Making the decision to check into a rehab center is one you will be grateful for the rest of your life. Whether you are addicted to alcohol or some type of substance, you’ll find the help that you need from reputable rehab personnel who only have your best interests in mind. You’ll be given personalized, one-on-one treatment that will help you get through your addiction while you move on to a better you, one step at a time.
However, you may be worried about what will happen if you go into rehab when you are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal can be difficult, if not fatal, if you are not under the care of a professional doctor while you are going through it. Read on to learn some important ways you can weather the 48 to 72 hour period of alcohol withdrawal so that you can go on to learn how to lead a sober and fulfilling life.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
First, you will want to understand what symptoms you may experience so that you know what to expect once you stop drinking. If you have been drinking alcohol heavily for even just a few weeks, you could experience physical problems when you decide to stop. This is known as alcohol withdrawal, and the symptoms can easily range from very mild to very serious. The symptoms you experience will depend on the amount of alcohol you have indulged in, for how long, and your level of health.
After six hours of not drinking, you may experience anxiety, nausea, insomnia, vertigo, headaches, vomiting, shaky hands, irritability, anger, sweating, and more. More serious side effects can include mild hallucinations. About 5% of men and women who experience alcohol withdrawal will have delirium tremors, or “DTs”. The DTs are serious symptoms that include very vivid hallucinations and seizures. They can also cause a fever, high blood pressure, intense sweating, confusion, and a racing heart.
24 Hours After the Last Drink
The first 24 hours after your last drink can feel completely overwhelming. As mentioned before, symptoms ranging from headaches and nausea to vomiting and diarrhea can start to develop. By the time you reach the 24-hour mark, your symptoms have either peaked or are peaking. This means that your symptoms are at their most intense. You may be experiencing tremors, gastrointestinal problems, and cravings to drink again. But it is during this time frame that it is important to hold strong, as once symptoms peak, they will begin to decline in number and severity.
48 Hours After the Last Drink
By 48 hours after the last drink, many of the symptoms that you were experiencing within the first 24 or so hours will start to slowly dissipate. But, this is the time during withdrawal that can be the most risky if the proper medical and psychiatric care is not provided. Delirium tremens (or “DTs”) are a set of symptoms that can develop at this time and include increased heart rate, fever, seizures, and a sense of delirium. If you are planning on stopping your drinking, it is important to consider the likelihood of developing the DTs and taking that into consideration when decided on getting professional treatment or not, as some of these symptoms can be fatal.
How to Get Through Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal may be easier or harder than you think. It takes time and patience to allow the alcohol to completely disappear from your body. However, you can expect the first 24 to 48 hours to be the hardest. Read on for some tips that will help you get through the worst of your alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Take a cold shower- Taking a cold shower can help clear your mind of your racing thoughts and the urge to drink. It can also help if you are sweating and uncomfortable. Plus, a cold shower has many other health benefits!
Avoid anyone who drinks- You must always stay away from the people or even places that will cause you to want to pick up a drink. Stay far away from anyone who will enable you during this period of withdrawal. You may even want to announce a break from people over social media so that you have a reason to ignore calls and messages from those who do not have your best interests at heart.
Eat healthy- It’s easy to go for junk food when you are in withdrawal because your body will be craving the sugar it used to get from alcohol. Balance out the sugar levels by consuming lots of healthy fruits and vegetables during the first few days of withdrawal while leaving the sugary snacks behind.
Drink plenty of water- Alcohol quickly causes dehydration to occur. During withdrawal you may feel nauseated, so make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. While water is important, you should also drink fluids that contain plenty of electrolytes, such as sports drinks.
Exercise when you can- We know that you won’t feel like it during withdrawal, but we can assure you that exercise will help. Even a small amount of exercise will release the endorphins in your brain that create the happy and content feelings we are all chasing. You’ll also have a sense of accomplishment when you exercise- a big deal when you are struggling with addiction.
Ride out your cravings- Don’t fool yourself into thinking your cravings will immediately disappear- they won’t. You’ll think about drinking alcohol many times during the withdrawal period. Just remember, the cravings WILL go away. The first 48 hours are the hardest part of alcohol withdrawal, so keep reminding yourself that you are getting through the worst and that it will get better.
We Can Help
Remember, you never have to go through alcohol withdrawal alone. When you are ready to get started on the path to sobriety, let us pave the way. Give us a call at 844-903-2111 to learn more.