acquiesce - February 9th, 2021

What Does an Alcohol Detox Entail?

The term detox and rehab are commonly confused. Detox helps you to stop. Rehab helps you to learn how to continue life without abusing the substance/behaviour in question. Detox or detoxification is the process of clearing the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.

When battling an alcohol addiction, it is essential for you to undertake an alcohol detox before commencing the rehabilitation programme at Acquiesce. We are happy to arrange your detox placement for you, arranging all aspects including transportation to ensure a hassle free process, providing a seamless and fluid treatment journey.

What Is An Alcohol Detox?

During the Detox stage of your treatment, the alcohol is entirely flushed out of your body. When you quit drinking, your body takes time to adjust as it has become reliant on the chemicals produced from the consumption of alcohol. This is what causes the withdrawal symptoms that include:

  • Anxiety
  • Low mood or mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sweating
  • Aches and pains
  • Shaking
  • Retching
  • Seizures

Due to these withdrawal symptoms being difficult to cope with, many people are apprehensive to quit drinking. For some people, the withdrawals may only be minor, while others experience intense pain. The symptoms may change quickly, which is why it is important to detox under professional supervision, especially if seizures or delirium tremens (in rare cases) begin as these can be life-threatening without the right kind of help.

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin as soon as two hours after your last drink and subside within the first week, though some more mild symptoms may last for several weeks to a year.

What Happens During an Alcohol Detox?

The detox process can be broken down into five stages:

1. 6-12 Hours

During this initial time period, the withdrawal symptoms may be mild and then quickly start to worsen. Common symptoms during this stage are headaches, shaking, nausea and irritability.

2. Day 1

As you enter the 24 hour period following your last drink, the symptoms may become intense. These can include hand tremors, seizures and disorientation.

3. Day 2

The intense symptoms from the end of day one will continue into day two. As time goes on, symptoms may become more extreme, such as hallucinations and panic attacks.

4. Days 3 -7

Once the alcohol is flushed out of your body, withdrawal symptoms will go and return. This stage is where you are most at risk of potentially fatal symptoms such as delirium tremens, though this is rare.

5. After 1 Week

Following the first week of detox, the symptoms will significantly lessen, though some may still remain. Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome affects some people and can include anxiety, insomnia, exhaustion and delayed reflexes.

During the detoxification process, you may be prescribed medications to help reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms or to stop you from relapsing. These can include acamprosate, disulfiram, naltrexone and nalmefene. Acamprosate can help to prevent a relapse by reducing the alcohol craving itself through affecting the levels of the GABA chemical in the brain.

Disulfiram works by deterring you from drinking by producing unpleasant reactions if you do. These include nausea, chest pain, vomiting and dizziness. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors in the body which stops the effects of alcohol and therefore renders it useless in relieving the craving. Nalmefene blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and therefore reduces the craving for alcohol.

Once you have completed detoxification, you can then help yourself to further abstain from alcohol in the future by joining the rehabilitation programme at Acquiesce.

Take Action

At Acquiesce, we undertake a full assessment of each individual’s circumstances and needs. Once this has been ascertained, we will assist by arranging your detoxification placement. Start your recovery here.

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