After abusing alcohol for a period of months or years, your body becomes dependent on it.
To take alcohol away abruptly will cause withdrawal symptoms. Quitting cold turkey isn’t necessarily the best way to give up alcohol. Some people choose to lower their intake gradually.
But, if you feel that the best way for you to begin healing your addiction is to stop drinking immediately, you should know what to expect.
Going through withdrawal is an uncomfortable process. Though withdrawal can be painful, freeing yourself from alcohol addiction is necessary. Alcohol is the third leading cause of lifestyle-related death in America
If you or a family member are going through withdrawal from alcohol, it can be a difficult journey. Knowing what to expect can help. Find more info below.
The Timeline of Withdrawal from Alcohol
Alcohol withdrawal affects a person in stages of severity. Each stage becomes progressively worse, until the body detoxes.
Each person can experience these stages in different degrees.
The way you are affected depends on a few factors. Generally, the more you drink, the more severe your symptoms will be felt. Elderly people can experience more acute symptoms, as well.
The first stage of the withdrawal process begins about 6-8 hours after consuming the last drink. During this time, you can expect to experience some or all of these symptoms: anxiety, nausea, shaky hands, and headaches.
After about 12-24 hours, symptoms will progress. These can include sweating, high blood pressure, elevated body temperature, and vomiting. In more severe cases, seizures can occur.
After 72 hours, some people can experience something called delirium tremens or DT.
Research shows that approximately 5% of Americans withdrawing from alcohol experience DT. Though it’s a rare condition, for those who do experience DT, it’s very serious.
DT can result in vivid hallucinations, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Sometimes, DT can be fatal.
Treatment for Withdrawal
As a person withdraws from alcohol, they go through a detox process. During this time, the body tries to rid itself of toxins. It does this through vomiting and sweating.
As the body loses all these fluids, it’s important to keep hydrated. That’s why it can be safer to withdraw in a controlled, monitored setting. That’s especially true if the person is vomiting so much they can’t hold down fluids.
Other than that, there’s not much to be done but wait it out. It’s helpful to be in a quiet environment with someone supportive who can be a source of comfort.
Alcohol Withdrawl is a Difficult Process
The withdrawal from alcohol is only the first step in treating the addiction. After that, it’s time to focus on the emotional and psychological causes.
Do you feel like it’s time to get control of your drinking? You don’t have to quit cold turkey and go through this detox process alone.
Being able to reach out and ask for help takes courage. If you’re ready to begin your journey towards a healthier life, contact us.