Alcohol Withdrawal: Symptoms, Treatment, Detox & More

Going through medical detox is the vital first step in recovering from alcohol use disorder. While the journey includes many other steps, they can’t be completed until this first one is completed. The recovery can’t move forward until a person has reduced their physical dependence and overcome the alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Many people alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms are surprised to learn that binge drinkers can experience withdrawal symptoms. Regardless of the frequency of alcohol intake, if an individual is experiencing some or most of these alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they may have alcohol dependence. If this is the case, entering a detox and recovery program would be in their best interest.

Depending on how long you have used alcohol and how much you typically drink, the severity of these symptoms can range from mild to severe. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can start two hours after a person has his/her last drink, and can continue for weeks. Symptoms can range from mild (i.e. shaky hands and sweating) to severe (i.e. seizures and delirium). To better understand the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, we will look at them as they occur in a timeline. To avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including severe complications like delirium tremens, it is safest to detox while under medical supervision. Undergoing detox at home or suddenly quitting heavy drinking cold-turkey are not recommended because of the dangers some alcohol withdrawal symptoms pose when you are not in a medical setting.

Questions About Addiction or Mental Health?

Too much alcohol can irritate the stomach lining, cause dehydration, and lead to an inflammatory response in the body. As the alcohol wears off, these effects lead to common hangover symptoms, such as headache, nausea, and fatigue. Chronic alcohol use can cause complex changes in their brain, including to the neurotransmitters dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which affect excitement and a person’s sense of reward.

Treatment of withdrawal alone does not address the underlying disease of addiction and therefore offers little hope for long-term abstinence. Several medications may be helpful adjuncts to benzodiazepines in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. If you already have alcohol use disorder, it’s important to seek counseling and medical care as soon as possible. The goal is to safely and gradually decrease your dependence on alcohol so that you can resume your daily life. AWS is more common in adults, but children and teenagers who drink excessively may also experience the symptoms. You’re also at risk for AWS if you’ve previously had withdrawal symptoms or needed medical detox for a drinking problem.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect

When conducted under the supervision of medical professionals, alcohol withdrawal is a much safer and easier process. Contact a treatment provider today to find out what options are available to you. Alcohol rehab counselors provide support during the highs and lows of alcohol withdrawal.

alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms

Drinking more than three drinks in a single sitting will temporarily cause your blood pressure to rise, but extended binge drinking or regular alcohol consumption can cause a permanent increase in blood pressure. Alcohol rehab is recommended after detox is complete to continue recovery. In rehab, you learn to explore why you began to use alcohol in the first place and learn coping strategies for living an alcohol-free life.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More

You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to choose to detox. Ultimately, if you find alcohol is interfering with your health or your personal, financial, or professional life, then it’s time to consider quitting. Remember you are facing a difficult challenge during alcohol withdrawal, but you are not alone. There are many resources available to help, including peer support groups, counseling, therapy, and inpatient rehabilitation. For people who experience hallucinations as part of alcohol withdrawal, these may begin in the 12- to 24-hour time frame. There is no exact timeline for alcohol withdrawal, and individual factors, such as previous level of dependence on alcohol, will influence it.

We evaluate each patient and determine a customized treatment that is best suited to their personal needs. We offer assisted detoxification and follow up with a dual diagnosis process that treats the problem at its root. We provide outpatient and inpatient services ensuring everyone we treat gets the comprehensive care they need to overcome sobriety. Alcohol addiction withdrawal symptoms occur as the body tries to get used to functioning without alcohol.

Alcohol Withdrawal & Detox

Don’t let the fear of possible withdrawal symptoms prevent you from getting the help you deserve. Learn more about treating alcoholism and support options by reaching out to a treatment provider. Alcohol affects multiple bodily functions that results in alcohol withdrawal when attempting to stop. First and foremost, excessive drinking excites and irritates the central nervous system. Alcohol has a sedative effect on the brain in which it suppresses certain neurotransmitters, causing people to feel at ease after drinking.

The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are inevitable but can be managed if the person is under around-the-clock medical care while experiencing withdrawal. Using the CIWA symptom tracker for alcohol withdrawal, doctors and nurses can closely monitor a person.


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