What Happens In An Alcohol Detox?

Detox is the first step to starting treatment, and alcohol detox can be dangerous. You should never attempt an alcohol detox on your own, and getting professional monitoring can save relationships and save your life. What’s the risk? What Happens In An Alcohol Detox?

The cessation of alcohol use can trigger some ugly withdrawal symptoms. Within 6 to 24 hours of stopping your alcohol intake, you may suffer from

  • anxious and destructive thoughts
  • shakiness and insomnia
  • constant sweating
  • nausea, up to and including vomiting

You may struggle to stay warm, then suddenly feel yourself overheating. The sweats from a detox can leave you feeling like you really need a shower, and the constant nausea won’t help your mouth feel clean and fresh either. Because you will probably be dizzy from the nausea, having help to and from the bathroom and the shower is a very good idea.

Depending on the intensity of your addiction and the damage done, you may also suffer from

  • rapid, dangerous changes in your blood pressure
  • hallucinations
  • delirium tremens, or DTs, which can be dangerous for those around you

In short, alcohol withdrawal can kill you without proper supervision. Never try it alone.

Detox to Treatment: From Withdrawal to Wellness

During the detox process, you will be carefully watched to make sure that your response doesn’t put your life at risk. You may want to try eating, or you may be so nauseous that you can’t even consider food or liquids.

In the event that you can’t keep down any liquids, you may need to get an IV fluid drip, which could require a trip to emergency care if your detox facility doesn’t offer that level of support. Other challenges during this point may well be that you really want a shower, but you probably won’t be able to take one on your own, as the risk of blacking out because of blood pressure problems could put you at risk. If you are at all shamed by the need to go through detox, you will likely be uncomfortable in more than one way for the first few days.

For the first 72 hours, you will likely feel very unwell. Be ready for lots of monitoring. The professionals monitoring your condition will have questions to confirm that you are cognizant of what is going on or properly oriented to reality. They will also be working with you to help you try to increase your fluid intake to determine the severity of your nausea.

As you come out of the physical detox process and get to a point where you can eat, drink and bathe yourself, you will likely start meeting up with other professionals. You may talk to mental health professionals, a spiritual counselor if you wish, and medical professionals who will continue to monitor your cardiac health and your overall physical condition.

If you have family and friends who can support you through the early treatment process, you may be released from the facility where you went through detox as you transition to treatment. This is one of the many reasons that it is not good to detox with the help of family and friends. The sensations you feel and the things you have to say to those around you may well do serious damage to the feelings of your loved ones, and you may feel guilty asking them for any more help. Rehab is hard work. A supportive structure will increase your chance of success. If you don’t have a social support system away from alcohol, you may be able to find a space in a group program that can help you through the rehab process.

For those who struggle with the idea of staying in a program after detox, remember that the point of detox is to keep your body alive while your system sheds the toxins of alcohol that have built up in your tissues over time. Rehab and treatment are about rebuilding your mental health, spirit and social structure so you can move forward into a happy life that doesn’t need any mood altering products to function well. Call us at 833-497-3812.