How Bad is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Kicking the habit of alcohol abuse is a tremendous effort by addicted individuals, their family members, and friends. Alcohol is often used as “self-medication” by addicts for use in avoiding mental and emotional trauma. The impairment caused by getting drunk often lifts inhibitions and while it doesn’t remove emotional trauma, it is used to stop alcoholics from having to feel their natural emotional reactions to common and unfortunate circumstances of life.

The more alcoholics drink to lighten their problems, the more their body becomes dependant on it. The physical changes consistent alcoholic intake induces can be life-threatening when a heavy and consistent drinker stops cold turkey. If you are attempting to quit bad alcohol behaviors or are trying to help a friend or family member to get help, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure a safe and healthy transition to a sober lifestyle.

Recognizing and Handling Symptoms

While the severity of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawals depends on dietary habits and the amount of alcohol consumed on a daily basis, even the mildest of symptoms can be a massive hurdle for those undergoing rehabilitation.

Due to alcohols nature as a depressant, it inhibits the functionality of neurotransmitters responsible for relaxation and excitability. The longer the substance is abused, the more your body relies on it and adjusts accordingly. The body excites its’ production of these neurotransmitters to make up for their limited effect caused by alcohol. When alcohol is taken away from the equation, the neurotransmitters are still operating in over drive and take time to even out to healthy levels.

Whether you are looking to quit drinking or you are helping a friend to, you will need to be able to recognize the symptoms of withdrawal so they can be handled properly.

Mild symptoms include:

  • Shaking
  • Mild Sweating
  • Mild Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability

Self-treatment of these symptoms is possible but difficult. To get passed these, you should take some extra steps of preparation:

Let your family and friends know that you are quitting alcohol. This is good way to muster a support chain and gain help in the form of wellness checks.

Get rid of all the alcohol in the immediate area and keep your drinking friends at bay. Limited access to alcohol helps promote the avoidance of a relapse during recovery. It may seem like simple math but it is all too common for alocholics to pick up more liquor or get some from a friend. Removing as much access as possible will help keep the process on track.

Stock up on electrolyte heavy drinks and water. Withdrawal causes the body to sweat and induces vomiting and nausea. This can lead to quick dehydration and add an extra level of discomfort. Sports drinks and water offer a healthy replacement for alcohol and help your body to overcome withdrawal adversities.

Find ways to keep the mind occupied. Cravings are real and hard to ignore, especially if it’s all you can think about. This is a good time to pick up entertainment and hobbies. Focusing on a task or story can help to keep you from giving attention to the alcoholic urges. It has been useful in the past for those experiencing withdrawal to learn breathing and meditation techniques.

While these techniques can help with the lighter symptoms that occur during withdrawals, heavier drinkers that have begun rehabilitation may see much more concerning symptoms after three to five days. Severe symptoms arising is not a task that can be handled without professional medical assistance. If any of these symptoms manifest, it’s time to call a doctor.

Severe symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Altered Consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens

How Long Does It Last?

The whole process of alcohol rehabilitation occurs in three identifiable stages over a course of a week and in more severe cases can last for multiple weeks. Heavy alcoholics and people who have failed to rehabilitate their alcohol abuse in the past are at risk of severe reactions to the removal of alcohol from their daily habits and may experience a prolonged period of recovery that requires medical observation.

If you are ready to get started or to help someone else begin their path to recovery, do not wait. Everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy fulfilling life. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. We can help, call now 833-497-3812.