What Does the Alcoholism Recovery Timeline Look Like?
The alcoholism recovery timeline is categorized into three different stages based on severity. These stages can be utilized to access a person’s symptoms. If a person doesn’t receive alcohol use disorder treatment, an individual can progress rapidly from stage 1 withdrawal to stage 3 withdrawal from a drinking period to the next.
Stage 1 (mild): Mild withdrawal contains less serious symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and irritability.
Stage 2 (moderate): Moderate withdrawal includes the above-mentioned stage 1 symptoms along with sweating, slight confusion, low fever, and rapid heart rate.
Stage 3 (severe): Stage 3 withdrawals are considered to be most severe and the following symptoms are included are hallucinations, seizures, and disorientation. The stage 3 withdrawals have the most potential to be fatal.
Alcohol Dependence and Tolerance
Alcohol is a legally obtained and intoxicating substance, that when consumed in abundant amounts over a prolonged period, can lead to the development of physical dependence and tolerance. Tolerance develops as a person’s body requires an increasing amount of alcohol to achieve desired effects. As alcohol abuse continues, an individual’s tolerance will continue increasing.
When tolerance to alcohol continues to progress and build, physical dependence will likely begin to develop as well. If a person is alcohol dependent, they will experience potentially fatal and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. An individual must never attempt to detox from alcohol alone and there are a variety of detox services that are available to help.
Alcohol withdrawal can be exceedingly unsettling and scary if the process is done alone. The overall process of detoxification is the body’s natural approach to removing toxins from the body. When alcohol is involved in the detox process, it can turn deadly. In a medical setting, however, trained professionals can monitor an individual’s symptoms and be prepared to administer medications if needed in a comfortable and safe detox experience.
How Long After You Stop Drinking Do You Feel the Effects?
It isn’t long after a person stops drinking alcohol that they begin to feel the effects. When individuals suddenly stop drinking and develop various alcohol withdrawal symptoms, there are often two questions repeatedly asked. They are, “Are these withdrawal symptoms normal” and “How long do the withdrawal symptoms last”.
It’s vital to note that withdrawal is certainly different for everyone. There isn’t a normal experience. Therefore, it can be difficult to foresee a person’s individual experience. It is typical for the withdrawal symptoms to start within hours to even a day or two after the person has had their last beverage.
The person will generally begin to feel better between five to seven days after they stop drinking. However, some of the symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, and sleeping patterns can last for weeks or even months.
How Long Does It Take to Show Withdrawal Symptoms?
The accurate duration of withdrawal is thoroughly influenced by the substance that an individual uses as well as the magnitude of the overall dependence on the substance. It might take days, weeks, and in a few cases, months to outstretch an absolute resolution of a variety of withdrawal symptoms. It’s depending on several individual differences and many factors.
It is a typical overview of specific drugs and the characteristic withdrawal timeline is as follows:
Alcohol: Some of the first signs of alcohol withdrawal might appear within numerous hours after a person’s last drink and the peak is over 24-72 hours. The delirium tremens normally develop 48-72 hours after the individual engages in heavy drinking. This typically lasts for 3-4 days but can last up to 8 days.
What Happens in Your Body When You Stop Drinking?
Individuals experience a withdrawal in their bodies when they stop drinking. It’s important to note that individuals with significant alcohol dependence might be more at risk of experiencing severe withdrawal and should therefore never attempt to quit alcohol “cold turkey” due to the increased likelihood of seizure development or other complications that are withdrawal associated. For many people, alcohol withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable.
In some instances, it can also prove to be deadly if it’s not managed appropriately through medical detox efforts. It’s important to remember that alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, also known as a CNS depressant, and suddenly quitting or slowing down use after developing dependence can result in potentially threatening nervous system stimulation as the person’s body restores equilibrium.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms might transpire within a couple of hours of the last drink. The more serious risks will remain to be a huge factor for many days.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
People who are alcohol dependent might experience some of the following upsetting alcohol withdrawal symptoms upon trying to quit:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Racing pulse
It’s not always extremely straightforward for a person to predict who would be considered at the highest risk for severe withdrawal complications. However, the overall likelihood of experiencing the most remarkable withdrawal tends to increase with the frequency of drinking and the average quantity of drinking. Individuals’ specific concurrent history of polysubstance use, medical issues, and those who have undergone previous episodes of alcohol withdrawal might be at additional risk.
Alcohol withdrawal can begin within the first couple of hours after the individual’s last drink, delirium tremens might not begin until a couple of days later and appear instantly, making the alcohol withdrawal the safest when monitored around the clock with medical professionals.
What Happens the First Few Days You Stop Drinking?
There is an alcoholism recovery timeline to what occurs the first few days after a person stops drinking.
1 Hour After a Person Quits
During this initial first stage, an individual’s body will kick into high gear to clear alcohol from a person’s bloodstream and prevent alcohol poisoning. After an hour when a person drinks their last drink, their liver begins working overtime. Alcohol has also been proven to trigger carb cravings and intense hunger that can lead to overeating.
12-24 Hours Afer a Person Quits
One of the most beneficial instances that can occur here is your blood sugar might finally normalize. Due to the diuretic effect that alcohol has on an individual’s body, it’s natural to feel dehydrated. So the best rule of thumb is to reach out for a water bottle asap.
48 Hours After a Person Quits
At this stage in the alcoholism recovery timeline, a person’s body generally finishes the biggest detox hurdle. Depending on how much a person has drunk, grogginess, tiredness, and headaches might be lingering still. The most inspiring part is the worse is over.
72 Hours After a Person Quits
The hangover side effects are most likely out of a person’s system at this stage. The person’s carb cravings may have most likely subsided. You should finally feel back to yourself both mentally and physically.
1 Week After a Person Quits
By this stage, you should be experiencing deeper sleep, which should cause mental and physical energy to increase. Your skin might begin to look more youthful and soft as the hydration restores. If there are any skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, or dandruff, those might improve.
1 Month After You Quit
After an entire month, a person might realize that their liver fat has reduced, therefore increasing the ability to filter toxins out of a person’s body. You might also notice a weight reduction. Additionally, the most remarkable improvement in a person’s skin should be noticed at this four-week mark period.
1 Year After You Quit
An entire year after a person’s last drink, a significant amount of body fat might be lost. The overall risk of liver, breast, and throat cancers also begins to reduce. Another huge benefit of a year mark with alcohol sobriety is the amount of money that will be saved.
What Happens When You Stop Drinking for a Week?
After a person stops drinking for a week, the alcoholism recovery timeline shows that the following symptoms can still be occurring in an individual’s life.
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Shakiness or jumpiness
- Not thinking clearly
- Mood swings
Other symptoms might include the following:
- Tremors of a person’s hands or various other body parts
- Insomnia (sleeping difficulties)
- Clammy, sweating skin
- Enlarged dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of appetite
A severe form of alcohol withdrawal which is called delirium tremens can cause the following:
- Feeling or seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Severe confusion
As an individual enters detox, they will experience a professional medical evaluation. During this process, a medical professional will access the overall severity of withdrawal symptoms which will include physical and mental health. The professionals will make sure to work closely with the patients to develop an individualized plan to address all of the needs effectively.
The trained medical health professionals will carve out time to accommodate every patient’s needs during the detox process. They will be able to support each client and close monitoring to identify if there are any possible difficulties to intervene if necessary. The main goal is to keep the clients comfortable and safe as the first step towards sobriety is reached.
Alcoholism Recovery Timeline Is Explained at Luna Recovery
The first step towards long-term sobriety is alcohol detox. Relapse is extremely common for individuals who don’t participate in an alcohol recovery program. These programs are essential to prepare individuals with the tools needed to stay sober and healthy.
Once an individual is medically stable and has completed the medical detox program, our staff will assist you in transitioning out of the detox program as an aftercare program is developed. They will be there with you every step of the way. The relapse prevention plan has the tools that are needed to fully maintain sobriety. Contact us to get started.
Dr. Allaire received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, as Valedictorian of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and his Medical Doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine, where he served as Chief Resident. He is the medical monitor for the Physician Counseling Committee of the Harris County Medical Society and the Medical Director of Serenity House Detox. Dr. Allaire specializes in medically assisted detox cases, treating patients in recovery from addiction or other mental health disorders, the medical assessment and monitoring of patients with addictive disorders, medical care related to eating disorders and the medical treatment of patients with mental health conditions.