Have you ever wondered about the steps involved in detoxing an alcoholic? The severity of the symptoms the person undergoing the process will experience varies, depending on how long they have been drinking, how much they have been drinking and their own body chemistry. The general time frame, including the progression of symptoms, will be as follows:
• During the first few hours of alcohol detox, the person experiences cravings. This is a positive sign that detox is has started. The cravings can start within hours of the last drink of alcohol and continue for several days. At this point, it’s not uncommon for physical symptoms like tremors to be felt. Some people feel physically ill or experience changes in mood, and this may be the extent of their withdrawal symptoms. Others find that their withdrawal symptoms persist and may worsen over the several hours or days as the detox process continues.
• In the first two days of alcohol detox, withdrawal symptoms can become more severe. As the alcohol continues to leave the body, some people may even experience hallucinations. Seizures may occur during this stage, and may reoccur for days. The detox process may not end 48 hours or so after the last alcoholic drink was taken. This is an indication of an extreme addiction, and detoxing an alcoholic after this point requires very close monitoring.
• After the first two days of alcohol detox, symptoms may continue for some alcoholics who are detoxing from long-term or severe addictions. A person in this situation may continue to experience cravings and hallucinations, as well as seizures. The symptoms can last for up to five days, and it’s important that someone with a history of heavy or long-term drinking undergo detox in medically supervised conditions so that their condition can be constantly monitored.
How Medically Supervised Detox Helps Alcoholics
When an alcoholic goes to a medically supervised detox facility to start on the initial step in the treatment process, they can receive help and support from experienced professionals. The staff can explain the process and what the person will be experiencing over the next few days. Undergoing detox will not be as stressful if the client knows and understands what to expect.
Once the detox process starts, the client’s condition can be closely monitored. Medication (over the counter and prescription) may be provided to help him or her feel more comfortable during the process. In extreme cases symptoms, a doctor may recommend sedation be given when detoxing an alcoholic may result in harm from the effects of the withdrawal symptoms.