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What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

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What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal? Why Should You Seek An Alcohol Detox? 

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, often involves physical alcohol dependence or addiction. Alcohol is known to cause a range of physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use, with symptoms starting just a few hours after the last drink and progressing in the days and weeks that follow. The timeline for detoxing from alcohol varies from person to person depending on the length of alcohol abuse and typical amounts consumed. Some individuals can detox in a couple of days while others may need weeks or months. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person with several universally experienced symptoms and several dangerous symptoms which do not happen to everyone but do occur. Alcohol withdrawal can be rather unpredictable, to ensure safety and maximize the chances of a successful recovery, it is always recommended that individuals seek a qualified alcohol detox for alcohol withdrawal. Call a caring counselor today about the benefits of alcohol detox and hear more from experienced treatment specialists about how you or a loved one could benefit from a professional detox. 

 Alcohol is one of a couple substances which medical professionals always recommend individuals seek inpatient detox for due to the unpredictable and rather dangerous withdrawal symptoms many experience. protracted withdrawal symptoms are present. 

When alcohol is withdrawn, the individual may begin to experience physical withdrawal symptoms as soon as 8 hours later. In some cases, withdrawal may begin later. The individual will then begin to experience both physical and psychological discomfort that can peak 48 to 72 hours later. During that period, the person can experience a variety of symptoms, some of which can be severe enough to endanger their health. However, some withdrawal symptoms can be experienced in as little as 8-12 hours after the last drink. Once alcohol is no longer being consumed, the body will react negatively because it is not used to functioning without alcohol.

These negative reactions are known as withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawals a person may experience from alcohol include:

  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Cold sweats

More serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Alcohol Detox Programs can Treat and Minimize Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, which can last for up to a week, include tremors, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, and, in severe cases, seizures. When seizures do occur, they tend to peak after around 24 hours into withdrawal. The early withdrawal period is followed by about 3 to 6 weeks of low mood, trouble sleeping, and feelings of anxiety.

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be difficult and even dangerous to go through on one’s own. Alcohol detoxification should be undertaken at an addiction treatment facility under the supervision of medical professionals. Sometimes, pharmaceuticals such as naltrexone and acamprosate may be given to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, thereby preventing relapse.

Benzodiazepine medications are often recommended during alcohol detox, including Valium, Serax, and Librium. Because these drugs share many similarities with alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, they are able to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and assist with the stabilization process. After an alcoholic has been through a successful detox program, they are generally guided towards psychotherapy support programs during rehab and aftercare regimes.

While pharmaceutical can be effective to diminish early cravings for alcohol, continued care in an alcohol treatment program is crucial after the initial detoxification process in order to ensure that a patient does not relapse later on.

Dangers of Detoxing at Home

Individuals who may try to detox at home may find that they cannot tolerate the intense physical and mental effects of detoxification. These patients often go back to drinking to prevent the uncomfortable symptoms. A treatment facility that provides 24-hour monitoring and medical assistance for the alcohol withdrawal process can help these patients get through this initial phase of treatment successfully. Followed by an alcohol rehab program, individuals who complete alcohol detox can then begin working on the psychological dependence they have on alcohol. 

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