Voluntarily giving up unhealthy habits such as overeating, smoking, and alcohol can be incredibly difficult life choices. Alcohol, in particular, can be especially difficult because there is more of a challenge than just giving up the substance.

Not only can addictions hurt and tear apart relationships, but the process of dropping addiction can be extremely intense. With alcohol addiction, the body becomes highly dependent on alcohol the more you abuse it. Your body is then wired to believe it needs alcohol as a necessity and can become sick after dropping it.

This sickness is known as withdrawal and is one of the greatest challenges in overcoming addiction. This makes detoxification, or detox, one of the most crucial parts of the recovery process. It typically requires heavy monitoring of the addict as well as regular medical treatment. Many addicts may go into the experience blind. However, it is important to know what to expect in the process and how long it may take.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be a gradual process that takes time to recognize, and only grows more intense. Some people are not aware of the symptoms, nor do they know before jumping into recovery. Educating yourself on recovery is always important to know what to expect, especially for portions such as detox. While symptoms may vary, you can expect the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart-rate/blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Fevers
  • Seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia

Though some symptoms are not particularly dangerous and will eventually go away, there are more severe symptoms too. In these cases, it is essential to have medical assistance available at all times throughout detox. Being professional monitored is also vital to avoid particularly dangerous events.

Factors That Influence Withdrawal

Just as no person experiences addiction the same way, no addict experiences withdrawal the same way. There are numerous factors that affect withdrawal and some may have it more severe than others.

Some of these traits are aspects you have no control over, such as age, gender, and height. Other factors include weight, how long drugs have been abused, how much is consumed at once, dehydration, or additional drug abuse.

Depending on your combination of these aspects, your withdrawal may be more or less severe. For example, a heavier person who has abused alcohol longer and in greater amounts will more likely suffer serious withdrawal symptoms. Such addicts may require medical supervision in their detox program.

The Withdrawal Timeline

Even though withdrawals may be different for everyone, there are general symptoms and timelines that can be followed.

The soonest an individual can experience withdrawal can be as early as six hours since their last drink. These include more minor yet still problematic symptoms such as anxiety, headache, and increased heart rate. Within the next 12 to 48 hours since drinking, typically minor symptoms will continue. For particularly severe addicts, symptoms such as seizures may begin to surface.

After 72 hours of sobriety, the most severe symptoms begin to roll in, particularly delirium, seizures, and other physical ailments. While some addicts may never experience symptoms this severe, others may experience them and for longer periods. Every person experiences detox differently, some experiencing symptoms for a few days, a week, or even a month. But finding medical monitoring and assistance can always help for the better.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.


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