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Understanding the Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

The biggest reason that many people fear going into recovery for alcohol dependency is a reluctance to undergo alcohol withdrawal. Your body experiences a variety of changes as it tries to adjust to not receiving the alcohol on which it now depends. While the severity of alcohol withdrawal varies, admitting yourself to a detox program gives you access to professionals who provide medical and emotional support during the process.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol acts as a depressant on your central nervous system. Heavy use disrupts how the connections between neurons traveling to and from your brain. An alcohol abuse disorder often leads to problems with coordination and decision-making for this reason.

If you consume large amounts of alcohol regularly, your brain begins adapting to the quantity and raises the body’s tolerance level. That means you must consume larger quantities to experience the same effects. Drinking becomes something you depend on to get through the day.

When you stop drinking, your nervous system experiences a shock, leading to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Many alcohol abusers begin consuming even more alcohol when they start to feel the effects.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Confusion
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shaking and body tremors

One potentially fatal condition that could arise during alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens, often referred to as “the DTs.” The symptoms set in around two to three days after you have had your last drink. It tends to affect those with a severe alcohol addiction.

DT symptoms include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Going into an increasingly agitated state
  • Feelings of intense confusion
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

DT can be fatal to people attempting to stop drinking without professional help. Admitting yourself to a detox center puts you in the care of medical and substance abuse professionals who understand the alcohol withdrawal timeline. They make sure you remain stable and get through alcohol withdrawal safely.

Breaking Down the Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Let’s look at what happens during each stage of alcohol withdrawal.

Stage 1

You may start experiencing feelings of anxiety and nausea during the first six to 12 hours. It may be difficult for you to fall asleep. Some people already begin experiencing tremors.

Stage 2

The next 24 to 72 hours typically brings a ramping up of your symptoms. Some individuals experience spiking blood pressure, fever, an accelerated heart rate, and bouts of confusion. You could begin experiencing seizures and agitation as the DTs start setting in. Most people find that their alcohol withdrawal symptoms peak during this period.

Stage 3

Doctors watch for signs of the DTs, cardiac problems, or extreme hallucinations as you get through day five through seven. However, you could avoid those severe complications and begin seeing the intensity of your symptoms decrease.

You can experience a lesser form of alcohol withdrawal symptoms for weeks after these initial stages. What clients experience during their alcohol withdrawal timeline depends on their medical history, the amount of alcohol consumed before going through alcohol withdrawal, and their overall addiction history.

It is possible to die while going through alcohol withdrawal. The body experiences dehydration as it works to rid the body of the toxins left behind by alcohol.

Helping You Through the Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Atlantic Recovery Centers offers help to people looking for a safe place to work through their alcohol addiction. We have a residential treatment program with a wide range of therapies for clients. Our facility also offers the following services:

Clients can feel secure in the knowledge that our team will do everything possible to help them with their alcohol abuse disorder. Our customized addiction treatment programs are geared toward helping you to live a life free of substance abuse.

Learn more about our program by contacting us at 1-866-824-5193. Atlantic Recovery Center is always ready and willing to help in any way we can.