Despite the societal and ceremonial value placed on alcohol, it is dangerous to human health if consumed in large quantities. Alcohol addiction is one of the world’s leading health issues that has taken people’s lives and happiness. The National Institutes of Health states that more than 1.5 million Americans are treated for alcohol addiction. And alcoholics who stop drinking without seeking medical help experience withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms (AWS) vary in severity according to the individual. It is essential to seek medical help when you start experiencing these symptoms. This post discusses symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and how to manage them.
What is Alcohol Withdrawal Symptom?
Alcohol withdrawal is a chronic condition that affects people who suddenly stop or decreases alcohol consumption after years of prolonged or regular use. Patients experience these alcohol withdrawal symptoms because the body can’t adjust to the absence or decreased alcohol intake.
In patients with AWS, the central nervous system has become used to the alcohol in the system. It compensates for the depressive effects on brain functions and nerve cell communication. When the alcohol level is decreased, the brain remains hyperactive and demands more alcohol content. It leads to withdrawal syndrome.
Alcohol withdrawal is a potentially serious condition that could become life-threatening. It may develop after a few hours of stopping or last use to a few days. The seriousness and duration of AWS can vary widely according to the person’s age and years of use. Other include; gender, weight, and existing health problems.
Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are caused by an alteration in the normal brain and body functioning when a person ceases to stop drinking. The person who was once dependent on alcohol dependence suddenly stops. Because the brain has adapted to alcohol in the body, the individual becomes active when it is no longer present. They begin to develop a series of physical and emotional symptoms afterward. As mentioned, the severity of these symptoms varies.
Some common causes of alcohol withdrawal symptoms are:
- Sudden cessation of drinking: Ceasing or significantly reducing alcohol intake can cause withdrawal.
- Prolonged alcohol intake: The longer a person drinks, the more likely they have AWS. Also, frequent intake can increase the risk of having these symptoms.
- Physical dependence: Binge drinking can cause physical dependence. It means the body has become used to the presence of alcohol and needs it to perform normally. In the absence of alcohol, the person develops withdrawal.
- Changes in brain chemistry: Alcohol disrupts the brain’s chemicals responsible for bodily functions. Alcohol compensates for these neurotransmitters, so when it is removed, the brain’s chemistry alters, resulting in withdrawal.
- Genetic factors: Alcoholism runs in some families, although this hasn’t been scientifically proven. Some people may be more susceptible to developing alcohol use disorder and eventually symptoms because of genetic factors.
- Co-occurring mental health issues: People with co-occurring mental conditions, such as depression, are at risk of developing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary according to the severity of the person’s addiction and the duration of consumption. Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include;
- Sweating and clammy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
If you or someone you know is having alcohol withdrawal symptoms, seeking medical help is the next step to take. A medical professional can provide support and treatment to manage symptoms and prevent complications.
Side Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal
The withdrawal effects of alcohol can be mild or severe. Mild cases include; headache, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can cause delirium tremens, a condition typified by confusion, fever, and seizures.
The seriousness of these side effects varies depending on the amount of alcohol abuse, the duration of alcohol misuse, and the individual’s health. If you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.
Treatment and Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The good news for individuals with alcohol withdrawal symptoms is that you can treat them. AWS can be severe, but you can manage them effectively with outpatient or inpatient treatment.
Treatment and management methods include;
- Medications: Medications, such as diazepam and lorazepam, can ease symptoms of depression, irritability, agitation, and insomnia, which are symptoms of AWS.
- Hydration: Taking plenty of fluids, especially water, and maintaining the right balance of electrolytes in the body can help manage AWS.
- Nutritional support: Eating a balanced diet that contains lots of fruits and vegetables can help with alcohol withdrawal. Eating supplements like B vitamins, thiamine, and magnesium is recommended to reduce symptoms.
- Counseling: Counseling can address the psychological part of alcohol withdrawal to aid recovery.
- Rest: Allowing your body to rest will help it recover.
Inpatient treatment may be appropriate for severe symptoms. It includes medically-assisted detoxification and intensive treatment to manage the symptoms.
Cedar Oaks Wellness Center Treats Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Managing withdrawal symptoms without professional help can worsen your condition and increase the risk of relapse. With Cedar Oaks Wellness Center, you can manage withdrawal symptoms through our detox programs and support. Contact our Cincinnati addiction treatment center today to learn more.