alcohol withdrawal timeline

Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal happens when a person removes something that their brain has become dependent on, and upsets its natural balance. In its unbalanced state, the brain cannot function properly so the person experiences uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes fatal symptoms of withdrawal in three stages. Acute withdrawal or “detox” is the first part of withdrawal. It begins anywhere from 8 to 72 hours after quitting and continues until the body has cleared all the toxins produced by drugs or alcohol. 

Below is a table listing detox symptoms in hours and days since the last use. Click to enlarge.

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Medically Assisted Detox:

Detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepines can be fatal. People trying to quit these should always use a detox facility. And, for heavy users of hard drugs or alcohol, a painful detox period is inevitable. Even someone who wants to quit might want to relapse during detox, just to stop the pain. That’s why medical facilities provide medically assisted detox. They can help someone deal with the pain, make sure they’re safe, and help them sleep while they detox. 

When someone checks into a detox center, they run blood and urine tests to assess the amount and kind of drugs in a person’s system. The person receives a bed, an IV with fluids for hydration, and regular check-ins from doctors and nurses.  Depending on the type of narcotic, doctors may prescribe a taper. Tapers feed small amounts of a similar drug into a person’s system to prevent a painful or lethal crash. Doctors assess and slowly decrease the dosage of the taper and wean the person off the narcotic. While a taper may help, it will not eliminate the symptoms of detox. To help patients sleep or feel relief detox centers might provide medicine for sleeping, fever, or nausea. Research has shown that a medical detox, decreases the time of detox and chance of relapse. However, patients are not recovered after detox. There are two more stages of recovery that will take months or years to complete. Luckily they are far less painful. (Read More: Withdrawal Stage 2: PAWS). 

Don’t Go it Alone, Let Us Help

Tree House Recovery for Men is run by people who overcame addiction, so we realize that getting honest answers about detox, insurance, and quality treatment can be difficult. We own no detox centers and have no agenda. If you want help finding a medical detox center or have questions about detox or insurance, call us. Everyone who answers has gone through detox too. (855) 202-2138

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