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Alcohol Detoxification: What You Can Expect

effects of alcohol withdrawal, What to Expect During Alcohol Detox, detox, Alcohol Detox

What to Expect During Alcohol Detox

When used in excess, whether it be by binge or daily drinking, alcohol creates a series of common symptoms while leaving the body. While the withdrawal process of mild alcohol use can be managed at home, often moderate to severe use requires the supervision of medical staff to detox safely. When in doubt, choose safety and consult a medical professional or addictions specialist before attempting to withdraw from alcohol use on your own. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Due to its impact on the Central Nervous System (CNS), when an individual abruptly stops their consumption of alcohol, a series of withdrawal symptoms ensue. Typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include: 

  • Tremors 
  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation 
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Loss of Appetite 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium Tremens 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures 

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to severe. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is related to the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption prior to stopping. Due to the risk of hallucinations and seizures, individuals who drank to excess for a prolonged period of time should detox under the supervision of a medical professional. Inpatient detox facilities offer a safe avenue to mitigate the effects of alcohol withdrawal on the brain and body.   

Inpatient Alcohol Detox

Alcohol withdrawal completed at the inpatient level is done at a properly staffed and monitored detoxification facility. Here, patients are assessed for their mental and physical health presentation and may be prescribed medication to reduce the risk of serious complications of alcohol withdrawal including hallucinations and seizures. In a detox facility, benzodiazepines, such as diazepam or lorazepam, are administered to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms as well as prevent seizures resulting from withdrawal. For patients with a history of seizures, anticonvulsant medications may be necessary in addition to benzodiazepines. These medications are administered by trained medical staff on an individualized treatment plan basis. Patients may also be administered fluids intravenously as needed due to the excessive sweating and nausea that can come with alcohol withdrawal. Once a patient is through the worst of their withdrawal symptoms, they are often provided with education around long term sobriety including referrals to treatment programs that offer longer term support than the detox facility. 

Detoxing from alcohol is often the first step in a long-term recovery journey. It can be a challenging step, so having the right information and support can be an essential factor to remaining alcohol-free long term. Contact us today to get more information about substance abuse programs. 


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