Alcohol Detox

An inpatient alcohol detox is taken very seriously. Alcohol detox can introduce some unpredictable and serious withdrawal symptoms that can pose a medical emergency situation. As the body attempts to adjust to the absence of alcohol it can become destabilizing to the central nervous system.

The degree of severity of the withdrawal symptoms is dependent on such factors as:

  • Length of history of heavy alcohol consumption
  • Average amount of alcohol consumed daily
  • Age of the individual
  • General health status of the individual
  • Coexisting mental health disorders

Alcohol detox symptoms will generally surface within 6-12 hours after the last alcoholic beverage. The withdrawal symptoms will process through three distinct phases within the first 48 hours before beginning to subside. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the above factors.

Stage One

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

Stage Two 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Stage Three

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

What Are the Delirium Tremens?

The delirium tremens (DTs) involves a sudden escalation of withdrawal distress on day 3 or 4 of the detox process. The DTs are always considered a medical emergency, as coma and death can result. About 5% of individuals going through alcohol detox will experience the DTs, but among those 5-10% will not survive.

Symptoms of the DTs include:

  • Severe mental confusion
  • Full body shakings
  • Fever
  • Extreme agitation
  • Shallow breathing
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Death