What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

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what happens when you stop drinking alcohol

What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol Timeline

It’s a good idea to plan ahead for detox. Knowing what happens when you stop drinking alcohol helps you prepare mentally.

You may have reached the point when your drinking is harming every single aspect of your life. When you arrive at this juncture it is time to start planning for detox and rehab. The problem is that the fear of experiencing what happens when you stop drinking alcohol can be a deterrent to going through detox and withdrawal.

All alcoholics are fully aware of the pain and discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. This is the main reason why people continue to drink even with the negative consequences—because withdrawal is highly unpleasant. The thought of going through the entire detox process can be very daunting.

This is why it helps to prepare yourself ahead of time. Get to know what to expect during the detox process, and what the next steps in recovery will be. The best part is learning about all the good things that happen when you stop drinking alcohol. Get ready now to begin your new, healthy life, free of alcohol.

Planning for Detox and Rehab

If you have made the decision to get help for a drinking problem, congrats! There are some actions you can take ahead of time to make the whole process go smoothly:

  • Gather support. Inform your close loved ones about your decision to get sober. Let them know you will need their emotional support in the coming months.
  • Do your research. Start looking into the treatment options that will follow the detox. Many rehabs also have medical detox services on site, which is preferable.
  • Contact your insurer. Each healthcare plan is different, so call your agent and get the details ahead of time. The agent can tell you what services are covered and to what extent, and also estimate your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Meet with your boss. Let your employer know you will be taking a medical leave of absence, and ask them about paperwork and procedures.
  • Get mentally prepared. Learn about what to expect in detox, and how the detox team will offer support to help you through it.

What is a Medical Detox?

Prior to starting the detox process you will meet with an intake clinician to discuss your alcohol use disorder. During this meeting, the clinician will ask many questions about your drinking habits.

These include such things as how long you have had the problem, and how much you drink daily. They will ask about your health and mental health, and if you have attempted detox in the past.

All this data helps them plan for your safety during detox. Alcohol withdrawal can be risky, with some serious symptoms that emerge a few days into the process. This information helps them know how severe your symptoms might be so they can offer needed support.

A medical detox is the process during which your body will clear itself of alcohol. As the hours and days pass your vital signs and withdrawal symptoms are closely watched for any signs of trouble. Treatments are offered throughout the detox process to help reduce any discomfort.

What to Expect in Alcohol Detox

When drinking is halted, the brain will respond to the absence of alcohol. For several days, the system will be trying to adjust and stabilize. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal emerge within 12 hours.

Symptoms will vary, ranging from mild to severe. The more entrenched the alcohol problem is, the more severe the symptoms will be.

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

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  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hand tremors.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Insomnia

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Profound fatigue.
  • Mood swings.
  • Shaking
  • Mild seizures.
  • Severe confusion.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Alcohol Detox Stages

The average time for alcohol detox is about 5-10 days. How severe the symptoms will be will vary, but the detox process follows a predictable pattern of three stages:

Stage 1:  Symptoms start about 6-8 hours after the last drink. During this stage fatigue, heart palpitations, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, hand tremors, agitation, and foggy thinking are common.

Stage 2:  This stage occurs 1-3 days after the last drink. During this stage, symptoms are more intense. They may include irregular heart rate, mental confusion, profuse sweating, irritability, moodiness, increased blood pressure, and fever.

Stage 3:  This stage can occur between 3-7 days after the last drink. During this stage many of the symptoms in stage 2 will begin to subside. However, around days 3-4 there might be a sudden onset of serious symptoms called the DTs. If not, the withdrawal symptoms will fade out by about day 7.

During the detox, meds are provided to ease symptoms of stomach distress, anxiety, insomnia, and fever.

Treatment Options After Detox

Detox is only the first step of the recovery journey. You won’t be able to remain sober for long without completing a rehab program. During rehab you will learn how to change the way you respond to triggers and also learn how to manage stress.

Making these changes is vital to maintaining sobriety. You will engage in different types of therapy and other group activities. Rehab programs last from 28 days up to a year and can be provided in outpatient or inpatient settings.

What to Expect After You’ve Stopped Drinking Alcohol

There are many good things to enjoy once you have stopped drinking and completed a rehab program. Some of these include:

  • You lose weight
  • You have more money
  • You look better.
  • You feel really good.
  • You sleep better.
  • You feel happier.

Now that you know what happens with you stop drinking alcohol, it is time to move forward with a plan. Break the grip of this devastating disease and reach out for help today.

Solutions 4 Recovery Provides Medical Detox and Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism

Solutions 4 Recovery is an upscale rehab that provides medical detox and rehab for alcoholism. Using proven methods like CBT, DBT, 12-step programming, and holistic methods, our program will help you change your life. Call today for more details about the program at (888) 417-1874.