What Does Alcohol Detox Look Like?

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 15.1 million adults in the United States suffer from an alcohol addiction and are in need of treatment. Some choose to stop drinking “cold turkey” without professional help. Many experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, ranging from mild to serious. They may even be life threatening if not promptly treated.

If you have a family member or friend who drinks regularly, learn to recognize the symptoms of alcohol detox. That will help you determine when to seek proper care if your loved one stops drinking and goes through alcohol withdrawal.

Mild Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol detox usually depend on how long and how frequently the person drank. Mild symptoms generally occur within six to eight hours of the last drink, but may not appear for days later. Most symptoms peak in the first three days, although some may linger for weeks.

Someone experiencing mild alcohol withdrawal may present a variety of symptoms. Physically, they may experience tremors, sweating, clammy skin, a gray complexion, and rapid heart rate. Some may suffer from anxiety, nervousness or depression. Others may be jumpy, irritable, or experience mood swings. Yet additional symptoms include nightmares, muddled thinking, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.

Serious Symptoms, DTs During Alcohol Detox

Serious problems may occur within the first two days after the person stops drinking. These may include hallucinations, stupor, and even seizures.

The most dangerous form of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens(commonly referred to as the “DTs”). Also known as alcohol withdrawal delirium, delirium tremens can occur if a person stops drinking after a period of heavy drinking, or goes “cold turkey.”

Symptoms may also appear in alcohol abusers who suffer a head injury or have certain infections. They can occur as early as 48 to 96 hours after the last drink, but also may not manifest until seven to 10 days following the last drink.

Those suffering from delirium tremens may exhibit signs of neurological and/or mental changes. These may include delirium (severe confusion); deep sleep (lasting a day or more); hallucinations; sensitivity to touch, light, and/or sound; and changes in mental abilities. These may be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as chest pain, stomach issues, or fever.

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Delirium tremens requires professional attention.

After the Symptoms, Seek Treatment

Kicking an alcohol habit goes beyond the initial withdrawal symptoms. The person wishing to break an alcohol habit needs treatment to learn how to live without alcohol. Alcohol treatment centers offer professional assistance for those who need direction to begin and sustain a life without alcohol.

For you or your loved one is interested in a holistic approach to alcohol treatment, our trained admissions counselors can answer your questions and address any concerns. The first step to on your next path is calling us at 866-349-1770.