Understanding the stages of alcohol withdrawal can be crucial for you or your loved one’s recovery journey. These stages, characterized by different sets of symptoms, can make the process of abstaining from alcohol extremely challenging. In some severe instances, they can even be life-threatening. With a proper understanding of these stages, you’re better equipped to navigate through the alcohol detoxification process and start the path towards healing.
These stages apply primarily to individuals who have engaged in prolonged heavy drinking. Alcohol withdrawal’s impact varies from person to person, depending largely on their drinking frequency, the duration of their alcoholism, and any underlying conditions that may or may not be related to alcoholism. While some may experience minimal symptoms, others may endure severe withdrawals.
Stage 1: Minor Withdrawal Symptoms
The initial stage of alcohol withdrawal usually sets in within 6-12 hours after your last drink. This phase, referred to as minor withdrawal, may bring about symptoms such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Elevated heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
These symptoms often peak between 24-72 hours after onset.
Stage 2: Alcoholic Hallucinosis
The second stage of withdrawal is typically marked by hallucinations, which can occur 12 to 24 hours after the last drink. These hallucinations can be visual, auditory, or tactile and are usually temporary. Roughly 1 in 5 individuals experiencing alcohol withdrawal might reach this stage.
Stage 3: Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures
The third stage, manifesting between 24 to 48 hours after the last drink, can involve seizures. These are usually generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and medical attention should be sought immediately. Seizures occur in approximately 10-25% of individuals with severe alcohol withdrawal.
Stage 4: Delirium Tremens
The fourth and final stage, delirium tremens, can set in 48 to 72 hours after the last drink. This potentially life-threatening condition requires immediate medical attention, with symptoms that can include severe confusion, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and fever. Only a small percentage (roughly 3-5%) of individuals in alcohol withdrawal will develop delirium tremens, but it can be fatal without treatment.
Safely Detox from Alcohol with Pillars Recovery
Alcohol withdrawal is a spectrum, and not everyone who experiences it will have every symptom. No matter what you’re dealing with, Pillars Recovery can offer you the holistic care and support you need to live and thrive during recovery.
From detox to outpatient care, our specialized staff and beachfront facilities work together to provide a personalized and comprehensive treatment program, aimed at promoting sustainable recovery.
Whether you’re from California, Connecticut, or elsewhere, take your first step toward sobriety with Pillars Recovery and embark on the journey to living the life you deserve.