Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal
In the process of trying to achieve sobriety and put alcoholism behind you, you will likely experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Like with other substance abuses, withdrawal can be intense and incredibly trying, it’s why over half of people that try fall into relapse at least once while trying to get out. And while it may always be an internal battle, one can at least achieve vast physical improvements through successful sobriety. Usually, it is through the first thirty days of sobriety that physical symptoms start to finally go away completely, leaving the rest of the fight to alcohol abstinence and continued recovery. Here’s a detailed look at how withdrawal experiences tend to go within those first thirty days:
Day 1 usually begins with just a bad hangover, followed by anxiety and confusion. This is typical of spending a day after a session of heavy alcohol consumption, and the body is only beginning to feel the effects of withdrawal. However, as the day progresses, you may notice having shakes and tremors, your heart rate might skyrocket from time to time, and the anxiety may increase. Come to the end of the day, you may have trouble sleeping and even hallucinate. One of the best ways to combat the first day, which tends to be quite intense, is to consult a doctor and get medication that can help. It’s always best to consult a doctor so that you’re prepared and able to take on withdrawal symptoms as you progress in recovery properly.
Up to Day 5, you might experience auditory and visual hallucinations, continued anxiety and insomnia, along with depression since you haven’t had a drink. And you will also experience intense cravings, your body trying to get you to take even a single drop.
From Day 6 to Day 8, intense cravings, depression, anxiety, and insomnia will likely continue, though they may subside by some degree. Headaches may happen from time to time, and temptations to drink will continue to dog you for the duration.
From Day 9 to 14, you will finally begin to experience a vast improvement in both body and mind. While the cravings will remain, your headaches and anxiety will start to subside the closer you near the 2-week mark. Your appetite might also begin to stabilize as you may have been experienced stomach problems up to this point. And your sleep will start to stabilize as well. This is an essential point in your sobriety journey as you will finally start to feel for yourself how good it is to be sober again.
From week 3 to 4, you will start to notice fewer cravings (though those cravings may be few and far, they can be anywhere from nagging to intense), your body may begin to look healthier, you may start to feel happier, and you might even start losing weight as your body is achieving a better balance within.
Finally, by day 30, your physical symptoms should’ve gone almost completely. Your cravings will have reduced even further, your body will continue to reach a healthier state, and most of the work now will be maintaining your sobriety as well as making an effort to stay away from temptation.
This doesn’t mean that the cravings and the risk will go away. It may still linger in you for years and years, if not for the rest of your life. But with discipline and good self-care, you can make sure that you don’t relapse and remain sober for the rest of your days, living a better and healthier life.