How Long Will The Alcohol Withdrawals Last?

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Alcoholism is an insidious disease affecting many Americans today. A person suffering from an addiction to alcohol may find that they are overwhelmed at the prospect of suffering through withdrawals if they decide to seek treatment for their addiction. Alcohol Withdrawals are a phenomenon that occurs when someone addicted to alcohol suddenly stops consuming it. Withdrawals are often painful and severe and the length of time they occur varies per individual. So, what should a recovering alcoholic expect when it comes to Alcohol Withdrawals?

When Do Withdrawals Begin?

For someone who has been suffering from alcoholism for many years, withdrawals can begin as early as a few hours after their last drink. The first withdrawal stage is mild compared to some of the more severe side effects. When an alcoholic removes alcohol from their diet, they will begin to experience anxiety within a few hours. Typically between six and twelve hours after the last drink has been consumed, a recovering alcoholic will begin to feel unsteady, nauseous, and generally unwell. Some people will begin to tremble, especially in the hands or feet. This stage typically lasts the first twenty-four hours of recovery.

What to Expect

After the first stage of withdrawal, a person in recovery will begin to experience vastly more complicated symptoms. Due to the severity of these side effects, a person suffering from alcoholism should have their recovery monitored by a doctor. Some people will begin to have hallucinations as early as twenty-four hours after their last drink. These hallucinations can last a few days to a few weeks and are often accompanied by seizures. In addition to seizures or hallucinations, patients frequently undergo a highly dangerous stage of withdrawal known as the “delirium tremens” stage. During this phase, which typically begins three days after the last drink, recovering alcoholics can experience terrifying and potentially deadly symptoms, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Once the worst is over, a former alcoholic will continue to have withdrawal symptoms for up to a year. These symptoms are usually mild and include shaking hands and fatigue.

The entire length of an addict’s withdrawal will depend on the severity of each individual’s addiction. Overall, anyone considering seeking treatment for their addiction, should expect the worst symptoms to begin within a day of the last drink and subside within ten days. Most addicts, however, will feel the effects of their former alcoholism long into their lives.

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