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6 Symptoms of Detoxing From Alcohol

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

If you make the commitment to recovery from the ravages of alcohol abuse, it doesn’t occur in a single step or specific moment. Long-term and meaningful sobriety must have in place a comprehensive plan of recovery that involves several important steps that must be completed. The first and arguably most important step in recovering from alcohol abuse is medical detoxification, which will minimize the pain and discomfort of the physical and psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal.

Detoxing from alcohol is indeed a necessary first step, but many who enter treatment or about to enter treatment may approach the detox process with uncertainty and fear. While the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal can be difficult to endure, knowing the most common symptoms associated with detoxing from alcohol will better prepare you for what to expect during the detox process.

woman detoxing from alcohol

The following are 6 symptoms that are common in those detoxing from alcohol.


One of the most common symptoms of alcohol detox is agitation as well as nervousness and excitability. Alcohol is a depressant, and when alcohol is no longer being consumed the body– and especially the central nervous system–is starting the process of correcting itself. As the body gradually rids itself of alcohol, you may experience period of pronounced agitation, but should decrease over time. Agitation can be made more pronounced in alcohol detox due to a lack of sleep since alcohol disrupts healthy sleep patterns.


Another common symptoms associated with detoxing from alcohol is frequent diarrhea. Chronic alcohol consumption inhibits the small intestine from absorbing certain minerals and nutrients, causing it to function improperly. As a result, food can pass through the small intestine at a more rapid rate and will not be absorbed properly causing diarrhea.


If you have abused alcohol for long periods of time, a symptom of detoxing from alcohol can be the presence of hallucinations. Hallucinations can be simply defined as the experience of seeing or hearing things that aren’t there while awake and conscious. The hallucinations those who abuse alcohol can experience can be auditory, visual, and even tactile, and they can make those who abuse alcohol person feel like they are being touched. They can trick a person into believing the unbelievable, or that they are in a place they are not.

A form of hallucination that alcoholics can experience is what is known as alcoholic hallucinosisWith this condition, an individual can experience a variety of symptoms before the onset of hallucinations. This can include dizziness, headache, irritability and insomnia. The majority of hallucinations those with this condition will experience are most audio or visual hallucinations.

Nausea And Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are another common occurrence during alcohol detoxification. Like other substances, alcohol is a poison that causes significant changes to the body and brain. As stated earlier, alcohol significantly effects the way we are able to process and digest food. Because alcohol interferes with normal digestion processes, your bodies can be saddled with the excess “sludge” that can accumulated over a period of time. As your body rids itself of alcohol, your body naturally will find ways to force this excess out of your body in order to restore balance.


As stated earlier in this article, chronic alcohol consumption significantly disrupts normal and healthy sleep patterns. This occurs as a result of alcohol inhibiting specific neurotransmitters that are important to sleep regulation. Not only does alcohol disrupt crucial REM sleep, it can also increase the chances of the development of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the upper air passage narrows or closes during sleep causing one to awake many times during the night gasping for air. Since alcohol has sedative effects, the muscles of the upper air passage are affected, and as a result snoring is increased and sleep quality and total sleep time are reduced.


Alcohol affects the central nervous system, the circulatory system, and virtually every part of your body. Drinking can increase your heart rate and dilate the blood vessels in your skin which can cause you to perspire. If you abuse alcohol, you can experience a phenomenon called night sweats during withdrawal. As with other symptoms of detox, night sweats, although unpleasant, is a way in which the body is attempting to regulate itself as alcohol gradually leaves your system.

Alcohol Detoxification is Essential to Long-Term Recovery

While the symptoms of alcohol can be unpleasant and uncomfortable to endure, undergoing alcohol detoxification at a reputable and safe drug treatment facility will help reduce the complications associated with alcohol withdrawal. As one of the premier alcohol detox programs in Southern California, SoCal Detox offers alcohol detox programs that can be individually tailored to meet your specific needs. For more information on how alcohol detoxification can benefit your recovery, call SoCal Detox toll-free today.

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