Detoxification, or detox, is the first step in overcoming alcohol addiction. This process eliminates alcohol from the body and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Although beneficial, detox can be a challenging adjustment if you’ve become accustomed to consuming alcohol regularly. However, with proper medical care and support, detox can help the body relearn how to function without alcohol and help prepare you for addiction treatment. Here are some brief insights into what typically happens after alcohol detox.
Understanding The Detox Process
Despite what many people think, detox doesn’t actually treat addiction. Instead, the process is actually the first step you take to begin your recovery. During the detoxification process, you’ll stop drinking alcohol altogether. This allows the body to metabolize any remaining alcohol out of your system. But because your body has become so used to the presence of alcohol, the brain has to adjust to the sudden decrease in ethanol, the addictive substance found in alcoholic beverages. This change usually triggers unpleasant symptoms as part of a process known as withdrawal.
What Happens After Alcohol Detox?
Depending on the severity of your addiction, withdrawal symptoms can start while you still have some alcohol in your blood. Not everyone has withdrawal symptoms, but heavy drinkers may experience:
- Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) is a group of physical symptoms that generally occur immediately after you stop drinking. These symptoms can include tremors, nausea, vomiting, headaches, extreme sweating, heart palpitations, fevers, high blood pressure, and seizures. The symptoms may worsen over two to three days and may be more noticeable when you wake up with less alcohol in your blood.
- Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a group of symptoms that linger beyond the acute withdrawal stage. These symptoms, which tend to be psychological and emotional, can last anywhere from several months to several years. Common PAWS symptoms include insomnia, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, lack of motivation, brain fog, apathy, memory trouble, fatigue, and mood swings. PAWS is also known as “dry drunk syndrome.”
- Delirium tremens causes life-threatening changes in the nervous system that can lead to uncontrollable muscle shakes, mental confusion, high blood pressure, and hallucinations.
Luckily, addiction treatment can help with these conditions. Treatment typically includes behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, peer support groups, social activities, and lifestyle changes. During addiction treatment, you’ll learn how to combat negative beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that compel you to drink and develop healthy coping skills. Our residential program includes contingency management, 12-step facilitation, art therapy, yoga and meditation, outdoor adventures, fitness, and relapse prevention training.
Medical Detox and Expert Treatment To Help Overcome Alcohol Addiction
Undergoing detox and recovering from alcohol addiction can be challenging. But here at Bridges of Hope, we work to minimize the negative impact associated with withdrawal symptoms and keep you as safe and comfortable as possible. Our medical detox program provides around-the-clock support that monitors your vitals and helps reduce your risk of seizures, heart failure, and relapse. Our residential treatment programs can help you overcome alcohol addiction challenges.
Alcohol doesn’t have to continue to control your life. Let us be a bridge of hope for you. Contact us today if you’re ready to live a thriving, purpose-filled sober life.