If you’ve been drinking consistently for any amount of time, you may notice certain differences once you stop drinking for even a day. It could be a bad headache or poor mood, but there’s always something wrong when you cut out alcohol. What’s happening in these cases is that your brain has become dependent on the presence of alcohol, altering its baseline level of function over time.
Detoxing from alcohol starts from the moment you have your last drink, and it comes with side effects known as withdrawal symptoms. It’s common for those suffering from alcohol use disorder (SUD) to experience severe withdrawal symptoms that can range from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening depending on how heavily alcohol has been abused.
Alcohol Withdrawals and Detox
Withdrawals can be felt when ending consumption of any substance that has been abused over long periods of time. For alcohol, these symptoms occur due to the brain being depressed while under the influence meaning certain functions and reactions within the brain are essentially turned off. This is what gives you a feeling of relaxation when you drink as anxious or stressful thoughts are suppressed.
Since the brain no longer needs to do any extra work to help improve your mood due to the presence of alcohol, it starts losing its natural ability to do so. Remove alcohol from the equation and your brain is left in a state of panic as it has to learn how to function in a sober environment, sometimes for the first time in years.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
The first symptoms felt during your detox from alcohol can occur in as little as two hours and can last for up to five days, although most subside much sooner. A majority of symptoms will arise within the first 48 hours and reduce in severity from there, all of which can be helped with medical detox.
The First 12 Hours
This will be when the more uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms start, including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Headaches and migraines
From 12 to 24 Hours
Typically you’ll start feeling the first set of symptoms lessen while other, often more serious ones begin, such as:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
The Last 24 to 48 Hours
Severe withdrawal symptoms and delirium tremens will be at their peak leading up to the 48 hour mark. Previous withdrawal symptoms may become even stronger with additional side effects including:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Shallow breathing
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Full-body seizures
Start Medical Detox Today at ARC
When you’re able to go into recovery knowing that you’ll be able to safely make it through detox, your chances at a successful treatment program can increase significantly. Get the help you need to beat addiction once and for all by contacting the ARC team any time of day.