Sober living

What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

The time it takes to taper will depend on how long you’ve been drinking, how much you’ve been drinking and a variety of personal factors. Make sure that you do not waste this chance because every failed shot at withdrawal makes the next attempt more difficult to pull off successfully. Ensure your health and safety by learning all you can about alcohol withdrawal timeline and symptoms. Finding an alcohol detox program is for many the first step on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction. Beginning an alcohol detox program starts with a clinical assessment, followed by the actual detoxification and withdrawal process. Alcohol is the most commonly used and misused substance in the United States.

During and after treatment with naltrexone, your body will likely be more sensitive to opioids. Taking any amount of opioids can put you at a higher risk of accidental overdose. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal. Multiple factors can affect how long it may take you to withdraw from alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal treatments

Avoid taking prescription drugs that your doctor hasn’t prescribed to you. If withdrawal is so uncomfortable that you’re turning to drugs for comfort, you should contact your doctor or a rehab center to discuss medically supervised withdrawal. If you’re used to drinking less than 20 beers per day, HAMS recommends reducing your alcohol consumption by two beers per day until you achieve sobriety. Tapering can help you overcome alcohol dependence, which is a side effect of chronic alcohol use that causes cravings and withdrawal. Detox doesn’t treat addiction, which is a disease characterized by compulsive behaviors, such as chronic alcohol use.

  • 2  Due to this, alcohol detox at home isn’t advised because of the medical complications that can potentially arise.
  • Those with a wider circle of support have a better chance of staying sober.
  • Alcohol detox can offer treatment for alcohol withdrawal, as well as medical supervision and monitoring for medical complications that can arise during acute alcohol withdrawal.
  • Getting sober from alcohol is not something everyone can do on their own.

Your primary care provider can advise you on where to seek care for the physical and mental symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It’s very important to seek help if you struggle with alcohol use disorder. It is possible to get treatment and live a healthier life with a better relationship with alcohol. For most people, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside after 72 hours.

Treatments for Alcohol Withdrawal

Their job is to make sure that if you develop any worsening of symptoms, they get you to a hospital or call 911 immediately. If you need help finding a primary care doctor, then check out our FindCare tool here. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction have determined that there is not safe amount of alcohol. One of the surprising side effects of giving up alcohol is that your skin may start to look better. This is because alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to dry, dull skin. So, giving up alcohol can help your skin to look more hydrated and glowing.

For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons—in particular, costs and insurance coverage—of the type of treatment with your family members and primary care physician. This is yet another autonomic nervous system response to alcohol withdrawal. Tremors often affect the hands but can occur elsewhere in the body as well, according to the U.S. As your body detoxes, nausea and vomiting are pretty common symptoms. If severe vomiting is present, you may need to receive IV fluids so you don’t become dehydrated.

Outpatient Treatment

A person who has a long history of heavy drinking could have a seizure six hours after stopping drinking. Drug and alcohol detox can be an important first step toward recovery and healing for people with substance use disorders. Quitting drinking can have many important benefits for your physical and mental health, but there are many other types of benefits you may experience alcohol detox side effects as well. At this point, your risk of developing all types of disease will be reduced and your bone density will start to increase. Keep in mind that everyone is different and will experience different things when they stop drinking. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal relate proportionately to the level of alcohol intake and the duration of the person’s recent drinking habit.

These side effects vary depending on which condition the drug is being used to treat. Naltrexone is a generic drug that’s prescribed for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder in adults. As with other drugs, naltrexone can cause side effects, such as nausea, anxiety, and headache.

If you’re a heavy drinker, your body may rebel at first if you cut off all alcohol. You could break out in cold sweats or have a racing pulse, nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, and intense anxiety. Some people even have seizures or see things that aren’t there (hallucinations). Your doctor or substance abuse therapist can offer guidance and may prescribe medication like benzodiazepines or carbamazepine to help you get through it. The alcohol withdrawal timeline varies, but the worst of the symptoms typically wear off after 72 hours.

If you feel more severe symptoms, such as paranoia, increased pulse, or tremors sometimes called alcohol shakes, you should taper more slowly and consider seeking professional help. If you feel severe symptoms, such as hallucinations, rapid heartbeat or disorientation, call 911 immediately. An outpatient alcohol detox program may be suitable for people with mild alcohol dependence, those with a strong support system, or those who lack access to inpatient care. The first symptoms—and maybe the only symptoms—you experience may resemble a bad hangover. She adds that withdrawal can also occur after a significant reduction in alcohol consumption.

If you’re unable to reduce how much you drink, you may have a disease called alcoholism that requires professional addiction treatment. Alcohol rehab helps you taper off alcohol, and it treats other side effects and causes of alcoholism. The purpose of tapering off alcohol is to avoid major withdrawal symptoms so you can achieve sobriety safely.

alcohol detox side effects

Although there are many benzos available, diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and chlordiazepoxide (Librium) are the most frequently used. They’re sedatives that work by stimulating gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical in the brain that is involved in setting off alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function. Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems.