Alcohol detox: How long does it take

However, if a person already has alcohol use disorder, they can help prevent some of the withdrawal symptoms by speaking to a doctor about safe withdrawal. Treatment options for alcohol withdrawal syndrome typically involve supportive care to ease the effect of the symptoms.

alcohol detox side effects

For more in-depth discussions of some of these issues, the reader is referred to subsequent articles in this issue. Some people can be treated at home, but others may need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications such as seizures.

The Biochemistry of Alcohol Withdrawal

Severe manifestations include alcohol withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens. Benzodiazepines should never be stopped cold turkey as doing so can lead to life-threatening seizures. A person detoxing from benzodiazepines should only do so under the care alcohol detox side effects of a medical professional. Within a few hours after beginning alcohol detox, one could begin to experience some light withdrawal symptoms depending on the severity of the AUD. These withdrawal symptoms may include sweating, nausea, and irritability.

What are 4 warning signs of a damaged liver?

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling.
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Dark urine color.
  • Pale stool color.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

If you’re a heavy drinker—even if you don’t have alcohol use disorder—you’re likely to experience at least some symptoms if you stop drinking suddenly. For women, that’s four or more drinks and for men, it’s five or more.

Why Detoxing from Alcohol Alone is Dangerous

In these cases, a person should work with a doctor or healthcare provider to develop a schedule that they can follow safely to decrease dependency. About 8 hours after the first drink, the initial stage of withdrawal symptoms begins. Alcohol use disorder can lead to various physical and mental health conditions. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include nausea, anxiety, and a fast heart rate.

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Alcohol withdrawal symptoms—physical, mental, and emotional—can range from mild to severe. It comes in doses of two tablets, taken three times or four times per day. Medical detox offers support and structure, so you’re not enduring this first and potentially dangerous phase of recovery on your own. Trained medical professionals can help keep you comfortable and safe. Alcohol affects multiple bodily functions that results in alcohol withdrawal when attempting to stop. First and foremost, excessive drinking excites and irritates the central nervous system.

Mild, Moderate, and Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Therefore, we recommend detoxing at a medical facility to ensure safety, security, and comfort. People who have been dependent on alcohol for a prolonged period or engaged in heavy drinking often experience uncomfortable and unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Diazepam and chlordiazepoxide are long-acting agents that have been shown to be excellent in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Because of the long half-life of these medications, withdrawal is smoother, and rebound withdrawal symptoms are less likely to occur. Lorazepam and oxazepam are intermediate-acting medications with excellent records of efficacy.

alcohol detox side effects

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