In the United States, there are over 14.5 million adults struggling with Alcohol Use disorder. But, unfortunately, less than 8% of the people with AUD will get help. We want to help change those stats with this simple guide!
We are going to take a look at one of the major aspects of alcohol detox, alcohol withdrawal. Understanding this key part of quitting alcohol could help make getting sober a little easier. So let’s take a look.
What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?
After regularly consuming large amounts of alcohol for an extended period of time, it can be almost impossible to stop cold turkey. When a person attempts to cut back or quit altogether, they can experience severe mental and physical problems known as alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol withdrawals are different from a hangover. People who only drink on occasion are unlikely ever to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, if a person has gone through alcohol withdrawal in the past when they have quit drinking, it is more likely that they will continue to experience withdrawal symptoms each time they detox.
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol has intense effects on the brain and the chemicals in the brain like dopamine and the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate. After a person has used alcohol for an extended period of time, the brain and body become accustomed to having alcohol, so when detox occurs, the central nervous system essentially goes into a panic state, searching for alcohol. Check out this article to learn more about detoxing.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
The symptoms of withdrawal range from mild to extreme and vary from person to person. Some common symptoms can include the following:
- Pale Skin
- Fear and Nightmares
- Sleep Disturbances
- High Blood Pressure
- Appetite Loss
- Dilated Pupils
These symptoms usually begin 6-72 hours after a person takes their last drink. These symptoms can be difficult to manage without support, so in many cases, people choose to do an inpatient detox program to help them manage their withdrawal. It is important to note that these symptoms should not be confused with a more serious condition called Delirium Tremens.
Delirium Tremens, or DTs, is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that can be fatal and requires hospitalization at a treatment center. Only around 3-5% of people experience DTs; however, they can be frightening and life-threatening, so they should not be taken lightly. Generally, a person will begin to experience relief from withdrawal around day 5, but each person will experience alcohol withdrawal differently.
Managing Alcohol Detox
Going through alcohol withdrawal alone can be a terrifying ordeal for the person in detox and their support system. Getting help from a professional treatment center is the best course of action for those going through alcohol detox because they can be safely and effectively monitored by trained professionals. So, if you or someone you know is struggling with the thought of alcohol withdrawal, keep these facts in mind.
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