Alcohol Withdrawal

Because alcohol is socially acceptable, many people forget that it is a mood-altering drug and one that can have an adverse effect on the body. Drinking at home is becoming more common these days, and alcohol can be found at most social gatherings, so it is no surprise that more and more people are becoming addicted to this chemical substance.

While most can drink in moderation without any problems, some individuals are drinking to dangerous levels, and those who binge drink regularly are putting their health at risk.

In fact, in early 2016, the UK Government recognised the dangers of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and moved to reduce the weekly guidelines for men to bring them in line with the weekly limit for women. Alcohol addiction should be made impossible or at least much difficult to achieve while following these recommendations.

How Alcohol Affects the Body

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and even a small amount has an effect on the body. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and begins to slow down the body and mind. If a person drinks more alcohol than their body is able to process, they will get drunk. The body metabolises alcohol, but how quickly this occurs will depend on a person’s size, gender, and general wellbeing.

Regular binge drinking or drinking more than the daily recommended amount will mean putting the mind and body at risk of various health issues. Unfortunately, many people just do not understand the dangers that alcohol can pose and will continue to drink despite the warnings.

The first time a person drinks alcohol, he or she may like the experience and will drink again. However, as the individual continues to drink, certain responses occur within the body. The body fights to get back to what it considers normal when the effects of the alcohol begin to wear off. This can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This is known as a hangover and may cause the individual to feel nauseous, or vomit. Many people will experience a headache due to dehydration, as alcohol is a diuretic.

Alcohol Withdrawal

However, those who have a problem with alcohol may become physically dependent on it. This means that when they stop drinking, they will experience a number of withdrawal symptoms as their body fights to return to normal. They may experience symptoms that include mood swings, shaking, sweating, hallucinations, and a rapid heart rate.

Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, especially among those who have been heavily drinking for a long time. It is never advisable for those with alcoholism to stop drinking suddenly without proper medical supervision.

What Does Alcohol Withdrawal Feel Like?

If you have an alcohol problem and want to get better, you will need to detox before you can begin a programme of rehabilitation. Withdrawal from alcohol is unpleasant, and it is important to be aware that you may feel generally unwell as the alcohol leaves your body. Nevertheless, you need to remember that the effects of withdrawal are temporary and you will feel better with time.

If you are the person with the problem, the severity of your addiction and the length of time you have been drinking will have an effect on the intensity of withdrawal from alcohol. You may be lucky and only experience one or two symptoms. Nonetheless, you may experience some of the less common symptoms. Nobody can predict what type of symptoms a person will experience, which is why staff here at Addiction Helper will always advise clients to ensure they detox under supervision.

Typical Withdrawal Symptoms

There are many symptoms experienced by those withdrawing from alcohol; these can range from mild to severe. Below are a few examples:

Mild Symptoms

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache

The above symptoms tend to appear six to twelve hours after a person stops drinking, and can occur even when the individual still has alcohol in his/her system.

Severe Symptoms

  • Hallucinations
  • Intense sweating
  • Severe anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Severe dehydration
  • Low-grade fever
  • Racing heart
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

The above symptoms are known as the DTs (delirium tremens) and are considered to be a medical emergency. These typically occur between twenty-four and forty-eight hours after the last drink and tend to peak at five days.

Withdrawing in a Supervised Facility

While it is certainly possible to detox at home, we would urge you to consider a detox in a medically-supervised facility. Alcohol withdrawal can be complicated and dangerous, so having access to immediate medical care is a safer way to detox.

In a medically-supervised facility, the worst symptoms can usually be prevented, meaning you will be safer and more comfortable. Unless you are also suffering from a drug addiction, you will probably be given a sedative to ease the symptoms. Medical professionals will ensure you are given medication such as multivitamins and painkillers to make the detox much more comfortable and to relieve any symptoms you may experience.

After Detox

In the early days of recovery, after the alcohol has been eliminated from your body, it will continue to work hard to heal itself. As the body begins repairing any damage that has been caused, you may feel some aches and pains.

Symptoms such as mood swings and depression can be prolonged, with some people suffering for weeks and even months. Some also continue to have trouble sleeping. However, as recovery continues and the body begins to get back to normal, these symptoms should subside and, eventually, disappear.

Accessing Help

Withdrawal from alcohol addiction is tough, but it does not have to be a harrowing experience. We understand how frightening it can seem, especially if you have seen exaggerated scenes of people drying out on TV or in the movies.

Let us reassure you that the clinics we work with offer safe and comfortable detox programmes for alcohol withdrawal. Call Addiction Helper today and we can help you access a fully accredited clinic providing a high level of care when it comes to alcohol withdrawal.

helloAlcohol Withdrawal