When an individual stops drinking unexpectedly, they will undergo uncomfortable withdrawals. It can result in various mental, physical, and emotional symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant and creates a sedative effect on the brain. It alters the levels of neurotransmitters present within the brain. For that reason, it is essential to invest in the best Tennessee alcohol rehab. 

The Chemicals Send Messages Throughout the Body Affecting:

  • Dictating emotions
  • Behaviors 
  • The way an individual thinks

The Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Anxiety 
  • Body tremors

If an individual continues to engage in alcohol abuse daily, the brain chemistry will start to adapt to the excess alcohol. The process will result in produced chemicals such as Serotonin in higher quantities, attempting to replenish the alcohol supply that alcohol has been compromising. When alcohol use stops instantly, the brain doesn’t know how to regulate itself resulting in withdrawal symptoms and haywire chemical production. 

What are Alcohol Withdrawals?

Alcohol withdrawals are not generally symptomatic the morning after an individual decides to stop drinking. In the majority of cases, symptoms take two to four days to peak. The symptoms primarily start mild, and they may feel like an awful hangover. 

There are particular medications utilized to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms while simultaneously preventing an individual from threatening symptoms such as suicidal ideation or seizures. 

Medications Depend On The Following Factors:

  • How long the abuse has been occurring
  • The volume of alcohol consumed daily
  • How severe the symptoms are

Mild Alcohol Withdrawal 

Some users won’t engage in consumption morning to night and start again the next day. Alcoholism is considered an individualized disease, so for that reason, symptoms vary. There are some suffers who engage in binge drinking several times a week such as abstaining from alcohol use for three to four days but attend the bar for one drink randomly one night. 

Some individuals might engage in abstaining from alcohol consumption during the workday then consume a six-pack of beer every night. It’s important to remember that if alcohol consumption isn’t daily, or it is daily but isn’t excessive, then the withdrawal symptoms might not be so severe. In this case of mild withdrawal, symptoms can be managed generally through over-the-counter non-narcotic painkillers. 

Mild Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shaky hands
  • Mild depression
  • Mild anxiety 
  • Cold sweats
  • Mild mood swings
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal 

Moderate alcohol withdrawal usually occurs with daily or almost daily alcohol consumption. Individuals who heavily drink regularly, but do not engage in morning drinking will experience symptoms of this withdrawal. 

Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Tremors 
  • Pale skin 
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe discomfort
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Ongoing confusion and nightmares

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal 

It has been noted that between three and five percent of users who withdraw from an extensive period of heavy drinking will experience a severe symptom of withdrawal known as Delirium Tremens (DT’s). The symptom of DTs can be life-threatening if they are not treated by a medical professional. The symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal become worse before they get better. 

The peak of this stage is normally two and four days. 

Symptoms Of Delirium Tremens Include:

  • Severe confusion and disorientation 
  • Auditory hallucinations 
  • Fever 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Seizures 

When seizures do not have the proper pharmaceutical intervention process prepared, seizures can become lethal. When an individual is at risk of DTs, they will most likely be treated with a benzodiazepine, which assists with managing acute withdrawal. Other medications frequently used are anticonvulsants and antipsychotics. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Shakiness
  • Disorientation 
  • Tremors

The Behavioral Symptoms Caused By Physical Withdrawal Symptoms Are:

  • A shortened temper
  • Severe agitation 
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Anxiety

The combination of the withdrawal symptoms is uncomfortable to the point where the alcoholic feels the need to resort back to drinking. To avoid relapse, admission is closely monitored and structured at an ideal Tennessee alcohol rehab. If an alcoholic is in the withdrawal process and is attempting to detox alone, relapse chances are much more probable. 

Additionally, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be considered life-threatening. The symptoms listed previously are relatively moderate, but there are exceedingly intense symptoms as well. 

Life-Threatening Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Seizures 
  • Increased heart rate can lead to a heart attack 
  • Extreme disorientation can lead to serious accidents
  • Suicidal ideation can result from extreme depression 
  • Coma 

How is Alcohol Detox Performed?

The alcohol detox process is the first preparatory step before a lengthier treatment program is applied. Detox can be safely performed at outpatient and inpatient facilities. However, medical monitoring is recommended for heavy users. 


During the first stage of detoxification, the medical team will perform a comprehensive review of the medication or drug. The psychiatric and medical histories of incoming patients are reviewed to fully understand the situation. 


Several detoxification programs include medications that impersonate the effects of alcohol to reduce withdrawal symptoms. The medications applied might also target co-occurring disorders of general discomfort.


During the last stage of the detox process, the patient undergoes psychological and medical therapies. These therapies help users reach a maximum height and balance of mind and body. 

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

According to a literature review published in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal in 2013, the following are general guidelines of when to expect withdrawal symptoms. One of the most popular questions asked from family members concerned about their loved ones is, “How long does alcohol detox take?”

6 Hours into Alcohol Detox

The minor withdrawal symptoms normally begin within 6 hours of the individual’s last drink. A person who has a long history of heavy alcohol consumption could experience a seizure six hours after they stop drinking. 

12-24 Hours into Alcohol Detox

A small percentage of individuals experiencing alcohol withdrawal undergo hallucinations during this part of the process. During the hallucinations, the user might see or hear things that aren’t presently there. The hallucination symptom is considered scary, but doctors don’t consider it a serious complication. 

24-48 Hours into Alcohol Detox

The minor withdrawal symptoms typically continue during this time. If the individual undergoes minor withdrawal, the symptoms normally peak around 18-24 hours and decrease after four to five days. The symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach

48-72 Hours into Alcohol Detox

During this step, some individuals report delirium tremens (DTs) or alcohol withdrawal delirium, the severe form of alcohol withdrawal. When an individual experiences this condition, the following symptoms can present themselves:

  • High body temperature
  • High heart rate
  • Seizures

72 Hours into Alcohol Detox

Around this point in the detox stage, the alcohol withdrawal symptoms are normally the worse. In rare cases, the moderate withdrawal symptoms can last for a month. This includes the following: 

  • Illusions (seeing things that aren’t there)
  • Rapid heart rate 

Can You Die From Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox and withdrawal can be deadly in particular circumstances if an individual isn’t attending an accredited alcohol detox center. The detox process can be extremely dehydrating to the body because it typically results in the following to expel all of the alcohol and its toxins. 

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Sweating

Alcohol by itself is a dehydrating substance. For that reason, when combining alcohol’s preexisting dehydrating qualities with withdrawal dehydration, lethal seizures can be induced in some cases. 

What are the Next Treatment Steps for Alcohol Detox?

For the sufferer to receive the most exceptional and individualized care catered to their needs, doctors normally utilize a scale called the Clinical Institute for Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol. This scale assists in assessing a person’s withdrawal symptoms and recommended treatments. The higher the number is, the worse an individual’s symptoms are, and more treatments will be likely needed. 

The following medications are needed if an individual is experiencing moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. 


These medications are prescribed by doctors to reduce the likelihood of seizures during an alcohol withdrawal. The examples of the specific drugs are:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan) 
  • Diazepam (Valium) 

Neuroleptic Medications

These medications have the potential to reduce nervous system activity and can help prevent agitation or seizures associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Nutritional Support

Doctors might administer nutrients such as folic acid, magnesium, and thiamine to correct nutrient deficiencies caused by alcohol use and reduce withdrawal symptoms. 

After the immediate withdrawal symptoms have passed, medications might be prescribed by a doctor to assist with reducing the likelihood that an individual will begin drinking again. 

Naltrexone (ReVia)

This medication can reduce alcohol cravings and assist a person in maintaining their abstinence from alcohol by blocking opioids, also known as feel-good receptors in the body.

Topiramate (Topamax)

This medication might extend abstinence periods from alcohol abuse and assist in reducing alcohol consumption.

Disulfiram (Antabuse)

This medication can make an individual feel really ill if they consume alcohol while taking this drug and it can reduce alcohol cravings. 

Get Help At a Tennessee Alcohol Rehab Today!

Nashville Recovery Center specializes in PHP, IOP, and Outpatient programs all geared toward healing and transformation for the suffering individual. We also offer a broad spectrum of clinical services to our patients through our partnership, The Becoming. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, our licensed professional therapists can assist. 

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