It is important to understand each person has a different rate of recovery, and those who are going through PAWS will need continued work to relieve their symptoms through a long-term program.
In This Post You Will Find:
- Alcohol’s Effects on the Brain
- Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
- Alcohol Detox Strategies
- Inpatient & Outpatient Detox Programs
- Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
- Alcohol Detox Treatments
This was originally posted June 8, 2018 and was updated September 9, 2019.
Alcohol’s Effects on the Brain
Excessive drinking alters the brain’s chemicals, which causes the brain to modify its neurotransmitter activity by enhancing GABA and decreasing glutamate. This process creates in the individual a relaxed and happier feeling while drinking alcohol. This can turn into alcohol dependence if the individual continues to drink excessively, and the brain will suppress GABA and increase glutamate. When this happens, the body will need higher levels of alcohol to sustain the effect, which will lead to addiction. The longer and more severe the addiction is, the longer the alcohol withdrawal timeline becomes.
The alcohol detox timeline has three stages of alcohol withdrawal, beginning with mild symptoms to moderate symptoms to the most severe symptoms known as Delirium Tremens (DTs).
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
Mild withdrawal symptoms may occur within the first six to 24 hours after one’s last drink. These symptoms include intense cravings, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, headaches, and insomnia. Within 24 to 48 hours, the second stage starts in which symptoms may progress to irregular heartbeat, seizures, confusion, hallucinations, and a higher body temperature. The most intense symptoms typically happen within 48 to 96 hours in the third stage and may include severe itchiness; impulsive and dangerous behaviors; depression and anxiety; seizures with tremors; disorientation; and delirium.
These alcohol withdrawal symptoms and timeline will vary from person to person depending on his or her age, how long the individual abused alcohol, and how much alcohol was consumed before beginning the detox. Not everyone will feel all these symptoms or go through all three stages, but most people will have intense alcohol cravings at some point during the detox.