Alcoholism is one of the most dangerous conditions on the planet and is a real killer. Often referred to as the silent killer, one in 20 deaths around the world are linked to alcoholism each year and not only does it put your own health at risk, but others too with the effect it has.

That’s why many people each year check into rehabilitation clinics to get sober and start living their life in a healthier way and repairing relationships that may have been broken by the effect of alcohol. Clinics such as Primrose Lodge have long seen how relationships can suffer through alcohol, and indeed how they can be repaired through the withdrawal and recovery process.

When it comes to treatment for alcohol addiction and recovering from it, the first step is to detox and withdraw from the substance. Which in itself is incredibly difficult.

We’ve all seen scenes in films or on television where people are going through withdrawal symptoms, but is that what it’s really like? Well, yes and no.

To help you understand exactly what you may go through when withdrawing from alcohol when getting addiction treatment, here are the symptoms and side effects you may go through…

The Most Common Side Effects You’ll Encounter

There are a number of side effects that you will undoubtedly go through as your body looks to remove all the toxins and operate without alcohol in your system. These can be pretty unpleasant, and vary significantly.


Among the more common symptoms you’ll suffer with are severe cravings, which need to be battled through, as well as the likes of headaches, sweats, and a fluctuating temperature. You’ll also likely suffer with vomiting and nausea, as well as generally suffering from fatigue, which is why it’s important to still get the nutrients you need in order to get through the process.

Like you will have with your addiction, you’ll also experience higher levels of anxiety and irritability, as well as mood swings.

The Severe Symptoms You May Encounter

Of course, everyone’s experience with withdrawal is different as the body behaves in different ways. However, there are a number of really severe symptoms you may experience that can require medical assistance.

This is referred to as delirium tremens and alongside the symptoms you’ll encounter above, you may also suffer from severe confusion and disorientation, as well as hallucinations and high fevers.

You’ll experience agitation and a high blood pressure which may need monitoring by professionals, while there is also the chance of seizures, which again would require medical attention.

It’s why withdrawal in a controlled and monitored environment is a must if you’re going to get through it safely, effectively and set yourself on a pathway to a successful recovery.

Where To Go Through The Withdrawal Process


Given there are so many side effects when it comes to withdrawing from alcohol and entering the recovery process, it’s vital that it is done in a controlled environment for your own safety.

The safest way to do that is through a rehab centre. Alcohol rehabs can ensure that you go through the difficult process in the most comfortable and safest space, with round the clock monitoring and the medical help when needed.

However, many people also detox from home too. While this can be dangerous given the side effects noted above, particularly those more extreme symptoms, it is possible to detox at home and go through the recovery process successfully.

That involves ensuring that the environment you create to go through withdrawal is conducive to that exact process.

What that means is:

  • Removing alcohol from your home completely: The cravings you will encounter during withdrawal can be extreme and the first failing for many during that period is reaching for an old hidden bottle in the kitchen. Before starting withdrawal do a deep clean and tidy of your home and make sure any alcohol is out of the home and off the premises.
  • Gather a support network: Unlike treatment centres, there won’t be people monitoring your well-being during the withdrawal process. That can be fatal in the most extreme circumstances. By having a support network you essentially can bring in that monitoring system, with friends and family not only able to look after your well-being and call for medical attention when needed, but also provide you with the encouragement and company to get you through the difficult period.
  • Stock your cupboards: You need to do what you can to look after your health during withdrawal, and that means getting all the necessary nutrients into your diet. There will be periods where you lose your appetite and others where you feel like a regular meal. For the former, have the likes of smoothies and soups available to you that offer everything you need to keep your energy up, while also pre-making meals can also be useful as you almost certainly won’t be in the mood or have the energy for making any meals that take a bit of time during withdrawal.
  • Clear your diary: In rehab, you will receive the best advice on how long you need treatment for. At home, you don’t have that access to expertise which can make it a little more difficult to know when you can go back to your regular life following withdrawal. Withdrawal itself takes a couple of days, which is when the hard work begins. You need time for that, rushing back to work and the stresses of life is only going to lead to relapse. You need a significant period of time to focus on you, which means clearing your diary and prioritising your health.

There’s no right or wrong place to go through the withdrawal process, it is about each individual, but there are key differences between a home detox and one in a rehab centre and the success rate certainly backs that up.

Ultimately, going into the process with the knowledge of what will, and may, happen as well as having the right support network and conditions for withdrawal, whether that be at home or in a professional environment, will get you on the best possible pathway for beginning the recovery process for alcohol addiction.


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