If you are considering the idea of quitting drinking any time soon (or someone you love is considering it) then you might want to know exactly what you can expect from an alcohol detox process…..how long does it last, how you can best deal with withdrawal symptoms, and so on.
Let me just say right up front that the best method by FAR for dealing with alcohol withdrawal is to be in a medical detox unit inside of a drug or alcohol treatment center. Period.
Anything other than this is actually dangerous in most cases, unless you are at a hospital, and even then, you are better off in a drug rehab facility. It is there that they have the best expertise in helping people to get through their withdrawal safely.
How long does a detox from alcohol last?
Generally you can count on about 2 to 4 days for the acute withdrawal. For most people, withdrawal symptoms will actually peak and be at their worst on the second or third day. For example, if someone is going to have a seizure due to their drinking withdrawal (somewhat common actually) then it is more likely to happen around the 72 hour mark past the last drink. Right around 3 days is usually the worst.
Now that can vary of course depending on a number of factors, the biggest of which is individual metabolism and body type. Following at a close second to this though is how much alcohol the person consumed, how frequently, and for how many years. Obviously the more they drank and the longer they drank for, the tougher the withdrawal from alcohol is going to be and the more intense their withdrawal symptoms are going to be.
How can I best deal with alcohol withdrawal?
If you try to stay at home and detox from booze all by yourself then you are asking for trouble. The best way to deal with the detox is to get to a drug rehab center and detox there.
Now if you call up an addiction treatment center you may notice that you cannot get in right away. This is unfortunate when it comes to alcohol withdrawal because it would be nice if you could get the help that you actually need RIGHT NOW. But unfortunately it does not usually work that way so you might want to make an appointment for rehab and then continue to drink alcohol.
Many people balk at such a suggestion but it is actually safer if you continue to medicate your body with booze than it is to cut yourself off cold turkey. The idea of weening yourself down is generally pretty dangerous and should probably be avoided. Therefore, the best plan in most cases is to simply continue to drink moderate amounts until you can get yourself checked into treatment.
You have drank for this long so another week or so is not going to kill you, provided you don’t go off the deep end. Just get yourself through until you can check into detox.
What do I do after I am detoxed from alcohol?
This is actually the most critical part because if you do not make major changes in your life then you are bound to end up repeating your addiction cycle all over again. What you are best to do is to follow up the detoxification process with residential, inpatient treatment so that you can learn how to recover from your addiction.
Most people need quite a bit of help in order to maintain sobriety after they leave rehab. This is especially true if they are just in their first few months of recovery. The need for support systems is extremely high.
As you progress into long term recovery you may well develop more independence and self sufficiency, but in early recovery, you need help. Do not hesitate to ask for this help and in fact you should insist on getting regular support from a couple of different sources. It is critical that you have more than one support system because at any given time, one of those systems could fail you or be inaccessible. If you happen to be having a serious craving for alcohol at that time, then what happens to your recovery? Out the window as you relapse back into the deadly cycle.
No, you have to take your aftercare extremely serious if you want to make it through your first year of recovery. It is not something to play games with and in fact this will likely be the most serious undertaking of your entire life thus far. Getting clean and sober is not easy by any means but if you can stick it out and make it work then the rewards are mind-blowingly good.
You deserve sobriety and the world deserves it as well. Time to fly straight and give back to the world.