older man exhausted from drinking whiskey to prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Heavy drinking takes its toll on the body. Those who drink too much even once, let alone over the course of a multi-year struggle with alcohol addiction, often suffer major health defects. The effects of alcohol on the body can lead to long-term deterioration of the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and general immune system. In the short-term, those who drink in addiction before stopping abruptly may suffer alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Due to the inherent dangers presented by certain symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such individuals may need to enter medical detox to receive alcohol withdrawal treatment. If you or someone you care about has made the choice to stop drinking, watch closely for the following symptoms. They may indicate an urgent need to seek alcohol detox immediately.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Both physical and mental symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can prove severe, depending on the sufferer’s habits. Naturally, it is the physical symptoms that often prove most dangerous. Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  •       Headache
  •       Fatigue
  •       Nausea/vomiting
  •       Tremors/shakiness
  •       Seizures
  •       Heart problems
  •       Fever

These symptoms can become dangerous when left untreated. Mental alcohol withdrawal symptoms may also put sufferers in danger as they may lead to a relapse if the patient decides they would rather drink than wait for natural relief to occur. The mental symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  •       Anxiety
  •       Depression
  •       Irritability
  •       Nightmares
  •       Confusion
  •       Hallucinations

Note that the most severe symptoms do not typically affect everyone who suffers from alcohol withdrawal. For instance, alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, seizures and hallucinations are most commonly associated with a condition known as delirium tremens. This is the most dangerous of all alcohol withdrawal symptoms, affecting only the heaviest drinkers. Only about 5% of patients requiring alcohol withdrawal detox will suffer this life-threatening condition.

Alcohol Withdrawal Duration

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will not take long to begin once the alcoholic begins abstaining. Between five and ten hours after the last drink, the alcohol will start to leave their system. At this point, shakiness may begin. Those who suffer from delirium tremens will suffer hallucinations or seizures at around the same time, or not long after.

Within one or two days, alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin hitting their peak. Over the course of the next week, these symptoms will taper off gradually. Mental and emotional alcohol withdrawal symptoms will last slightly longer than physical symptoms. Until they pass, however, those suffering severe physical symptoms will require medical supervision to ensure their safety.

In fact, those who suffer from post-acute withdrawal may experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety and irritability for months. Even years after entering recovery, some alcoholics continue to suffer depression and sleep disturbances. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms have generally passed at this point, but the long-term effects of severe alcohol use disorder take time to overcome. Therapeutic interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy will greatly assist in this process.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

Those who suffer from alcohol addiction should not attempt to overcome alcohol withdrawal symptoms alone, especially if their drinking was severe enough to put them at risk of delirium tremens. Alcohol detox and withdrawal treatment at a facility such as First Choice Detox can provide the care you need. Not only will you receive medical supervision by a team with more than twenty years of field experience, you will also be able to seek a full continuum of care once you complete your initial alcohol detox period.

If you have questions about alcohol detox, alcohol withdrawal symptoms or continuing care after detoxification, contact Aspire Health Network today for more information.