Alcohol Detox Centers: What to Expect

What to Expect at Alcohol Detox Centers During Withdrawal

The most pressing concern that an alcohol dependent person must face initially is detox. One of the elements of alcoholism that attributes to its classification as the most harmful substance in the world is that withdrawal symptoms are often severe, and may even be fatal if no help is sought. To that end, we will examine how alcohol detox centers can help by looking at the process of detox from alcohol and what to expect.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms to Expect

Detox is a process whereby an individual goes through alcohol detox symptoms until their body returns to normal function. Symptoms may range from moderate to severe, which is reliant of the severity of the addiction and the patient’s physical health.

Any person who is dependent on alcohol will also have withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop. This is because the body has adapted to the constant drinking and a new balance has been established to account for the excessive alcohol consumption. However, when the alcohol consumption suddenly stops or slows down, the body remains in this altered state until it can be given the time it needs to go back to more normal function. This causes what is known as withdrawal symptoms.

Commonly, the following symptoms are experienced:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping problems
  • Shaking in the body, especially the hands
  • Hallucinations
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure

In rarer cases, a person may experience symptoms known as delirium tremens, which is the most severe set of symptoms. It includes symptoms such as seizures, restlessness, severe hallucinations, confusion, and fever. Delirium tremens may be life-threatening and it requires professional treatment.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

The symptoms that a person experiences during treatment at alcohol detox centers may begin within a few hours from the person’s last drink. People with severe addictions are often advised to continue with their normal alcohol consumption until they are ready to enter into rehab to avoid the symptoms from becoming unmanageable before getting help at alcohol detox centers.

Most of the symptoms such as elevated heart rate, anxiety, and depression peak after roughly 2 to 3 days have elapsed. If delirium tremens were to occur, they usually start at around day 3 of the program at alcohol detox centers. The alcohol detox timeline ends when the symptoms mostly dissipate and the person feels more like themselves again, which is usually at around day 5 to 7.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

In some cases, not all of the symptoms end by the completion of the program. A person may experience a condition that is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). With this condition, an individual may continue to have certain psychological symptoms for weeks and even months after they’ve been treated for alcohol dependence. In such a case, the individual often requires medication to help balance their brain chemistry, with GABA receptor activity often being one of the causes of the problem.

Medical Detox Programs

Perhaps the best way to treat a severe alcohol dependence during detox is to provide the person with drugs (FDA-approved) that are capable of reducing symptoms and making the experience more comfortable, and safer. These programs usually require that a person stay at the rehab center so that they can have access to around-the-clock care and medications as they require it.

If you are seeking help for yourself, a family member, or friend, then contact WhiteSands today at (877) 855-3470 to start with recovery.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.