Is Your Liver Detoxing? 5 Signs of Alcohol Detox

5 signs of alcohol detox

The liver is the organ responsible for removing toxins in the body during detox. The most important question to answer is what are the signs of alcohol detox? Being able to know when your liver is detoxing, is an important step in recovery. Excess binge drinking or chemical consumption means that the liver must work exponentially harder to cleanse the body of harmful chemicals. This is an essential process of the body’s system to ensure proper functioning. When abusing drugs and alcohol, many are unaware of how essential the liver detox system is to sustain life. 

Liver Detox: The Signs Your Liver is Detoxing

When making the decision to remove alcohol from your daily life after dependency, it is important to have all of the resources available to you during this time. Coastal Detox is available to provide you with the insight and support you will need to detox your liver safely. In only a few hours after abstaining from alcohol, the functions of the liver will automatically start the process of detox. How extreme this withdrawal will be, depends upon overall health, as well as how severe a person’s alcoholism has progressed. This process is typically broken down into three steps, lasting until the body has completely adjusted and removed all harmful substances, and will become more and more difficult as the detox continues. These three steps are essentially the timeline and symptoms that liver detox consists of: 

  • 8 to 10 hours after your last drink of alcohol
  • 24 to 78 hours after the first symptoms of liver detox begin
  • 2 to 4 days after consuming your last sip of alcohol

Knowing what to expect when the detox of your liver begins, can prepare you for what’s ahead. Being informed of what liver detox and withdrawal consists of is the best preparation for a healthy journey to recovery, and will assist you in creating a plan for the type of treatment you will need. 

Liver Detox: Timeline of Detox 

  • In the first few hours:
    • In the first 8-10 hours, the first symptoms will begin. Nausea and abdominal pain are the first physical symptoms, accompanied by the psychological influence of anxiety. Not only will a person detoxing experience fatigue, but you will most likely suffer from insomnia and restlessness as well. This is due to the liver is steadily playing catch-up and filtering out immediate toxins, becoming exhausted in the process. 
  • The first day after:
    • Within the following day, 24-78 hours after consuming your last drink, the fatigue will likely continue. Confusion, problems focusing, or an overall haze in consciousness begins to set in. The body working overtime affects the brain’s ability to use the information surrounding you and can reduce reaction times, making for dangerous interactions to you and your environment. 
    • Thanks to the need for the body to compensate for the extra pressure being placed on it, your temperature will rise, resulting in even higher blood pressure readings. This leads to increased heart rate and anxiety, creating a loop back to anxiety and exhaustion. Typical at this point, there is a misconception that reaching for another drink may be the solution to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce anxiety. Though this is not the answer, many people assume this to be the end of the liver detox cycle, and in turn, begin the abusive habit over again. 
  • Within the first week:
    • Beginning two to four days after your last sip of ethanol, emotional irritation and agitation come into play. The craving will increase, and the habit of steadily drinking has the liver stuck in detox mode waiting to be overworked again. Hallucinations and auditory anomalies can be noticed, such as ringing in the ears and black spots in vision. Seizures and tremors of the extremities are common when going through this extreme liver detox and withdrawal. These can be terrifying things to experience alone or without the help or treatment rehab resource centers and should be reported immediately. 

With extreme cases of alcohol abuse and the need for liver detox, the symptoms of the third phase of withdrawal are the most difficult and life-threatening to endure. Not all people experience the uncomfortability of these factors. However in extreme cases, after four days without alcohol, the liver and body systems become confused and lead to severe consequences. During these times, Coastal Detox is here for you to ensure that you have the resources you need. 

Liver Detox: 5 Signs of Alcohol Detox

There are five telltale signs that you are experiencing liver detox. These include:

  • tremors, anxiety, seizures
  • nausea, vomiting
  • headache, irritability, confusion
  • an increased heart rate, sweating, high blood pressure
  • insomnia, nightmares

These five signs of liver detox may happen all at once, over a period of days, or in all different combinations. 

Liver Detox: How Everyone Reacts Differently

Alcohol affects everyone, in every quantity, and under different circumstances. For example, a 110 lb female may feel the effects of a single ounce of liquor or a single glass of wine, much more quickly and with much more of a reaction than a 260lb man would. Knowing your limits, and how your body reacts to the substance is critical, and could be the difference between life and death. 

It has been scientifically proven that men process alcohol through their bodies at a more rapid pace than women do. This is due to different hormones and chemicals through the body and brain by biological makeup. In addition, different races and ethnicities also fall into this category by possessing different enzymes, whether, through food, environment, or biology, that may hinder or assist liver detoxification. Though to many extremes, this area of study is largely lacking scientific study. Because of this, it may be difficult for an individual to put a number or amount of adequate alcohol consumption into a chart and can leave to addiction and abuse, and essentially binge drinking. 

The “feel-good” effects of drinking alcohol rely on many elements, namely birth gender, age, weight measurements, ethnicity, food absorption and the amount consumed, and well as the time frame in which alcohol is ingested. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, more than three drinks a day for women is considered alcohol abuse, and more than 4 drinks within an hour are binge drinking. Just as well, within the time of a week, more than 6-8 drinks is considered alcohol abuse. 

In the case of men, and binge drinking alcohol, the number that constitutes a problem is increased by only one drink per day, making the dangerous number to be four measured drinks, and 5 drinks within an hour are binge drinking standards. That said, consuming more than 2 drinks a day through a week’s time, measuring to about 12-15 drinks a week is considered to be abusive drinking for males. 

Liver Detox: Excessive Alcohol Abuse

Both binge drinking and alcoholism can wreak havoc on one’s body and liver functions and detox. The negative interactions can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Poor judgment aside, physical conditions that impact the function of the body include the following, when the overuse of alcohol takes its toll on the detoxification process of the liver:

  • Hormones become imbalanced
  • The risk of cancer increases
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Damage to the muscles of the heart resulting in cardiomyopathy 
  • Higher risk of stroke
  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Problem with dangerously high blood pressure
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Fatty Liver
  • Hepatitis
  • Poor sleep and insomnia
  • Physical injuries due to intoxication
  • Irreversible damage to the body that results in death
  • Death from unsupervised detox

A healthy body is the result of a healthy liver properly removing toxins from the body, such as alcohol and other substances used in excess. Liver detox can dramatically lower the risks associated with drug and alcohol dependency. 

Liver Detox: The Process of Detoxification

A healthy body and liver are constantly working to rid the body of toxins. Whether environmental or chemical, the detox of the liver is important to optimal performance. Even the foods that we eat require the liver to detox and filter some components from the body. Sugar, carbs, protein, caffeine, or nicotine require the liver to work to break down the beneficial from the waste. Liver detoxification, however, does not come without symptoms that are classified under experiences of withdrawal. 

Aside from the body’s detox system of the liver working to stabilize the nutrients and daily pollutants flowing through the digestive system, pumping out other things like alcohol, becomes a priority. In this case, other dangerous particles cannot get the attention and time they need to be processed properly, creating a hazardous environment.  When using alcohol to an excessive level, the body must work double-time to process ethanol, which is the active ingredient in alcohol. 

In the event that a person is consuming more ethanol than that body can filter through within the time needed, the liver cannot function properly due to the overload. Respecting the theory that one alcoholic beverage per hour allows the liver the time and energy needed to perform its process and preparing itself for the next round of work ahead of itself. By hindering this process, someone abusing alcohol may find themselves at risk of complications or even disease of the liver. 

Quitting “cold turkey” is one method of liver detox. Another is slowly weaning off of the substance. The second option seems more appealing, due to the lack of withdrawal symptoms a person can experience, however, both can be very dangerous. The shock to the system once dependence is formed is best done with the help of drug and alcohol treatment programs designed to safely assist you in regaining control over addiction. 

Liver Detox: Rehab Treatment Center Supervision 

For most people, dealing with the initial hours of liver detox can be done alone, or without the assistance of rehab treatment centers, or inpatient residential programs. However, any further into these conditions should be done under the guidance of medical professionals. This is to ensure that the level of care needed is provided at the right times to avoid life-altering tragedy or death as a result of detox. 

The symptoms and cravings that are encountered even just days after the initial detoxification of the liver, can result in relapse. Falling back into the vicious cycle of consumption and hangover, then to withdrawal, is easily the culprit leading to dependence and abuse. Without the steady oversight and care of a treatment facility, it may seem hopeless to be free of substance abuse and therefore lead to a life of suffering from alcoholism. 

If you have any signs that your body and liver detox is unmanageable after just a few of the beginning stages, it is advised that you seek medical attention and assistance from rehab treatment centers. The cleansing process can be scary and harmful if left untreated my a medical professional. While the desire to be free of dependence can be the ultimate goal, the fear of experiencing unwanted withdrawal symptoms can lead a person to avoid or put off improving their life through rehabilitation. Drug and alcohol resource centers have the tools and training available to make this decision a more permanent way of life. 

Liver Detox: Getting Help At Coastal Detox

Education, awareness, and hope are all you need to break free of the restraints of alcohol abuse and dependency. Liver detox is one of the most important steps to take, and can often be the most frightening. Our substance abuse treatment resource center at Coastal Detox, promises to take exceptional care to treat each individual with the utmost respect and to cultivate a successful path to wellbeing. Let’s beat substance abuse together. To learn more contact us here at Coastal Detox or you can call us at  (877) 978-3125.

References:

https://www.quicksilverscientific.com/blog/signs-your-liver-needs-a-detox/

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/withdrawal#risk-factors

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/detoxing-your-liver-fact-versus-fiction

https://www.mydr.com.au/gastrointestinal-health/liver-and-alcohol-breakdown

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320371.php

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.