What Are the Stages of Alcohol Detox?


Quick Answer

The first stage of alcohol detoxification involves tremors, along with other symptoms, such as headaches, vomiting and anxiety, explains WebMD. After this initial stage in the withdrawal process, a person may experience hallucinations followed by seizures. A potential fourth stage is called delirium tremens and requires immediate medical attention.

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What Are the Stages of Alcohol Detox?
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Full Answer

Six to 12 hours after alcoholics stop drinking alcohol, they enter into the first stage of the withdrawal process, according to WebMD. During this stage, individuals should avoid sources of agitation, which can cause their tremors to worsen. Within about 24 hours, the symptoms associated with stage one usually begin to lessen.

Between 12 and 24 hours after the addict stops drinking, he may begin to see or hear things that do not really exist; however, only about one-fourth of individuals undergoing alcohol detox experience hallucinations, notes The Recovery Ranch. Patients may still experience some of the symptoms of the first stage during this second stage. Six to 48 hours after patients quit consuming alcohol, they are at risk for seizures, but only about 10 percent of people experience them.

Approximately 30 percent of people withdrawing from alcohol enter into the delirium tremens stage, explains The Recovery Ranch. Symptoms of this stage include fever, tremors, confusion, a rapid pulse and dilated pupils. Without medical attention, patients experiencing these symptoms can die of cardiovascular or respiratory collapse.

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