The 3 Phases of Alcohol Withdrawal

Mesa Alcohol Detox

Alcohol withdrawal can be broken down into three stages, which usually start 6-24 hours from the last drink. The withdrawal process is influenced by many factors, such as how long a person drank, how much is consumed and the presence of a co-occurring condition. Those who abuse drugs also have increased risks. Generally speaking, the more dependent a person is on alcohol, the more withdrawal symptoms they will have.

It’s recommended to detox under medical supervision. Done incorrectly, alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. The most serious side effect is delirium tremens (DTs) that occurs in 3% to 5% of people. DTs can take place without warning. Symptoms include tremors, disorientation, hallucinations, and anxiety.

Detox in a drug rehab Arizona is the first step in getting clean and sober. To prepare yourself for the stages of alcohol withdrawal, here is a breakdown of the three phases.

Stage 1 of Alcohol Withdrawal

  • Symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, tremors, mood swings, heart palpitations, depression, and foggy thinking.
  • Usually, symptoms begin 6-8 hours after the last drink, or when the person is ready to start drinking again.
  • During detox, withdrawal symptoms are monitored and managed with various medications. Blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and respiration are also monitored.

Stage 2 of Alcohol Withdrawal

  • Symptoms include increased body temperature, increased blood pressure, increased respiration, irregular heart rate, sweating, confusion, irritability and mood swings.
  • Symptoms typically occur 1-3 days after the last drink.  
  • The most damaging symptoms are increased blood pressure and heart rate. This can send the body into a state of shock.
  • All vitals are monitored while in an Arizona detox.
  • Medications and therapies are used to manage withdrawal side effects. These may include disulfiram, naltrexone or acamprosate.

Stage 3 of Alcohol Withdrawal

  • Symptoms include hallucinations, seizures, confusion, agitation, and fever.
  • Symptoms can last 3 to 7 days or more.
  • This is the part of the process where some alcoholics may develop DTs or a wet brain.
  • All vitals are monitored during this stage, and medications are used to make the side effects more comfortable.
  • Nutrition and healthy sleep habits are important. Some Arizona rehab centers offer B12 shots, dry sauna therapy, amino acid therapy, and IV therapy to flush out toxins and restore proper nutrient levels.

Alcohol withdrawal is not pleasant, but it can be made more comfortable and tolerable with the right treatment center. To learn more about alcohol detox from The River Source, contact us today. We offer a full continuum of care that includes detox, counseling, and aftercare.

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