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Is Alcohol Detox Dangerous?

A middle-aged man appears anxious, as his wife stands behind him ready to help.

You can buy alcohol in the grocery store. It’s served at just about every get-together you attend. Even your mother drinks it!

So it’s easy to think of it as a not-that-dangerous substance. Sure, it can ruin lives, but not as quickly as drugs like heroin or meth can.

What that kind of thinking fails to take into account, however, is that alcohol detox can be extremely dangerous, even deadly.

Alcohol Detox Dangers

Mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can begin about six hours after you stop drinking and can include anxiety, shaky hands, nausea, vomiting, sweating and insomnia.

In the 12 to 24 hours after an alcoholic takes their last drink, they may begin to experience hallucinations and seizures.

In the 48 to 72 hours after they stop drinking, alcohol withdrawal (AWD) delirium can set in (this used to be called delirium tremors).

Symptoms include:

  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Delirium, which is defined as an extremely disturbed state of mind
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excitement
  • Eye and muscle movement problems
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stomach pain

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Symptoms from AWD usually peak about five days after they begin. They can be treated with intravenous fluids, anticonvulsants and other medications.

Treatment for AWD is important because it significantly lowers the risk of complications that can lead to death. Potential complications include problems from choking or hitting one’s head during a seizure.

By seeking professional help, you’ll ensure that your detox is done as safely—and comfortably—as possible. But that’s not the only benefit. Recovery involves a great deal more than getting over the physical discomfort of withdrawal.

Your mind will need time to heal, as well. And you’ll need the tools to make it through the weeks before you start to feel really and truly good again.

What’s more, you’ll want to get to the root cause of why you started drinking heavily in the first place. The goal isn’t’ just to be sober, after all. It’s to live a good and happy life, full of meaning, hope and possibility.

Hope at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that has the tools, staff and expertise needed to safely treat alcohol addiction. Our master’s level trained therapists get to the root cause of addiction and help residents build a strategy for a successful future. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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