Unlike most drugs, alcohol is one of the few substances that can sometimes be fatal if a person completely stops drinking all of a sudden after a period of heavy use. This should not be an excuse to continue drinking heavily though, as the potential withdrawal symptoms can be managed with the proper information and personal care.
A Gradual Process Is Better For Most People
Depending on your own personal situation, such as how long and how heavily you have been drinking, and whether you have other health-related issues to consider, it is usually best to stop drinking gradually over time rather than stopping all at once.
The most severe symptom, and potentially harmful effect, that can occur when a person starts to detox from alcohol is known as Delirium Tremens which can start anywhere from 2 days to a week after alcohol intake has been stopped or significantly lowered. This can cause a rapid heartbeat and breathing, fever and sweating, and possible hallucinations.
If you have been through alcohol withdrawal before and then relapsed, or you have health concerns such as a heart condition or high blood pressure, you should seek professional care through a service such as First Step Detox or a similar program.
Other Potential Withdrawal Symptoms
During the first day of attempting to detox from alcohol, the most common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, twitching and/or shakes (which are not actually DTs), inability to sleep, sweating, and a higher blood pressure and pulse.
After 2 or 3 days withdrawal symptoms may begin to get worse, depending on the severity and length of the drinking habit, and they can include seizures, hallucinations, and a continuation of the symptoms felt in the first day.
Seizures are more likely to occur in people who have been through multiple alcohol detox procedures in the past, and they can occur in as little as 2 hours after drinking ceases in people who have a particularly heavy drinking habit.
The alcohol withdrawal symptoms and potential health risks are far outweighed by the risk that is taken by continuing to drink heavily. The longer you wait before seeking help and treatment, and the more alcohol you consume, the harder it will be to eventually get clean and the more intense the withdrawal symptoms will be.
If you have had past experience with alcohol withdrawal symptoms, heart and lung problems, or seizures, it is generally advised that you do not try to go it alone while you detox. Consult with your doctor, ask your friends and family that may have experience with this, or call one of the many hotlines available that will be able to give you advice on what to do next.
It is very important to take this detox and withdrawal process seriously, while taking into account all of your past drinking history and current health status. If you are in the higher risk category of people who have been drinking heavily and also have health concerns you should always consult with professionals before attempting to go through this alone as it could be harmful if not done with proper supervision.