Withdrawal and detox are serious concerns for many who choose to quit drinking alcohol. According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, about half of all alcohol-dependent people who discontinue use will experience withdrawal symptoms. While severe withdrawals can be deadly, with proper medical supervision and treatment during the detox process, alcohol recovery can be a safe process.

Contact us for help today if you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism.

Below, we provide answers to questions about alcohol withdrawal and detox, as well as information on treatment options we offer at Changing Tides to help overcome addiction to alcohol.

We’re Here to Help

You don’t have to go through this alone. Know there are people who can help you recover from trauma.

Recovering at Changing Tides

At Changing Tides, we provide clients with safe, medically supervised day treatment/ partial hospitalization programs (PHP) that feature a supportive environment and withdrawal symptom management. Although our facility doesn’t feature the full scope of medical treatment capabilities you’d find in a hospital, our team includes medical professionals who are dedicated to keeping clients comfortable and safe during the detox process as they adjust to life without alcohol.

To learn more about our withdrawal management process or to seek immediate help for yourself or a loved one, call us today at 252-715-3905.

A group talking during an alcohol withdrawal detox therapy session

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when an alcohol-addicted individual suddenly stops drinking. Because alcohol depresses the central nervous system, especially with continued excessive use, the sudden lack of alcohol in an addicted person’s system can result in a variety of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms.

In severe cases, battling alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. Complications, including delirium tremens, can result in severe changes to the central nervous system, and without proper treatment, as many as 15% of those who suffer from this form of alcohol withdrawal die; however, with proper medically supervised detox, that number is as low as 1%.

For those who don’t experience that level of severity, alcohol detox and withdrawal are still uncomfortable at best. Symptoms often include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
alcohol withdrawal symptoms - a man holding his forehead

Other, more severe symptoms that may occur include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever

The severe symptoms mentioned above may occur exclusively, but when they occur together between 48 and 72 hours after a person’s last drink, it’s often indicative of the onset of delirium tremens.

If you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms after discontinuing alcohol use, get help today.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome and the Phases of Withdrawal

While experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it’s not uncommon to hear medical professionals referring to a person as having Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, or AWS. This diagnosis is used for those who suffer symptoms throughout the detox process and, in most cases, lasts a period totaling one week or longer.

Withdrawal Phases

The detox process can vary from person to person and is often dependent on the severity of their addiction. However, most people experiencing AWS will go through two key phases:

  • Acute Alcohol Withdrawal: This occurs shortly after a person stops drinking and includes physical symptoms, such as tremors, nausea and headaches. Without treatment, this phase may prove fatal for some.
  • Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome: Occurring for several weeks to several months, PAWS is the second stage of withdrawal and involves psychological symptoms such as depression and fatigue. It’s during this phase that clients in recovery are at the highest risk of relapse.

The timeline associated with this process varies depending on a person’s age and the severity of their addiction. For most clients, acute withdrawal syndrome starts within eight to 12 hours after their last drink and lasts approximately one week. PAWS typically starts shortly after acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms subside.

For help navigating recovery, reach out to Changing Tides today at 252-715-3905.

The Detox Process

Detoxing is the first and often most challenging step in recovery. The body goes through intense physiological and emotional changes when an alcohol-dependent person stops drinking, which results in a high level of emotional and physical stress.

That’s why it’s so important to detox under the supervision of trained medical professionals who can ensure the person’s safety as well as their comfort. 

Get help with alcohol detox and withdrawal symptom management — contact us today.

Group consoling a depressed man

How Is Alcohol Withdrawal Treated?

There are three main stages involved in treating alcohol withdrawal: assessment, stabilization and follow-up care. Although the detox process is an intense and critical part of recovery, it’s relatively short when compared to a person’s entire recovery journey, and that’s why follow-up care is a vital part of withdrawal treatment.

The most important part of treating withdrawals in the moment is symptom management, which encompasses several treatment methods. Medications such as diazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam and chlordiazepoxide can minimize discomfort associated with withdrawals, as well as anxiety, depression and cravings, however are used short term for withdrawal symptoms.

In addition to medications, clients at Changing Tides are provided with a variety of therapies and amenities that help create a calming, supportive atmosphere throughout the recovery process.

Treatment Options at Changing Tides

We provide a variety of treatment options that cater to patients with varying levels of alcohol and drug addiction. Our rehab facility in North Carolina features safe and sober residential living. Program options include day treatment/ PHP, as well as intensive and general outpatient care. All services are provided within the facility, and clients are asked to take up residence on-site for the duration of their program to improve their chances of long-term success.

While our program’s initial focus is on helping patients detox from alcohol and manage the symptoms of withdrawal, whether from alcohol, other drugs or a combination of both, our team of certified addictions professionals is dedicated to helping our clients work through the recovery process on a long-term basis. As such, our treatment programs often go beyond 28 or 30 days, enabling our clients to obtain the care they need anytime they need it. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of alcohol addiction, recovery is possible. Reach out to discuss treatment options at our rehab in North Carolina and get help today!