As you’re thinking about getting help for your addiction, one of your concerns may have to do with the process of detoxification and withdrawal. You may have heard some frightening stories about alcohol withdrawal, including the idea that alcohol withdrawal symptoms are worse than withdrawal symptoms from other substances. Withdrawal from every drug has different symptoms and none of them are pleasant.
However, if you’re going through a safe, medically-supervised detox, you don’t need to worry about suffering through withdrawal. Your detox will be safe and pleasant. A small number of alcoholics can develop fatal complications when they withdraw without medical supervision. For this reason, medically-supervised detox is especially important for alcohol abusers. If you’re an alcoholic, you should not attempt to withdraw without help from a doctor or treatment center.
Are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Worse than Withdrawal Symptoms from Other Drugs?
We can help answer this question by taking a look at the different withdrawal symptoms from various substances that we see in treatment centers. The severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms also depends on many factors, including the following.
- Your age and general health. If your health is still good, your withdrawal symptoms will be less severe. The same is true if you are under 40. Older people or those who are malnourished, as many alcoholics are, will have more severe symptoms.
- The number of drinks you have each day. If you drink large amounts of alcohol every day, you are likely to have more severe symptoms.
- How long you’ve been regularly abusing alcohol. If you are a binge drinker who needs help, your symptoms will be less severe than those of a longtime daily drinker.
- Your treatment history. If you have been through withdrawal before, especially if you did it without medical supervision, your symptoms may be worse.
- Your use of other drugs. If you are using prescription or nonprescription drugs, that will complicate your withdrawal symptoms You may even have to withdraw from more than one substance at the same time.
An inpatient or outpatient treatment center will typically provide a specialized detox center where you can withdraw comfortably. This may be a clinic at the treatment center itself or one that’s associated with it.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
- Loss of appetite.
- Agitation and nervousness.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Sweating and tremors.
Symptoms of Withdrawal from Opiates
- Muscle aches.
- Teary eyes and runny nose.
- Stomach cramps.
- Excessive sweating.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of Withdrawal from Methamphetamine
- Increased appetite.
- Excessive and disturbed sleep.
- Psychotic reactions.
Symptoms of Withdrawal from Inhalants
- Body aches.
- Severe headaches.
- Panic attacks.
- Psychotic reactions.
What is Delirium Tremens?
Known by the medical term “alcohol withdrawal delirium” and the slang term “the DTs,” delirium tremens (DT) is a serious condition. It can affect alcoholics who are heavy daily drinkers, especially if they have been abusing alcohol for 10 years or more. These alcoholics are at risk of developing DT if they suddenly stop drinking without medical supervision. Although it affects only a small number of alcoholics, DT can be fatal. That’s why it’s important to consult a physician or treatment center to avoid complications when you choose to quit using alcohol. The symptoms of DT include:
- Severe shaking, sweating and shivering.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
- Extreme mood swings.
Why You Need Safe, Medically-Supervised Detox
Once you decide to get help for your addiction at an inpatient or outpatient clinic, you will first go to a special detox clinic. Your symptoms will be treated and you will be monitored constantly by the doctors and nursing staff. In medical detox, you won’t have to suffer the pain and sickness of withdrawal. You also won’t be at risk for the serious consequences of DT.
What Happens at a Medical Detox?
Once you are admitted into a medical detox clinic, you begin the process of getting rid of the alcohol in your system so that you can get on the path to recovery. The fear of withdrawal keeps many people away from seeking treatment, but with medical detox, this fear is lifted. You’ll be in a comfortable, private room where you will receive medications through an intravenous (IV) line. These medications will help you relax, allow you to sleep and prevent the common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. You’ll also be given various vitamins and minerals. These infusions help your body and brain heal from the effects of alcohol. You’ll go through withdrawal easily, comfortably and without pain or sickness. When the detox is finished, you will feel stronger and healthier. If your history or symptoms indicate that you are suffering from DT, you’ll be placed in an intensive care unit (ICU) where you’ll be given hydration, electrolytes and infusions of vitamins and minerals. Your symptoms will be controlled and you’ll be able to sleep. You’ll come out of treatment feeling safe and healthy.
Medical Detox is the First Step
Medical detox is the first step on your road to recovery. Once you complete it, you’ll be able to enter the inpatient or outpatient treatment center of your choice. If you’ve been abusing alcohol for a long time, inpatient residential treatment offers your best opportunity for successful recovery.
Get Help Withdrawing Safely from Alcohol
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of safe, medically-supervised detox from alcohol, we can help you locate the right treatment center. Our counselors are available anytime to help you choose a medical detox and a rehab center where you can continue your recovery. Call us at 877-027-9048.