Alcohol detoxification Wikipedia

AW is often treated, discussed and studied as an entity distinct from alcoholism treatment. One should remember, however, that withdrawal and its treatment represent a brief period of time (i.e., several hours up to a few days) in the alcoholic’s drinking career. Researchers do not yet know whether the choice of detoxification method has an impact on long-term patient outcomes.

  • She specializes in a variety of health topics including mental health, dementia, celiac disease, and endometriosis.
  • In contrast, a person may develop a severe alcohol habit before their friends, family, colleagues—or even themselves—notice it.
  • When a person decides to quit drinking, they should consider seeking professional help.
  • But long-term alcohol use trains the nervous system to work harder to compensate for the depressant effects of alcohol.
  • Of all of the mentioned medications, Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is the medication that is most widely used to treat alcohol withdrawal.
  • However, a person with an alcohol dependency will almost certainly exceed these drink-per-day recommendations.
  • Various vitamins, especially from the B group, are often used during alcohol withdrawal treatment.

Another serious side effect of alcohol withdrawal is called Delirium Tremens or DT, which typically occurs 48 to 72 hours after alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin. Patients experiencing DTs are at great risk as they suffer from realistic hallucinations and delusions. When detox occurs in a medical center, healthcare professionals often use medication to treat the symptoms of withdrawal. Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines to manage seizures and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms.


Its symptoms generally appear within hours of stopping or even just lowering alcohol intake and, thus, BAC. The most common symptoms include tremor, craving for alcohol, insomnia, vivid dreams, anxiety, hypervigilance,2 agitation, irritability, loss of appetite (i.e., anorexia), nausea, vomiting, headache, and sweating. Even without treatment, most of these manifestations will usually resolve several hours to several days after their appearance.

Third, in one clinical study, alcohol was inferior to the benzodiazepine chlordiazepoxide. The symptoms of withdrawal are not specific and easily can be confused with other medical conditions. Consequently, the clinician’s initial assessment also serves to exclude other conditions with symptoms similar to those of AW. Examples of such conditions include subdural hematoma (i.e., the collection of blood in the space between the membranes surrounding the CNS), pneumonia, meningitis, and other infections.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

And without professional supervision during the detox process, some withdrawal symptoms could be fatal. Inpatient treatment programs offer a much higher level of medical supervision and support, as well as access to therapies, activities, and other resources to assist in recovery. This type of program also eliminates the risk of relapse due to a lack of support and structure. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms you experience depends on your personal history with alcohol and how abruptly you stop using. If you have recently noticed a chemical dependency forming and stopped using with medical assistance, you may only experience mild symptoms. Alcohol detox is a process of ridding your body of the presence and need for alcohol.

Alcohol Detox

Of all of the mentioned medications, Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is the medication that is most widely used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Additionally, alcohol addiction can lead to conditions that affect the immune system, medication interaction, women-specific issues, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and other life-threatening conditions. There is not a specific threshold for how long it takes the brain to become addicted to alcohol as every person’s situation is unique. However, it takes less than ten seconds for the brain to react to alcohol. Once alcohol enters the brain it begins interacting with neurotransmitters and affects how we think, act, and feel.

Hours 24 to 72 of Alcohol Withdrawal

Many more severe withdrawal symptoms won’t appear until hours after the last drink. For the most extreme cases of withdrawal, delirium tremens may be present. Individuals showing more severe side effects should seek medical care immediately.

The next stage of treatment for AUD involves follow-up care to learn to live alcohol-free. This care can include professional addiction treatment that may incorporate behavior change techniques, counseling, and even time spent at a treatment center. Part of this stage may also include medications to stop alcohol cravings or block the positive feelings that alcohol can create.

How to Detox From Alcohol Safely

As the opioid crisis continues to wreak havoc across the United States, newer and stronger substances are beginning to take over the drug landscape. One of the most recent examples is tranq dope, a combination of drugs that triggers dangerous psychoactive effects…. Alcohol is poisonous, so the liver has to filter it and convert it into something less deadly.

  • No psychoactive chemical substance is more common in the United States than alcohol.
  • The goal is to safely and gradually decrease your dependence on alcohol so that you can resume your daily life.
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms—physical, mental, and emotional—can range from mild to severe.
  • But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you’re more likely to go through it again the next time you call it quits.
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