What Type Of Symptoms You Might Experience While In A Detox from Alcohol

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If you have recently decided to detox from alcohol, congratulations, you’ve made an important step that will positively impact your physical wellbeing as well as social interactions. A life of sobriety is a life fully lived, and you can say goodbye to groggy, hangover filled mornings and the terror of facing what you did in your last blackout. The number one thing to remember is that you are not alone in your struggle. Thousands of alcoholics take the first step to break free from the prison of addiction every single day and many are successful. Unfortunately, the beginning steps of an alcohol are not pleasant and the more you drink, the more likely you are to experience some pretty nasty side effects. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and your road to recovery will become easier as the days go on. Once you have wrested yourself from the disastrous effects of binge drinking you will have a whole life of clarity and sobriety to look forward to.

What Symptoms You Can Expect Right Away

Many people decide to finally quit the bottle after a night of heavy partying. You will have a whole host of mental and physical symptoms to deal with on your first day, but stay strong. It only gets better from here on out.

Immediate Physical Symptoms

You will likely start your detox with a raging hangover, which means a throbbing headache, dry mouth, nausea, and fatigue. The worst hangovers mimic flu-like symptoms as your body is trying to rid itself of the excess alcohol in your system. You might be lightheaded and have the “alcohol shakes” which manifest themselves in trembling hands. You could be sweating excessively and in the worst cases, even experiencing hallucinations. Try to stay hydrated and keep down as many good, nutritious foods and water as possible. Rest and take it easy. These symptoms will pass.

Immediate Mental Symptoms

Your detox will initially bring some unpleasant mental symptoms. It might be tempting to fight them off with a drink, but fight your way through it. These too will pass. You may be experiencing depression or anxiety, especially if your detox follows a multi-day bender or a blackout. You could be anxious thinking about what you did in your inebriated state. Take comfort in knowing that you will no longer wake up humiliated and embarrassed about what you have done the night before. Call up a trusted friend and talk to them about what is going on.

On the first day, it is most important to keep your end goal in mind. You are so strong for quitting alcohol and you should give yourself a break from stress for at least the first few days. If you can afford to take time off work, do it. Minimize anything that causes you undue anxiety during this difficult period. Now is the time to binge on Netflix and be kind to yourself.

Symptoms You Can Expect In The First Few Days

Many people who quit drinking report suffering from insomnia. Since it is common for alcoholics to get used to passing out instead of falling alseep, it makes sense that your sleep will be initially disrupted. If you find yourself unable to get a good nights sleep while in your alcohol detox, you can try the following methods to rest in a healthy way.

  • Drink lavender or chamomile tea before bed
  • Turn off your screens (laptops, phones) at least an hour before going to bed
  • Make sure your room is cool and dark

During your waking hours, you could be jumpy and irritable. You might also find yourself with a bunch of extra time and no idea how to fill those hours. All of this is normal. Stave off boredom by diving into a book, calling a friend or taking up a new, healthy hobby. In the months and years from now, you will see this extra time as a great gift from sobriety.

As time goes on, you might be tempted to think that you’ve beaten alcohol and you can become a social drinker. Do not fall into this trap. You have made so much progress until this point and having a drink will put you back at square one. Just take it one day at a time!

Coping Mechanisms For Dealing With An Alcohol Detox

During your detox from alcohol, you should lean on family and friends to help you through your journey. You are in a very vulnerable position and you need to reach out to all of your resources in order to have a greater chance of success.

  • Enroll in a detox center or program
  • Set up a daily phone date with a trusted friend to keep you accountable
  • Cut ties will all of your “drinking buddies” and focus on fostering relationships with people who value sobriety
  • Take up a new hobby to distract yourself from the detox

These are just some ideas for coping mechanisms. You should experiment and see what works best for you. Everyone is different, but you are not alone in working through your alcohol detox. There are many like you who have broken out of the prison of alcohol and are now living fruitful, happy lives. You will be amazed by how sobriety will positively impact your quality of life. It is worth it and detoxing from alcohol is the best decision you will ever make in your life. It is a hard road but the end result is so worth it. Quitting alcohol could even save your life. If you are ready to begin your alcohol detox journey today, we can help. Call us today at 866-802-6848. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and ready to help you take this critical step to improve your wellbeing, health, and quality of life.

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.