To end an addiction to alcohol, you will have to go through withdrawal. Sadly, many individuals are so worried about what alcohol withdrawal will be like that they choose not to get sober at all—having a better understanding of what to expect can encourage those struggling with alcoholism to seek help and begin the journey to recovery. Contact Crestview Recovery by calling 866.262.0531 to speak with a professional about our alcohol addiction rehab program.
What Is the Goal of Alcohol Detox?
Before discussing the details of a typical withdrawal from alcohol, it’s important to understand the goals of medical detox. The withdrawal phase is when the body learns to adjust to daily life without having alcohol in the system. The goals of detox are to break the chemical ties to alcohol and to get over the worst of symptoms before beginning treatment.
In as little as a week, individuals who were physically dependent on alcohol can begin to function normally without it. Although withdrawal may be unpleasant, this step is a necessary beginning to treatment. Ending all alcohol consumption in a controlled, safe environment means that patients can start to live their lives without relying on addictive substances.
Another goal during the formal withdrawal period in a detox or treatment facility is to help patients get over the worst of their symptoms before further treatment begins. This is key because it’s impossible to reap the benefits of drug and alcohol addiction treatment if you’re simultaneously battling withdrawal symptoms. Once withdrawal ends, patients are generally more open and ready to tackle the root causes of alcoholism and how to prevent relapse.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms to Expect
The physical symptoms of withdrawal are perhaps the biggest concern for prospective rehab patients. While it’s true that alcohol withdrawal can be unpleasant, keep in mind that there are resources, medications, and help that medical professionals can offer.
Physical symptoms of withdrawal typically start about eight hours after the last drink of alcohol. These symptoms might start with mild nausea and abdominal pain. Between two to three days into the detox, physical symptoms often reach their peak. During this stage, it’s normal for patients to have an unusually high heart rate, struggle with temperature fluctuations, or to sweat profusely.
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms to Expect
In addition to physical symptoms, alcohol withdrawal can cause psychological and emotional symptoms. Patients who have a mental illness diagnosis might find that their conditions get worse during withdrawal. Even those without mental health problems might encounter some issues developing during the week or so of withdrawal.
Some of the psychological symptoms that can occur during a withdrawal from alcohol include:
- Suicidal thoughts
Typical Duration of a Withdrawal From Alcohol
Alcohol withdrawal treatment often lasts about a week, but that can vary depending on each patient’s specific needs. The severity of an individual’s addiction and how long he or she has been drinking can extend the withdrawal period. Overall, withdrawal tends to peak at about 72 hours after the last drink of alcohol. From there, symptoms recede, and most patients get through withdrawal completely within eight days.
Your Addiction Treatment Plan
Alcohol addiction treatment programs are about more than just the process of detox. Once withdrawal ends, the real work begins. Tackling addiction and embracing sobriety for a lifetime requires a variety of therapy approaches.
On the road to recovery, some or all of the following options may be a part of an ongoing treatment plan:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing how people think and behave. It has been found to be an effective treatment for alcohol addiction, as it can help individuals to identify their own patterns of thinking and behavior that may lead to drinking and other addictive behaviors.
Group therapy is an effective type of treatment for alcohol addiction. In this form of therapy, individuals meet with a group of peers to discuss their experiences and learn from each other. Group therapy can help individuals understand how their behaviors influence others, as well as gain insight into the behavior of others with similar addictions.
Dual diagnosis treatment is a form of addiction treatment that addresses both the physical and mental health of an individual. This type of treatment is designed to provide comprehensive care for individuals who have both an addiction and a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety.
Mindfulness training is a type of treatment for addiction that focuses on being aware of the present moment. It involves helping individuals to pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judgment or criticism. Through mindfulness practice, individuals can learn to identify triggers for addictive behaviors and develop more healthy coping strategies.
Contact Crestview Recovery Today
Alcohol addiction doesn’t have to control your life for one more day. Call 866.262.0531 to learn more about Crestview Recovery and start planning your journey to health, happiness, and sustainable recovery.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.