What Are the First 24 Hours of Alcohol Withdrawal Like?

Alcoholism can be detrimental to your physical and mental health as well as your quality of life. Despite all these adverse effects, some continue to abuse alcohol either knowingly or involuntarily due to the severe withdrawal symptoms. Detox and withdrawal symptoms are standard terms in the addiction treatment community for being psychologically and physically taxing experiences. Many experts recommend that you detoxify in the presence of medical professionals and devices to make the phase a success. Here is what you should expect from alcohol withdrawal during the first 24 hours.

What is alcohol withdrawal?

According to research, alcohol consumption tends to have a slowing or depressive effect on your system. The effects slow down brain activity and alter how your nerves send and receive messages. Over time, the central nervous system programs itself to function seamlessly only in the presence of alcohol in the system. Once you cut off the alcohol supply to the body after addiction, the brain takes time to figure out what component is missing. You may start to experience symptoms that range from minor to potentially life-threatening depending on the severity of alcoholism.

Alcohol withdrawal timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range in severity depending on the regularity of alcohol intake and how long you have been an alcoholic. In some cases, the symptoms can occur as early as two hours after you put down your glass. The signs will continue rising and becoming severe within the first 24 hours to perhaps 48 hours. Many individuals exhibit uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, fever, tremors, increased heartbeats, trouble sleeping, and irregular blood pressure.

While some people experience mild withdrawal symptoms, others suffer from dangerous side effects. This extreme condition where an individual suffers from dangerous side effects is called delirium tremens. During delirium tremens, the brain fails to adjust smoothly after alcohol is withdrawn. This triggers a phase of temporary confusion, which causes drastic changes in brain functionality, especially when controlling breathing and blood circulation. Dramatic heart rates and blood pressure may create the risk of strokes, heart attacks, or even death. Heavy drinkers who want to stop drinking are advised to seek professional help during detox as they may experience a wide range of these dangerous symptoms.

The timeline for common alcohol withdrawal symptoms is as follows:

Six to twelve hours after cutting off alcohol intake

Normally, the symptoms start as minor and containable. You may experience small bouts of anxiety, mild headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, trouble sleeping, and shaky hands.

Twelve to twenty-four hours after withdrawing from alcohol intake

More severe problems start to show during the twelve to twenty-four hours clock. You may begin to feel, hear, or see things that aren’t necessarily there, also known as hallucinations. Hand tremors become uncontrollable and may tag along with seizures. Some patients complain of loss of appetite, mood swings, irritability, and other symptoms from the first twelve hours may persist.

Delirium tremens symptoms

Individuals who aren’t classified under the heavy drinkers’ lot will start to recover after the twenty-four-hour phase after withdrawal. However, some heavy drinkers continue to experience the withdrawal symptoms past the twenty-four-hour timeline. Delirium tremens typically begins 48 to 72 hours after your last alcoholic drink. Individuals going through delirium tremens may display:

  • Racing heart.
  • Impaired mental functions.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Unexplained excitement.
  • Bad fever.
  • Sudden mood changes.

Alcohol withdrawal diagnosis

In preparation for what’s to come during the alcohol withdrawal phase, your doctor may seek to know some background information about your alcoholism before beginning treatment. He or she may inquire about your drinking history, how regular the habit is, and how many times you tried to stop drinking before. The doctor may also want to know if you have gone through detox in the past and how was the experience.

The need to carry out detoxification in a serene and accommodating environment cannot be necessitated enough. This ensures that you have the right personnel and equipment to help you through the detox phase smoothly and also help you out in case of any medical emergency. Also, your doctor may administer specific prescription drugs to help calm down the withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal is a critical phase in addiction treatment. However, it is a short-term fix that requires supplementary back-up from other treatments to make it successful. Do you have the desire to stop drinking alcohol, but you are afraid of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms? Contact us today at 877-027-9048 for an examination and consultation and let us help you put the habit to stop smoothly.