Alcohol Withdrawal & Its Timeline

Alcohol Withdrawal & Its Timeline

What happens when a person is dependent on alcohol is known to many. But few know what happens when you take that one last drink. It’s not easy to shake off an addiction, especially if you’ve been revolving your day around it for so many years. Within minutes of you deciding to quit drinking, your withdrawal symptoms will kick in and that desire to pour yourself just one more drink will be the only thing on your mind. Make sure there are people around who are equipped to deal with recovering alcoholics. This article is not meant to discourage you from giving up alcohol, but to give you an idea of what lies on the road to recovery.

You need to first understand why you suffer from what is called a withdrawal symptom. There’s a physiological mechanism behind it. A sudden drop in blood-alcohol levels causes the central nervous system to enter into a hyper-excitable state, causing a number of physical symptoms – some of them potentially deadly. That’s why it’s recommended to check into a facility where they have people who have the experience of handling the patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The duration of these symptoms can vary anywhere from 4 days to a week. The general timeline of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is given below in the stages that it occurs. This is not the exact occurrence of the events; it does after all vary from person to person.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

1. 5-10 hours after your last drink:

Recovering alcoholics, beware of tremors. Heavy drinkers will experience the shakes sometime after 5+ hours after their last drink. Neither you nor anyone else in your household will know how to help you deal with the tremors; that’s where a facility comes in. Tremors are not the only symptoms you’ll experience. Other symptoms include, a rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, sweating, rapid breathing, digestive symptoms like nausea or vomiting, anxiety or hyper vigilance, irritability, paranoia, confusion and nightmares and night terrors or lack of sleep.

2. 12-24 hours after your last drink:

For once the movies were right! People, who are in rehab, do suffer from hallucinations; be it drugs, alcohol or anything else. About 20% of hospitalized alcoholics are reported to hallucinate. More than visual hallucination, auditory based hallucinations are most distinct. Occurring after about 12 hours from the last drink, they can go on up to 2 days. Your odds of developing hallucinations increase if you have been using other drugs or you have been an alcoholic for a long time. This symptom relatively uncommon and is generally not dangerous, but it can be extremely unsettling.

3. 24-48 hours after your last drink:

This is when stuff gets really real. Though they can occur anytime, after your last drink, seizures usually occur after 24 hours have passed. A seizure is one symptom that has a direct effect on your mortality. In order to stop yourself from doing something life threatening, check into a rehab facility.

4. 2-3 days after your last drink:

This is probably one of the last hurdles you’ll have to cross in order to have successfully completed the detox program. Going delirious severely affects about 5-10% of the total patients and has a mortality rate of about 15%. If for nothing else, but for this symptom alone, you are advised to check into a rehab facility. They alone know how to deal with this situation; the internet can’t help you here. During this phase, the other symptoms include vivid night terrors, agitation, confusion, disorientation, panic attacks, hallucinations (visual and auditory), hypertension, tachycardia, and diaphoresis.

While delirium tremens typically occurs within 2-3 days, it may take as long as a week to manifest. The worst of it is generally in full force 4-5 days after your last drink. What happens to your body here is that the body’s central nervous system is hyper-excited, and as a result, can shift your circulation and breathing. You also experience dehydration that is life-threatening along with an increase in the blood pressure and decreased blood flow to the brain. This gives rise to the very real risk of falling into a coma and death; some patients are known to take their lives as well.

Now that you have an idea of what an alcohol withdrawal timeline looks like, you should also know that in the majority of patients, symptoms peak within the first five days, with dramatic improvement following after that time period. Some patients may have a longer withdrawal process lasting for several weeks. If you are looking for a definitive guide, check out Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment Manual which can be bought on Amazon.

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Alternatively, we also recommend that you try Natural Herbal Addiction Treatment for Alcoholism

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sagarpatil86@gmail.com'
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Sagar is co-founder and CTO at Multia, a leading creative agency in Pune. He started his venture when he was 16, he has won numerous international and national web development competitions and has worked on 100+ web, mobile and online marketing projects. He’s a globe-trotter and has traveled to San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Jakarta and Bali Islands.
sagarpatil86@gmail.com'
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