Do I need a detox?
Withdrawal symptoms are part of a condition called ‘alcohol withdrawal syndrome’, which can arise when someone (usually a heavy drinker) who has become physically dependent on alcohol stops drinking.
Withdrawal symptoms should be treated as a serious warning sign that you are drinking too much and that your health is at risk. They are also an indication that you should not stop drinking suddenly and seek appropriate medical advice and help to stop drinking.
What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?
Mild symptoms usually start within 8 to 24 hours from the last alcoholic drink. Typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:
· Hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
· A pulse rate above 100 beats per minute
· Loss of appetite
· Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
Severe symptoms can also include hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t real), as well as seizures or delirium tremens (‘DTs’). DT is a severe indication of alcohol withdrawal:
· Severe disorientation
· Increased heart rate, blood pressure and breathing problems
· Uncontrollable restless behaviour
What is a detox?
A ‘detox’ is the process by which a qualified practitioner will treat your alcohol withdrawal symptoms by using appropriate medication (diazepam or chlordiazepoxide) over a short period of time (a number of days) in order to reduce the withdrawal symptoms safely and comfortably so that you no longer feel the physical withdrawal symptoms. Once the ‘detox’ is completed, you are no longer physically dependant on alcohol. You may still experience the psychological aspects of dependence, known as ‘craving’.