If you’re thinking about quitting alcohol, you need to consider a few factors before you begin the detox process, including the alcohol withdrawal timeline. You may think you know what to expect, but the truth is, there is no clear-cut way of predicting exactly how you will feel and what symptoms you will experience while your body adjusts to not having its usual alcohol supply.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline: What to Consider
Suppose you have been using alcohol heavily for an extended period. In that case, there is always a chance that you could experience some of the more severe or deadly withdrawal symptoms, including seizures or delirium tremens.
You can use this alcohol withdrawal timeline as a guide. Still, it’s always best to quit alcohol with the help of experienced detox specialists, like our team at Clear Life Recovery’s alcohol detox in Costa Mesa.
What to Expect – and When to Expect It – During Alcohol Withdrawal
A few hours after your last drink:
If you’ve been a heavy drinker for a long time, your body has become used to functioning under constant suppression of its central nervous system. So, as the alcohol’s depressant effects fade, the first symptoms you will experience will feel like your body has sped up into overdrive. It’s common to feel some nausea, tremors, anxiety, and trouble sleeping during this early time frame.
Most people feel sweaty, shaky, anxious, and irritable, with a rapid pulse and breathing rate. You may also experience an increase or decrease in blood pressure. Expect symptoms to start between five to ten hours after you take your last drink and peak within the first couple of days.1
Stay on top of cardiac changes as they occur. Have a reliable adult check your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs periodically to ensure you haven’t entered a danger zone. While rare, it is possible to die of heart failure brought on by alcohol detox.2
Within the first day:
Your early symptoms will likely persist for at least the first 24 hours. You could start to experience visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations on the first day as well.1 If you begin to see, hear, or feel things that aren’t there, this is a sign that your brain is trying to cope with an imbalance of neurochemicals. It could also signal the onset of delirium tremens and should be taken as a warning sign to seek medical help.
One to two days:
This is the point where seizures may happen. If you are detoxing in a facility, your medical staff will administer medications and help alleviate the worst of the symptoms. If you are attempting to detox independently, be sure you have a responsible adult watching closely to ensure your safety.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that seizures are a rare side effect of withdrawal. More than 5% of people going through alcohol withdrawal will have at least one seizure during the peak period of 24 to 72 hours after the last drink.2
From two days, up to a week:
If delirium tremens (also known as the DTs) occurs, it will likely begin during this time frame.1 Be aware that roughly 50% of people who had a seizure from alcohol withdrawal will go on to develop the DTs, so if you have had a seizure, it’s time to seek medical care right away.2
Delirium tremens is a life-threatening condition that requires medical treatment or even a stay in the ICU. It is fatal for up to 25% of people who experience it.2
Dial 911 or have someone help you get to a hospital right away if you develop more severe forms of these symptoms: 1 2
- Rapid heart rate
- Significant blood pressure changes
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe trouble sleeping
- Sweating heavily
- Irrational anger or nervousness
- Grand mal seizures
- Mood swings
After the first week:
Most people will begin to feel better after the acute detox phase of the first week has passed. However, some people do have persistent issues. It is also crucial during this time to develop a long-term strategy to prevent relapses and stay sober.
Worried About Experiencing Symptoms on This Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline? Don’t Do It Alone.
Clear Life Recovery offers alcohol detox for Costa Mesa and beyond. When you go through the acute phases of detox at Clear Life Recovery, you will be under qualified medical supervision. Our staff will observe you to ensure you remain safe and healthy throughout the whole process. There’s no need to worry about having a seizure or getting delirium tremens because help is always nearby to prevent complications and soothe your uncomfortable symptoms.
Call us today to inquire about alcohol detox in Costa Mesa. Or contact us online to be connected with a compassionate intake specialist who can give you more information.