How to Quit Drinking

Getting sober can be a life-transforming decision, but knowing what will happen during detox and rehab for alcohol can help make the entire process of how to quit drinking much less scary.

As you probably know, drinking alcohol clouds your thought- and decision-making process, slows reaction time, impairs vision and messes with your coordination.

But you might not know what happens when a heavy drinker quits.

Very quickly, you’ll feel the symptoms of what’s known as withdrawal, when your body adjusts to the lack of alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms vary and depend on the severity of your alcohol addiction. They could last anywhere from days to weeks, and can start within hours of having your last drink.

The first signs of alcohol detox might include anxiety, fever, nausea, insomnia, sweating, irregular heartbeat, and headaches. These symptoms often push drinkers to pick up “the hair of the dog,” starting the vicious cycle all over again.

From there, the effects of quitting alcohol get even more serious.

You could experience anything from disorientation, seizures and panic attacks to hallucinations, tremors, and even heart attack, coma or death. That’s why professional medical addiction treatment when detoxing from alcohol is so important.

As your first week passes, withdrawal symptoms can come and go in severity, but they will slowly taper off. Once the system has adjusted, though, former drinkers may experience bouts of insomnia, anxiety, delayed reflexes and lack of energy for up to a year, a phenomenon known as PAWS, or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

It’s vital to detox in a safe environment under medical supervision, especially when quitting alcohol. At The Mend, our treatment team conducts a thorough assessment to determine the best detox plan that is based on your alcohol-use, medical history and individual needs.

Staff physicians can use a wide range of safe and effective medications to lessen the physical symptoms of withdrawal to make detoxification easier.

Once detox is complete, The Mend offers residential addiction treatment and other aftercare programs to help you maximize the chance of continued success in maintaining your sobriety.

If you’re not sure whether you’re even really ready for detox and recovery, try taking our quick 10-question quiz.

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