Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

woman talking to counselor about alcohol withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is one of the hardest detox experiences a person can endure.  Depending on the severity of the alcoholism, the withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.

Most people have heard someone swear they will never drink again.  Usually, this proclamation is the result of a horrible hangover the person is suffering through at the moment.  In some cases, if the hangover is powerful enough and the person is only a social drinker, they are able to quit drinking completely.  Others will moderate their drinking just barely enough to avoid a hangover.  But, what about those who want to quit after spending years and years consuming large amounts of alcohol?

Recognizing the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

After consuming alcohol on a regular basis for a prolonged time, the body has developed a tolerance and dependency on the substance.  Tolerance relates to the brain’s acceptance of the substance and it begins to expect and need more.  Dependence refers to the dramatic withdrawal symptoms that appear if the substance is withheld.

Depending on how long and how much alcohol is consumed, the withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe.  For example, an alcoholic can suffer some or all of the following when alcohol is withheld:

  • Within 6 to 12 hours:
    • shaking
    • nausea, vomiting
    • headache
    • sweating
    • anxiety
    • insomnia
  • Between 12 and 24 hours:
    • auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations
  • Between 24 to 48 hours:
    • seizures (mostly occurring in someone after several detoxifications)
  • Between 48 and 72 hours:
    • DTs (hallucinations, high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, seizures)

Of course, these symptoms vary in intensity and duration depending on the person’s physical and mental health.  For instance, someone with a physical illness such as heart disease or cancer will require special monitoring to ensure a safe withdrawal.  Likewise, a person with emotional problems such as depression will require additional treatment during withdrawal.

Why You Should Not Attempt Withdrawal Alone

One of the main benefits of professional detox and rehab is the 24/7 monitoring.  This monitoring is crucial to ensuring the safety of a recovering alcoholic during detox.  However, if you attempt to detox alone at home, you may not have the support structure you need.  As a result, relapse is to be expected.

Not only are you at increased risk of relapsing during at-home detox, you are at risk of having severe withdrawal symptoms with no medical assistance nearby.  In essence, it’s like playing Russian roulette when you attempt self-detox.  Ultimately, your best option for safe, effective detox is to enter a professional treatment program.

What to Expect in a Professional Detox and Rehab

As mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of professional detox and rehab is the round-the-clock monitoring.  However, other benefits can include some or all of the following:

  • comfortable, secure environment
  • nutritious meals
  • compassionate staff and specialists
  • access to counselors as needed
  • relaxation techniques such as massage, sauna, acupuncture, meditation
  • interaction with other recovering addicts for added support
  • escape from daily stress
  • an opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby

Additionally, many facilities offer a flexible program that can be adapted to each patient’s individual needs.  It is important to note that each facility adheres to a different set of philosophies.  Although the programs may differ in many respects, the same basic principles are present.  All in all, professional treatment seeks to heal the whole person, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Whether you prefer traditional, faith-based, holistic, or 12-step treatment, there is a program suited for your specific situation.  If you would like more information regarding the different types of alcohol withdrawal programs, call our toll-free number today.  This phone call could be the beginning of an alcohol-free life.

 

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