CaAlcohol withdrawal may seem scary to some people who worry about its potentially intense side effects. There is uncertainty about how their body will respond and what effects they may experience. One of the unpleasant symptoms of ending a drinking habit is alcohol withdrawal diarrhea. There’s no guarantee you will get diarrhea when you stop drinking, and there are ways to manage it if you do, so you shouldn’t use alcohol withdrawal’s adverse effects as a reason to avoid treatment for alcohol abuse.
For many people, the first step of moving towards drug or alcohol treatment is detox. Detox could involve withdrawal from either drugs or alcohol. While some people can handle going to a detox center, others have a significantly harder time dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. There are several reasons that many people decide to undergo detox. It doesn’t have to be because they’re dealing with a drug problem.
Prolonged usage of any substance, especially alcohol, can alter the way the body functions. Someone who’s been drinking alcohol for a long time might have a body reliant on receiving the substance to function normally and can even have what’s called an ‘alcohol belly.’ Detoxing from the substance shocks the body, which results in the individual suffering several symptoms.
Among these symptoms, one of the most debilitating ones can be diarrhea. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable discussing their bowel movements, and understandably so. However, dealing with diarrhea from alcohol withdrawal can be incredibly taxing, so it’s an important topic when discussing medical detox. So, here’s everything that you need to know about alcohol detox and the likelihood of it causing diarrhea or not.
How Alcohol Detox Can Cause Diarrhea
Experiencing diarrhea after going on a detox isn’t just restricted to alcohol. Users of other drugs may also experience diarrhea after initiating the detox. That’s because the detox pushes users into alcohol withdrawal.
What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear within six hours after an individual initiates the detox. The nature of these symptoms varies, and their duration also depends on several factors. Diarrhea from alcohol withdrawal is a common side effect along with others such as anxiety, restlessness, and cravings. The severity of these symptoms may also vary depending on the individual. If you experience chronic diarrhea after quitting drinking, the resulting dehydration and nutrient deficiency can lead to more health issues.
Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms & Diarrhea
The primary cause of these withdrawal symptoms is dependency. Users who are infrequent alcohol drinkers or only drink casually may experience no symptoms from alcohol detox. However, those that drink regularly will definitely experience some form of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, diarrhea included.
Alcohol is a depressant by nature, and after prolonged use, the body begins to rely on receiving alcohol readily for its functions. The brain will eventually stop producing certain chemicals and rely on receiving them from alcohol and becomes dependent. As a result, it takes time for the body to resume normal bodily functions after a detox. This is the leading cause of diarrhea after stopping alcohol consumption and going through detox.
Factors Impacting the Likelihood of Detox Causing Diarrhea
Not everyone that goes on an alcohol detox will suffer from diarrhea or other withdrawal symptoms. Some people don’t struggle with withdrawal symptoms at all, while others often suffer a great deal for different lengths of time. There are several variables that impact the likelihood of experiencing diarrhea and other withdrawal symptoms after an alcohol detox.
The level of alcohol an individual consumes before going on a detox has a significant impact on whether they’ll experience diarrhea or other withdrawal symptoms. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA), the moderate amount that’s safe to consume is one alcoholic drink on any single day for women and two alcoholic drinks on any single day for men.
It extends to seven alcoholic drinks per week for women and 14 for men. Anything above this qualifies as heavy drinking, and those users are more prone to experiencing serious symptoms, such as diarrhea, from alcohol withdrawal.
Nature of Consumption
Binge drinking is one of the biggest causes of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is one of the most popular forms of alcohol consumption, especially among younger drinkers. Most people that start drinking at an early stage binge drink regularly. Binge drinking is the practice of consuming large quantities of alcohol in a single session. Generally, for men, it’s defined as having five or more alcoholic drinks during a single session, and for women, it’s having four or more drinks.
The issue with binge drinking is that it causes withdrawal symptoms to settle in more quickly. As a result, individuals who binge drink every other week are more likely to fall into a cycle of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, than drinking again to relieve them. Going on a detox after a binge drinking session can definitely increase the likelihood of the individual suffering diarrhea after they stop alcohol consumption.
The Nature of Detox
Going on a detox completely cold turkey is another reason why most people experience severe withdrawal symptoms and diarrhea. Those that can taper down their daily use before engaging in the detox have a significantly easier time than those that go into the detox completely cold turkey. These individuals are at a much lower risk of suffering from withdrawal symptoms or diarrhea.
However, for many users who drink regularly, it’s difficult to cut down and reduce daily usage. Most people suffering from alcohol addictions that attempt to taper down their usage and then detox tend to never reach the detox stage. That’s why it’s important to find a medical detox center in Texas where you are supervised by experienced professionals who can monitor your withdrawal symptoms.
While this might not be related to alcohol, the individuals’ diet also significantly impacts whether they’ll get diarrhea after they quit drinking. Those who follow a balanced diet and eat healthily are less likely to suffer from diarrhea after detox. The amount of fiber in an individual’s diet also has a significant impact on their gut health. People with a healthy gut are less likely to experience any diarrhea when they engage in alcohol detox.
General Alcohol Detox Timeline
Individuals that go through with alcohol detox will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms within about six hours after the last drink. Those that don’t engage in heavy drinking will start to experience symptoms tapering off in 48 hours.
However, everyone is different, and some people will experience uncomfortable side effects for several days. Generally, heavy drinkers will start to experience worse symptoms after the first two days. These symptoms may include severe diarrhea, seizures, or even delirium tremens (DTs). DTs can cause hallucinations, tremors, light and sound sensitivity, agitation, and other symptoms.
Risks in Detoxing from Alcohol
Once again, this is another factor that varies from individual to individual and depends on how severe the withdrawal symptoms are. A severe case of diarrhea can be especially debilitating during a detox. The body is already suffering from dehydration as it works overtime to eliminate any potential toxins. In the most severe of circumstances, diarrhea may even result in hospitalization due to dehydration or low nutrient absorbency.
For heavy alcohol drinkers looking to undergo a complete detox, the best option is to seek out care at a specialist medical detox center.
What’s an Alcohol Detox Center?
An alcohol detox center is a place designed to help individuals suffering severe withdrawal symptoms in the recovery process. There is the option to visit an alcohol detox center in Texas as well. Each detox center is known for using specific types of coping mechanisms to help aid with the rehabilitation process.
There’s the option to use a faith-based medical detox center in Texas. While people may not require such medical attention, these centers are vital in aiding those suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms.
How to Stop Diarrhea After Drinking Alcohol
There are several different steps that individuals can take to relieve the uncomfortable side effects of diarrhea. These different techniques include prescriptions, natural options, and even food choices.
Staying hydrated is one of the best natural remedies for diarrhea and is crucial when undergoing a detox. Drinking lots of water and additional fluids can help negate any additional discomfort caused by dehydration.
It’s absolutely essential that individuals increase their fluid intake during recovery, and the recommended intake is 2 to 3 liters a day. Taking electrolytes is especially helpful as users lack calcium, potassium, and magnesium during the alcohol detox. Any enhanced hydration beverages like sports drinks are ideal for restoring electrolytes. An intravenous (IV infusion) of rehydrating fluids may be recommended If you are being treated at a medical detox center.
Probiotics are available in the form of supplements, and they provide your intestines with beneficial microflora. These are good bacteria that help protect the gut and are essential for normal functioning in an individual’s gastrointestinal system. A lot of research showcases that probiotics can help speed up an individual’s recovery from diarrhea. One recent study, for instance, found that certain strains of probiotics help alleviate chronic diarrhea.
For those that don’t believe in the effectiveness of natural remedies, there are always over-the-counter solutions to stop diarrhea after drinking alcohol.
An OTC remedy that’s effective in less serious conditions. It helps treat and prevent diarrhea by slowing down the gastrointestinal system.
Pepto-Bismol is also useful in treating nausea and loose stools. It will relieve the stomach and help stop diarrhea.
While Clonidine isn’t designed specifically to treat diarrhea symptoms, some studies indicate that itfunctions as an anti-diarrhealfor people with a variety of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or intestinal failure. However, they also recommend that Clonidine only serves as a last resort when all other alternatives have failed.
Lastly, one of the most effective solutions for those suffering from diarrhea is following a healthy diet. There are a lot of different kinds of food that help with diarrhea.
Yogurt with active cultures contains bacteria that help significantly reduce both the severity and time duration of diarrhea. Before picking the yogurt, it’s essential to read the label and look for brands that don’t have high sugar. Sugar and artificial sweeteners can contribute to intestinal gas and loose stool.
Those soups that are high in sodium are especially beneficial during detox-induced diarrhea. As the body is already suffering from dehydration, the extra sodium helps retain water and prevent dehydration.
BRAT is an acronym that’s synonymous with treating diarrhea. It represents four simple and easily digestible foods that aid in treating diarrhea. These foods are bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Each of these contains low amounts of fiber and help make the stool firmer.
- Bananas are high in potassium, which is a nutrient the body may not have enough of during the detox. They also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps move the stool smoothly.
- White rice is easily digestible and contains loads of carbohydrates. Those that struggle with eating plain white rice can also have rice cooked in chicken broth.
- Applesauce that contains natural sweeteners is easily digestible and aids in diarrhea treatment.
- Toast is a decent source of carbohydrates and is easy to digest as well.
When it comes to a definitive answer regarding whether alcohol detox can cause diarrhea, it’s hard to go with either yes or no. The truth is that it depends on several variables. Some individuals might suffer from alcohol withdrawal diarrhea, and others may not. However, it isn’t all bleak as there are several solutions that individuals can use to aid diarrhea.
Contact us todayif you are concerned about going through a tough withdrawal period.Stonegate Center is a faith-based rehabilitation facility known for its compassionate and evidence-based approach to recovery. Customized treatment focuses on your particular circumstances, allowing us to develop a recovery plan that heals your body, mind, and spirit.
We offer medical detox as part of alcohol addiction treatment at Stonegate Center. Our medical professionals are experienced in the detox process and manage your care every step of the way. Detox treatment takes place in a secure location on our 125-acre residential facility. Our team members monitor clients around the clock to assure they are comfortable and handling any withdrawal symptoms.
The detox process can also include a psychological evaluation if there are mental health conditions (such as depression or anxiety) co-occurring with substance use disorder. Some clients may also undergo a medication management program to help with detox if their situation calls for it.
Don’t let fear of alcohol withdrawal–diarrhea, anxiety, tremors, or any other symptoms–prevent you from getting the recovery treatment you need. Find help at Stonegate Center.