Alcohol detox is the first step to recovery from alcohol use disorder, but many people are too scared by the thought of withdrawal to quit drinking. There are two effective ways to get past this fear and get the help you need. First, find a quality detox and addiction treatment center that can make sure your detox experience is as safe and comfortable as it can possibly be. If you aren’t sure where to start looking for the right treatment center, sites like Detox.com can be very useful.
The second way to get past your fear of alcohol withdrawal is to learn more about what to expect. The most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms are:
- Racing heartbeat
These symptoms can begin just a few hours after your last drink, but may not start until 24 hours later. For most people, the symptoms start off mild, then swiftly worsen, peaking in the first few days, and then gradually taper off until they are completely gone by day ten. Many of these symptoms can be reduced or relieved by detox treatments and medications, so it is a good idea to get professional help.
Between three and five percent of people going through alcohol withdrawal suffer a severe withdrawal syndrome known as DT or delirium tremens, which is characterized by seizures, confusion, and hallucinations. Anyone who has been addicted to alcohol for over a year, or who drinks heavily, is vulnerable to DT, and should seek a professional medical detox.
Some of the psychological symptoms experienced during alcohol detox, such as restlessness, anxiety, and depression, may persist for months or years after detox, coming and going, but gradually improving over time. Medication, counseling, peer support groups, and simple awareness of the recovery process can help you cope with these symptoms, and stay strong until they are finally gone for good.
Here are a few tips for coping with alcohol detox:
- Make sure to tell your physicians and counselors about any physical or emotional discomfort you experience. These professionals have the ability to help you with these symptoms, as well as teach you how to help yourself.
- Keep busy. Participate in any support group meetings, therapy sessions, or recreational activities that are available to you. Books, music, games, conversation, exercise, Netflix—any distraction can reduce your awareness of withdrawal symptoms.
- Connect to the other people you meet in recovery. Others who are also dealing with alcohol use disorder will understand what you’re going through in a way that no one else can. People who are further along in their recovery can offer you helpful advice and insight, and giving support to others can help you as much as you help them.
- Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the fact that this is only temporary. Most likely, your symptoms will pass in a week to ten days. Even if some of your symptoms last longer, the worst will be over in just a few days.