The most daunting aspect commonly stated about addiction is that cravings will last forever, but this is an overgeneralization. Cravings seem to last forever, but eventually, they stop. Alcohol dependency is the same thing and involves withdrawal symptoms that can range from mood swings to seizures. Overcoming with alcohol addiction is no easy task and can even become life-threatening.
Cravings are one of the hardest challenges to face when it comes to any dependency because cravings serve as the temptation to use again to relieve the suffering experienced from withdrawal. This is what keeps the drug addiction cycle in full circle; the cravings prompt relapse, which makes the individual want to try to quit again, only to go back to cravings which lead back to relapse. Within the first two hours alone of abstaining from alcohol, psychological and physical symptoms take effect and peek at about 24-48 hours. Physical symptoms include feeling sick, experiencing an irregular heartbeat, headaches, irregular respiration, sweating, nausea, abdominal pain, insomnia, and vomiting. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, depression, distracted cognition, confusion, and restlessness. These last for one to five days depending on the individual.
This is not the end of the vicious withdrawal cycle because if treatment is not sought after 5 days of abstaining from alcohol, severe life-threatening symptoms start taking effect. These include seizures and delirium tremens (DTs). If the individual still does not seek help after experiencing seizers, then death becomes an increasing possibility. Past this, hallucinations, hyperactivity, increased blood pressure, and abnormal liver function can occur.
Thankfully, there are detox programs that are designed specifically to fully rid the body of alcohol so that the individual can start their road to recovery. These programs often provide medications that can relieve withdrawal symptoms or prevent the individual from giving in to their cravings. The first part often experienced in detox is the acute stage, where the individual experiences cravings to drink alcohol for about one to two weeks. Detox has a wide range of time and can last from three days to two weeks, which is less than a month to get an individual’s life back under control. However, the length of rehab depends on the type of drug used and how long the individual was using.
After the first few weeks of detox, the individual will be able to go longer and longer without experiencing cravings for alcohol. This process is like building up a muscle, it takes patience, time, and a strong will to continue without giving up after failure. Although, cravings can still occur long after this process with 10-100 cravings happening in just one day alone. The best thing to do to avoid these craving attacks is to stay busy to keep the mind distracted, which means that being alone is not a good idea. Being alone breeds rumination, which increases cravings.
Usually, at about six weeks of abstinence, most former alcoholics feel like themselves again and feel an absence of cravings, but other addicts need six months. Triggers end up replacing cravings and become the things that lead to the return of cravings. These triggers can range from seeing other drink alcohol to others just talking about alcohol. If you or someone you know feels they need help, please consider visiting a treatment center. Asana Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center that offers outpatient and inpatient services with various therapies and detox techniques. Call 949-438-4504 to learn more about their treatment services.