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Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol addiction is a serious condition that can cause painful withdrawal symptoms when someone tries to stop drinking. It often develops from a pattern of heavy alcohol use that leads to chemical dependence, making it difficult to control drinking habits. According to estimates, over 80 percent of people with alcohol use disorder will experience withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. These symptoms can start within just 5 hours after the last drink.

Significant changes in brain chemistry can make it challenging for the body to function without alcohol. As a result, it’s recommended to complete the recovery process in a professional alcohol detox program. Without proper intervention, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can worsen over several days, causing physical and psychological discomfort. In more severe cases, these symptoms can become dangerous.

At Agape Detox Center in Port St. Lucie, our supervised alcohol detox program provides around-the-clock monitoring and care. Our targeted interventions effectively limit the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and even prevent certain symptoms from occurring. 

For those who have been heavily drinking or living with alcohol use disorder for long periods of time, medical support during detox is essential to prevent or mitigate delirium tremens, the most taxing stage of physical alcohol withdrawal. Delirium tremens, if experienced alone, can lead to serious physiological damage and even death.

The Agape team guides you through the withdrawal process safely, and comfortably by providing an individualized approach to your complete health and wellness. Completing your alcohol detox at our treatment center can make all the difference in establishing a solid foundation for your recovery.

Understanding Alcohol Detox

Alcohol Detox

From a physical standpoint, alcohol detox helps to accomplish 3 essential things: 

  • Allows the body to rid itself of alcohol
  • Cleanses the body from the harmful byproducts of alcohol use
  • Forces the brain and body to relearn how to function without alcohol

Drinking alcohol stimulates the release of powerful neurotransmitters, or “feel good” chemicals, in the reward center of the central nervous system. These neurotransmitters are typically released in response to positive behaviors such as exercise, socializing, healthy eating, and problem-solving.

The euphoric, relaxed, and elated feelings produced by neurotransmitters encourage people to repeat these actions. However, when alcohol is used to artificially stimulate the release of these chemicals, alcohol users mentally associate these feelings with alcohol use and become more likely to drink again as a means of controlling or elevating their moods.

Heavy and prolonged alcohol abuse can deplete the brain’s neurotransmitters, causing some chemicals to be overproduced and others to be hardly produced at all. Heavy alcohol use can also cause certain neurotransmitters to misfire, indicating the progressive brain damage that alcohol abuse causes.

Yet, these neurotransmitters are not just for enhancing or controlling a person’s moods. They play a crucial role in smooth muscle control, balance, coordination, memory, focus, and many other important functions throughout the body. 

If you have become chemically dependent on alcohol, many of these functions and systems rely on continued alcohol use. Once alcohol is suddenly withdrawn, your body sends out widespread distress signals causing psychological and physical discomfort.

Individuals in the late stages of alcohol withdrawal experiencing delirium tremens can develop especially severe symptoms of distress that include:

  • Confusion
  • Sudden and dramatic changes in vital signs
  • Seizures
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Coma
  • Death

For these reasons, detoxing alone or going “cold turkey” is never advised.

Do You Need Detox for Alcohol Addiction?

Detoxing with medical support is always the best choice for anyone who’s having a hard time controlling or limiting their drinking or cannot stop drinking without becoming physically ill. Heavy drinkers may begin experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms in as little as 5 to 8 hours after their last drink. These symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Headaches

If you experience any of these symptoms shortly after you stop drinking or when you wait too long for your next drink, it may be a sign of alcohol dependence. Because a person’s brain chemistry is altered from alcohol abuse, detoxing becomes more than personal strength or willpower.

It’s important to remember alcohol use disorder is classified as a chronic mental health issue and is clinically recognized as having potentially severe physical consequences. Alternatively, detoxing in an alcohol detox center is always the more comfortable and safer route. With the right medical interventions and support staff, detoxing can become a significantly shorter process. 

At our Port St. Lucie medical detox program, many clients avoid the intense and potentially damaging stage of delirium tremens entirely. 

Risks of Detoxing From Alcohol on Your Own

Starting with alcohol detox is crucial for any recovery process. Without successfully completing this first step, other forms of addiction treatment may not be as effective. Up to 60 percent of adults with alcohol use disorder will relapse at some point in time. This is why alcohol detox programs are recommended for curbing alcohol cravings and various psychological triggers. 

We understand detoxing on your own can be challenging as access to a closed and secure environment free from temptation is highly unlikely. Additionally, you may lack the essential close monitoring and support of professionals.

Our expert team safely applies therapies, medications, and other treatment tools required to stabilize your vital signs, support your body in healing itself, and expedite the detox process. Seeking help from an alcohol detox center can provide you with the necessary support and care to start your recovery journey on the right foot.

What Happens During Detox?

In our alcohol detox program, we prioritize providing targeted support to our clients from the very beginning of their stay. Our comprehensive check-in process includes a list of what to bring to detox and a medical and psychological evaluation, which allows us to structure and streamline your care. By understanding your anxiety levels and physical discomfort, we can start leveraging interventions right away.

Our staff will check on you regularly to ensure that you aren’t experiencing any of the following major fluctuations:

  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Blood sugar
  • Blood pressure
  • Pain levels

You’ll never have to face the most challenging and physically demanding stages of withdrawal alone. We understand that the most challenging and physically demanding stages of withdrawal can be overwhelming, which is why we work hard to keep you hydrated and provide the right nutritional support. We also provide assistance during detox for problems like mood swings, insomnia, depression, and more.

Many of our clients live with co-occurring disorders, which are undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues that they’ve been self-treating with alcohol. When co-occurring disorders are suspected, additional interventions can be applied to simultaneously limit the symptoms of disorders such as bipolar disorder, panic disorder, major depressive disorder, and others.

We believe that providing comprehensive care during detox and addressing underlying mental health issues is crucial for successful recovery. Contact our staff to learn how to help someone who is detoxing.

Ready to get started?

Give us a call today. Our admissions coordinators will answer any questions you may have about our program and walk you through the admissions process.

Alcohol Withdrawal

If you consume moderate amounts of alcohol or have dealt with alcohol abuse for a limited amount of time, alcohol withdrawal and related symptoms may peak as soon as 48 hours after the last drink.

For these individuals, the advanced and highly dangerous stage of withdrawal known as delirium tremens isn’t a major risk. However, for heavier drinkers or those who have abused alcohol for a considerable amount of time, withdrawal can last between 3 to 10 days or longer. With help, even those with histories of severe alcohol abuse and other risk factors can expect shorter detox times and faster returns to balanced functioning and health.

It’s important to remember that physical withdrawal is only one part of the detox process. Just as the body has to heal from the effects of heavy alcohol use, the brain and its reward center must heal as well. With that in mind, physical withdrawal is often followed by a series of psychological withdrawal symptoms known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). PAWS can last for weeks or even a year or more.

At Agape Alcohol Detox Center in Port St. Lucie, you’ll receive therapies and interventions for these symptoms as well. We also offer the option for clients to seamlessly transition from detox into one of our residential programs, offering structure and support in a more private setting.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Whether you drink regularly or heavily, a sudden halt in drinking is almost guaranteed to cause physiological distress. Early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal occur within a person’s body temperature. This is because the disrupted or worn-out neurotransmitters from alcohol addiction play a role in the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. Thus, excessive sweating and chills are common early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

These relatively minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can cause people to believe that they can “muscle through” the process on their own. However, early symptoms can intensify, lasting for up to two days, and are oftentimes likely to be followed by others, including:

  • Digestive distress
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep troubles

The longer a person waits to receive medical interventions for withdrawal, the more symptoms they will likely experience. The detox process can then become longer and more uncomfortable, resulting in a heightened risk of undesirable delirium tremens.

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Managing Withdrawal Symptoms in Treatment

At Agape Detox Center, we’re committed to helping our clients complete alcohol detox in the safest and most comfortable way, without increasing the risk of additional dependence. When necessary, we utilize medications to limit or prevent nausea, dramatic fluctuations in vital signs, sleep troubles, and psychological distress, such as:

  • Acamprosate
  • Naltrexone
  • Propanolo
  • Zofran

When possible, we share a number of natural strategies and therapies that help our clients achieve a relaxed, balanced, and healthful state without medication. With a strong focus on good nutrition, healthy coping techniques, and sustainable strategies, our clients leave treatment ready to play a proactive role in their ongoing addiction journey.

Get Help From the Professionals at Agape Detox Center

Begin the recovery process with our alcohol detox program to establish a solid foundation for your recovery.

In our comfortable Port St. Lucie facility, you’ll reap the benefits of constant monitoring and support, allowing you to experience a shorter, easier, and safer withdrawal process all around. Call us now to speak with one of our admissions counselors to get started.

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