The CDC estimates that 88,000 people per year die from alcohol-related causes (Ingraham, 2017). Furthermore, the CDC defines heavy drinkers as women who consume eight or more drinks per week and men who consume fifteen or more drinks per week. However, there seems to be confusion when it comes to accurately defining a drink. The United States’ definition of a standard drink as a beverage containing 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. However, most people’s “standard drink” contains substantially more alcohol, meaning that they are likely consuming more than the recommended amount of alcohol per drink. Depending on the amount of alcohol one is consuming, the side effects may vary. It’s also important to note that those suffering from an AUD can experience both short and long-term side effects. Short-term side effects include:

Short-term alcohol side effects include:
• Injuries from motor vehicle accidents, falls, drownings, etc.
• Violence including sexual assault, domestic violence, suicide and homicide
• Alcohol poisoning
• Slurred speech
• Decreased hand/eye coordination
• Blackouts
• STD’s including HIV due to risky sexual behavior such as unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners
• Miscarriages and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women

Long-term alcohol side effects include:
• Permanent brain damage
• High blood pressure
• Heart disease
• Heart attack
• Heart failure
• Stroke
• Irregular heartbeat
• Osteoporosis
• Diabetes
• Cancer

Signs of withdrawal:

Treating an AUD is not as easy as one may think. While many people may think that this is something that can be achieved at home, it’s advised that those with an AUD detox from alcohol in a licensed medical treatment center. People who have consumed heavy amounts of alcohol overtime are at risk for withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing alcohol consumption. Depending on how severe the AUD is, a person can experience signs of withdrawal within just a few hours after his/her last drink.

Signs of withdrawal include:
• Sweating
• Nausea
• High blood pressure
• Tremors
• Anxiety
• Irregular heartbeat

Severe withdrawal symptoms include seizures, hallucinations and delirium. Therefore, it’s important to detox from alcohol under the supervision of licensed medical professionals.

Treatment:

Detoxing from an AUD in the safety of a licensed recovery center is ideal for the safety of the patient. At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, we recognize that patients are most vulnerable for withdrawal-related complications during the detox process. This time is crucial, and we take every precaution to ensure that you or your loved one is safe and comfortable during the detoxification process. Patients are monitored 24-hours a day in order to safely eliminate alcohol from their systems. If a patient experiences withdrawal symptoms, our caring and compassionate staff is there to administer medications that will offset the withdrawal symptoms and make the patient as comfortable as possible. It’s important to mention that each patient is different, and depending on various factors, the length of time it takes to successfully detox from alcohol will vary. Some patients may need only a few days, while others may need weeks to successfully detox from alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal timeline:

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be described in five phases:
6 Hours:
Minor withdrawal symptoms begin about six hours after your last drink. These symptoms include anxiety, headache, insomnia, nausea and abdominal pains. Those with long histories of heavy drinking could have a seizure as soon as 6 hours after ceasing alcohol consumption.
12 to 24 Hours:
A small amount of people experience auditory and visual hallucinations at this point.
24 to 48 Hours:
Minor withdrawal symptoms continue during this time period. Additional symptoms may include shaking and heavy sweating.
48 to 72 Hours:
People can experience delirium tremens (DTs) or alcohol withdrawal delirium during this phase. A very high heart rate, elevated body temperature and seizers.
72 Hours:

This is the phase when alcohol withdrawal symptoms are most severe. People may experience illusions (seeing things that aren’t there) and a racing heart. High blood pressure, continued perspiration and fever may also occur.

Once a patient has completed detox, the next step in the recovery process is inpatient treatment. Patients will feel great after successfully detoxing, however, it’s important to remember that this is not the time to go home. That’s because you are no longer experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Although you feel great, it’s necessary to address the factors that caused you to develop an alcohol addiction. We specialize in individualized alcohol treatment plans because each patient will need a treatment plan that will work for his/her specific needs. During residential alcohol treatment, we focus on identifying the root cause that contributed to a patient turning to alcohol abuse. Using evidence-based treatment methods, we address each patient’s entire mind, body and soul during the recovery process. Our goal is to help our patients reclaim their lives that have been derailed due to the disease of addiction. In addition to 24-hour care, patients have access to daily group therapy, individual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), music and art therapy, adventure therapy and outdoor therapy. We recognize that proper nutrition is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle, so our patients receive nutrition and wellness education – vital life skills that they can take home with them. Harmony Ridge Recovery Center proudly offers family and relationship counseling in addition to life skills and education workshops designed to make the transition back home as smooth and successful as possible.

The primary goal of our residential recovery program is for our patients to focus entirely on themselves and their recovery. Patients enjoy spacious cabins that are just steps away from our medical/clinical building. Our team recognizes the importance of providing residential patients with a variety of amenities since Harmony Ridge Recovery Center will be their home away from home during the recovery process. Patients enjoy a swim in our indoor heated pool, arcade/gaming room, full cafeteria and recreational hall. If you’re more into the great outdoors, we offer fishing, hiking, kayaking, basketball courts and other outdoor activities that will be sure to help you along your journey to recovery. If you’re more of a bookworm, we have plenty of books for you to enjoy in our Mountain View Villa overlooking the tranquil woods in the valley. It’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, and we look forward to helping you achieve a fulfilling life free from the restrictions of alcohol addiction. For more information, please call 888-771-8372.

Ingraham, C. (2017, August 11) One in eight American adults is an alcoholic, study says. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/11/study-one-in-eight-american-adults-are-alcoholics/?noredirect=on
Nall, R. (2019, June 10) How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/how-long-does-it-take-to-detox-from-alcohol
Ambardekar, N. (2017, August 27) What Is Alcohol Withdrawal? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms-treatments#1