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Alcohol Detox

In 2019, 15.4% of adults in Kentucky reported they’d participated in binge drinking in the last month.. When large amounts of alcohol are consumed, the body can go into withdrawals  within a few hours after your last drink. 

For those who might have alcohol use disorder (AUD), the symptoms of withdrawal can range from uncomfortable to potentially life-threatening. Here at SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we understand that instances of alcohol detoxing can require medical attention. We offer medically-assisted detox in order to help ensure our community has a safe place to go during this process.

What is Alcohol Detox?

Detoxing is the process of removing toxins or substances from the body. This process happens as quickly as 6 hours after alcohol has been consumed. On average, the process of detoxing lasts 72 hours. Of course, these times can vary depending on your level of alcohol consumption not only that day, but in terms of long-term use as well.

For those who have a long history of alcohol consumption, the symptoms of withdrawal can vary in intensity and potentially require medical care. Even though detoxing only takes around  72 hours, the symptoms of withdrawal and other side effects can last for weeks after your last drink.

The Importance of Alcohol Detox

Detoxing is an important first step in the process of recovery. It’s a process that starts naturally  through the liver, but for those who are having a casual drink or only drink every once in a while, the process is not as noticeable as those who have a history of higher levels of consumption.

In the path to recovery, getting the substance out of your system is an important step. You can’t recover from a substance if you are still actively using it. Additionally, during the process after detoxing, you can learn new skills to help you manage the withdrawal symptoms as well as manage or avoid potential triggers in the future. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

Being able to spot when someone might be detoxing from alcohol is important to making sure this person receives the best care possible. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
  • Nausea
  • Sweating or clammy skin
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Body tremors 
  • Headaches
  • Dilated pupils

Some levels of detoxification can be managed at home. If you are planning on detoxing from alcohol, it’s important to seek out medical advice to ensure that you can do it safely. You should keep in mind your current medications, level of previous alcohol consumption, and pre-existing conditions when talking to your doctor about detoxing. 

In cases of long-term alcohol use, a symptom known as delirium tremens can occur during withdrawal. This condition is triggered by the sudden shift in chemicals that correlate with the brain and nervous system. Some of the side effects of this can be severe, so it’s important to know what to look for in order to ensure the wellbeing of the person detoxing.

Alcohol Detox
Alcoholic Detox

Here are some signs that you or your loved one might be experiencing delirium tremens:

  • Confusion
  • Tachycardia (a heart rate over 100 bpm)
  • Hypertension
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawal occurs when the body has become accustomed to a certain level of substance inside of the body and that level isn’t maintained. For each substance, this time period can vary. In the case of alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal can start 6 hours after your last drink is finished.

Alcohol Detox

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Alcohol Detox Timeline

The exact timeline of detoxing and withdrawal can vary from patient to patient depending on things like age, level of previous consumption, metabolism, other medications or substances you’re on, and more. But here is a fairly average breakdown of what the alcohol detox and withdrawal timeline looks like:

  • 0 Hours - last drink consumed
  • 6 Hours - detoxing starts within the body
  • Within the first 24 hours - hallucinations may occur, unrelated to delirium tremens
  • Within 24 - 48 hours - the most dangerous symptoms can pop up during this time, such as seizures
  • 3 Days - this time frame is the peak of detoxification and withdrawal side effects
  • Detoxing only lasts a few days, but the side effects of withdrawal can be felt up to weeks after detoxing is finished

There are medications out there, such as benzodiazepines, that can assist those going through alcohol withdrawal. If you are thinking about asking your doctor about withdrawal assistance, make sure you let them know about any other medications you might be on to ensure you receive the right prescription to help you.

Alcohol Detox At SUN Kentucky

Here at SUN Behavioral Health in Kentucky, we offer a variety of services to help you on your path to recovery from alcohol use disorder. After detoxing, we offer both inpatient and outpatient options as well as treatments targeting co-occurring disorders.

859-429-5188

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the body heal when you stop drinking?

Some of the changes you might see include weight loss, having more energy, and even better looking skin. Stopping drinking over a long period of time also can help reduce the risk of live disease, heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. The liver is a powerful tool, processing toxins in order to safely remove them from the body. In addition, the brain is very adaptive and learns to overcome the changes in substances going in and out of the body. 

How long does it take for the body to recover from alcoholism?

It depends on the length of time the patient has been consuming alcohol and to what degree. The body is fairly elastic and can recover fairly well from alcohol use disorder. The detox process finishes after a few days, no matter how long you’ve been drinking, but some of the other effects like weight loss or the healing of your liver can take more time.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS)?

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome is a collection of side effects that can occur for those who have a history of long-term alcohol use. These symptoms include things like insomnia, headaches, tremors, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens. If you or a loved one is experiencing negative side effects of withdrawal, you should consult a medical professional for assistance. 

Kentucky Alcohol Detox Treatment

At SUN, we’ve created a caring, healing environment and will be there for every step of your journey to recovery. Please call us today to help you, your family and your loved one.

859-429-5188

SUN Behavioral Kentucky

820 Dolwick Drive
Erlanger, Kentucky 41018

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