Alcohol withdrawal is a very serious condition that ranges from mild to life-threatening, depending on the severity of an individual’s addiction. Below is more information about this type of withdrawal and what it’s like to experience it.
Jump to a Section...
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?
Withdrawal occurs when people who drink heavily suddenly stop. After the body adjusts to heavy alcohol use, stopping causes it go into shock, triggering withdrawal symptoms.
Drinking heavily for long periods of time disrupts the neurotransmitters in the brain. These transmitters are responsible for sending chemical messages throughout the body. To counter this disruption, certain areas of the brain start working at higher levels.
Once people stop drinking, it takes a while for the transmitters to return to normal function. As a result, the brain goes into hyper-excitability because of the chemical imbalance. This condition plays a huge role in the withdrawal symptoms that come with attempting to beat alcoholism.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary greatly. The withdrawal symptoms that people experience depend on how much they drink and when they started drinking. Some common symptoms include depression, mood swings and irritability. These symptoms usually manifest within 72 hours of their last drink.
In some cases, however, withdrawal symptoms are much more severe. These high-risk symptoms can endanger people’s lives. Some examples of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms include:
Another issue associated with alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens, which is a state of confusion. This condition usually starts two or three days into withdrawal. Delirium tremens may last between two to three days depending on the person.
While only a small percentage of individuals detoxing from alcohol experience delirium tremens, they should seek expert help immediately. Seizures and irregular heartbeat often accompany this condition, which can cause it to be deadly. Close medical supervision during this time is the best course of action.
Treatment for Withdrawal From Alcohol
Treatment for alcohol withdrawal typically starts with detox. During this time, medical professionals watch over patients and make them as comfortable as possible. The goal is to limit complications. Once individuals complete detox, they need to check into a rehab center.
At a rehab center, patients take part in intensive outpatient or inpatient programs. The one that’s right for each person depends on his or her condition and situation. Both of these programs typically include intensive therapy and prevention counseling.
Being comfortable around alcohol is another part of treatment. It’s unrealistic to think that everyone in a room will stop drinking when a recovering alcoholic walks in. To function in society, patients have to learn to be around individuals who drink without letting it bother them. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary.
However, rehab also teaches patients how to avoid tempting situations. While they may encounter other individuals drinking at restaurants, they can avoid most temptations. For example, hanging out at bars isn’t the best choice for recovering alcoholics.
Learn to Fight Your Addiction at 1st Step Behavioral Health
At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we know how hard alcohol withdrawal can be for recovering alcoholics. That’s why we take a proven approach to help you fight your substance abuse disorder. Our goal is to help you cope with and understand your dependence on alcohol. To do this, we get to the root cause and figure out your triggers.
We offer a comprehensive list of programs that can help you on your road to recovery. Some of the services that we offer include:
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Inpatient treatment
- Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
- Partial hospitalization program
- Family therapy
Don’t let another moment of your life slip away while struggling with addiction. Take control of your life with the help of 1st Step Behavioral Health. Contact us today at (855) 425-4846 for more information.