The effects of alcohol withdrawal begin when someone addicted to or physically dependent on alcohol suddenly stops using the substance. The physical impacts of quitting alcohol “cold turkey” range from mild to severe. Moreover, alcohol withdrawal symptoms actually peak a few days following the last usage. Thus, the first day or two may not seem so difficult. But around the third or fourth day, the worst symptoms can hit. People sometimes misjudge the severity of their symptoms or fail to account that things could get worse during withdrawal. This all makes detoxing from alcohol best done with medical supervision in a safe, controlled environment.
At Olympic Behavioral Health in Boyton Beach, Florida, our team of highly trained experts has helped guide people through their initial stage of recovery, which is usually a drug and alcohol detox program. If you or someone you care about might benefit from this crucial first step in treatment, reach out to Olympic Behavioral Health by completing our online contact form or calling [Direct]. Our team is standing by to help you or a loved one overcome the effects of alcohol withdrawal.
Mild Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal
Withdrawal can occur even in cases where addiction isn’t present. Basically, anyone who uses an excessive amount of alcohol over a period of time is in danger of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Sometimes alcohol abuse results from someone self-medicating for their anxiety, depression, or stress.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can appear within eight hours of a person’s last drink. As previously indicated, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms peaks a few days into the withdrawal period. Some mild effects of alcohol withdrawal can persist for weeks or even months after a person quits drinking.
Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
Severe Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal
The previous section covered the milder effects of alcohol withdrawal. While some effects of alcohol withdrawal may persist for some time, some severe effects of alcohol withdrawal can occur. Foremost among these is delirium tremens (DTs). Only a small number of people who withdraw from alcohol experience delirium tremens. But its rarity is no reason to dismiss it. If not adequately addressed, delirium tremens can be potentially fatal.
Delirium tremens is marked by hallucinations, seizures, high blood pressure, fever, agitation, and confusion. The possibility of this condition during withdrawal reinforces the necessity of seeking professional alcohol detox to ensure safety. Getting the detox process right sets the foundation for the rest of recovery. Thus, not only will detoxing from alcohol at a specialized treatment center help avoid the severe side effects of alcohol withdrawal, but it also increases the chances for a successful recovery.
What Comes After Alcohol Detox?
After completing alcohol detox, many people wonder what comes next. Treatment options largely fall into three categories, which are medication, behavioral therapy, and support groups.
Medications are often used in alcohol addiction treatment to:
- Reduce cravings
- Alleviate withdrawal symptoms
- Prevent relapse
The medications used for treating alcoholism often produce mild, annoying side effects when a person drinks alcohol. This is a deterrent as their body and brain begin to associate alcohol use with adverse side effects. Meanwhile, behavioral therapies like contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy target the underlying behaviors and thought patterns that drive someone’s addiction.
Lastly, support groups have long been a staple of alcohol addiction treatment, the most common example being Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA and other 12-step programs connect participants to sources of mutual support, education, and resources that aid in staying on the right track. For most people, treatment after detoxing from alcohol involves combining medications, therapy, and support groups for the best results.
Overcome the Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal at Olympic Behavioral Health
Detoxing from alcohol sets people up for genuine, long-lasting recovery from alcohol addiction. At Olympic Behavioral Health, our team has many years of experience ensuring that an alcohol detox program is a safe and comfortable setting to begin a recovery journey. Learn more about our evidence-based alcohol detox methods from our team by filling out our online form or calling [Direct].