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What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

What is alcohol withdrawal, what are the symptoms, and how can it be treated? Alcohol withdrawal syndrome refers to the symptoms that may occur when someone drinking on a regular basis suddenly stops drinking. If you need alcohol for your body to feel normal, then you likely need help to stop.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

Alcohol has a depressive effect on your system. Over time, the nervous system and the brain adjust to these depressing effects and compensate by releasing more stimulating chemicals than it does when you are not drinking.

When alcohol consumption is stopped or significantly reduced, the brain continues producing these extra chemicals, potentially causing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that are associated with overstimulation. Eventually, the brain readjusts after a few days, but in the meantime, withdrawal symptoms may appear.

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Your body begins to detoxify or cleanse itself, of the alcohol within hours of your last drink. The process of detoxification is different for everyone, but there are some common symptoms that most people experience.

Your body is working hard to rid itself of the alcohol, and this can lead to a number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and mental, and they can range from mild to severe. The severity of your symptoms will depend on a number of factors, including how much and how often you drank before quitting, your age, your overall health, and whether you have any underlying medical conditions.

How quickly do symptoms start?

Short-acting opioid withdrawals are usually initiated within eight to 24 hours of the last usage and last a maximum of four to 10 days.

Stages of withdrawal

There are three primary stages of alcohol withdrawal syndrome: the first few hours after your last drink, when symptoms are mild; the period 12 to 48 hours after your last drink, when symptoms peak; and the period 48 hours or more after your last drink, when symptoms begin to subside.

First State

The first stage of withdrawal also called the “prodromal” or “obsessive-compulsive” stage, usually lasts for eight to 12 hours. During this time, you may experience mild symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, irritability, fatigue, sweating, and nausea.

Second stage

The second stage of withdrawal is when symptoms peak. This typically occurs 24 to 48 hours after your last drink and can include more severe symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and fever.

Third Stage

The third stage of withdrawal is the “resolution” stage, which begins 48 hours or more after your last drink. During this time, your symptoms will begin to subside, and you may start to feel better. However, some people may experience lingering symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, for weeks or even months after they stop drinking.

What Are the Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may vary from person to person. Some people experience acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms, others may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be life-threatening, so before you stop drinking, find professional support and look for a luxury rehab centre that’s adequate for your needs.

The symptoms are influenced by different factors including the drinking frequency, the amount consumed, length of time drinking, the consumption of other substances or drugs, physical condition, and mental health.

Symptoms can begin within a few hours to a day or two after your last drink. Alcohol-related physical complications related to the body and the central nervous system may occur in those who drink heavily.

Common symptoms you may experience when quitting drinking may include:

  • Tremor
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Increased heart rate

What Is Delirium Tremens?

Delirium tremens is the most severe withdrawal, it happens rarely (between 3 to 5% of patients hospitalized for alcohol withdrawal syndrome). It usually begins about 3 days after the appearance of symptoms and lasts usually 2 or 3 days.

Delirium tremens symptoms:

  • extreme confusion
  • extreme agitation
  • fever
  • seizures
  • hallucinations (auditory, visual or tactile)

Treating Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal for long-time or heavy drinkers should be closely supervised by a medical professional to ensure the individual’s safety during detox. Stop drinking suddenly is NOT recommended without medical supervision. If you go into delirium tremens without supervision, it could prove fatal.

In some cases, alcohol withdrawal requires medical treatment. With the proper medications, most symptoms can be greatly reduced or even eliminated.

Can alcohol withdrawal be done at home?

If symptoms are mild to moderate, the withdrawal can be done at home, but it is important to have a relative or friend stay over to make sure things don’t get worse. Medical advice is essential until the person is stabilized completely.

Those who have a history of alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, experience prolonged symptoms, or have severe alcohol dependence should consider addiction treatment and clinical management.

In cases of excessive alcohol intake where a medical emergency has occurred patients should seek immediate medical care and then addiction treatment, possibly including inpatient care and alcohol detox.

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Take?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours to a day or two after your last drink, they generally worsen over two to three days and all symptoms tend to decrease within 5 – 7 days.

Some milder symptoms like anxiety, trouble sleeping, or memory problems may persist for weeks in some people.

Detox alone is not treatment, but it is the first step in recovering from a substance abuse disorder. Once the physical symptoms are over it is time to care for your medical and mental condition. Our services include medical care from the first symptoms of withdrawal and a complete therapeutic approach to help you through the whole process of recovery treatment.

Let Us Help You

Our multidisciplinary team can offer you a safe start to a life free of alcohol. Let us take care of you and guide you through recovery in a luxurious and peaceful place. We will be happy to provide more information if you have any questions. Contact us for more information.

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