
  • Autonomic hyperactivity (tachycardia and hypertension)
  • Having seizures or going into a comma

About Alcohol Detox at Makana Path

Attending a treatment program is always the best choice when detoxing from alcohol, but it’s especially beneficial if you or someone you love is dealing with a severe addiction. At Makana Path, our alcohol detox services aim to help clients ease withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and stabilize physical and mental health. To learn more about our medical detox program, call us today: 866-922-0776.