There are hundreds of alcohol rehabs across the country to help alcoholics seeking independence from the bottle. However, whether you’re admitting yourself there or intervening to get a loved one on the program, one question will come to mind: what is alcohol withdrawal like? To answer this question, read on.
Common Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
A number of symptoms appear when an alcoholic spends between six hours to a few days without a single drop of alcohol in their system. However, their severity depends on how long their sufferer has been consuming alcohol. Of the following list, an alcoholic will experience at least two symptoms.
- Anxiety – One of the main symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is anxiety. In mild cases where the drinker wasn’t heavily dependent on alcohol, anxiety can be too mild to be noticeable. However, this can grow into full-fledged panic attacks for alcoholics who had spent years drinking every day.
- Tremors – Tremors don’t necessarily need to be visible. The recovering addict can feel them in their fingertips if they haven’t been addicted for long. On the other hand, moderate to severe tremors can be noticeable in more serious cases.
- Nausea – Alcohol addicts on the mend tend to feel sick to their stomachs as their bodies demand for alcohol. The nausea may be accompanied by dry heaving and vomiting in severe cases.
- Headache – Headaches during alcohol withdrawal make the recovering drinker feel as if they have a tight band around their head. However, the severity of headaches depends on how long a person had been consuming alcohol.
- Confusion – Because alcohol withdrawal affects the psyche as well as the physique of its sufferer, they are bound to feel confused and unaware of where they are. Some can even fail to carry out simple thinking tasks like serial additions.
- Irritability – New alcoholics will feel a little fidgety while those who have been drinking for years will feel more agitated and may even pace or thrash around.
- Excessive Sweating – Heavy alcohol consumers are bound to experience heavy, drenching sweat during their recovery. On the other hand, mild to moderate cases experience moistness on palms to beading on forehead respectively.
- Insomnia – Recovering alcohol addicts are bound to suffer from insomnia because their bodies demand for alcohol all the time. On the other hand, their inability to sleep may be caused by the nightmares common to this issue.
Severe Symptoms of Alcohol Dry Out
Aside from the common symptoms, some recovering alcoholics experience more severe side effects during the drying out phase.
- Delirium Tremens – It is the most severe reaction after stopping alcohol. It can affect individuals who daily consume huge amounts of alcohol over several months and those who have an alcohol habit for more than 10 years. Its main symptoms include extreme confusion, fever, seizure, and tactile, auditory and visual hallucinations. Due to these, the recovering alcoholic’s life may be in danger, which is why medical assistance and supervision is a must.
- Black Outs – Another serious issue of alcohol withdrawal is black outs. These usually occur due to the damage alcohol inflicts on the brain. The recovering alcoholic will be put under surveillance to assess whether the brain damage is reversible or not.
- Depression – Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms have the power to bring a person’s morale down, driving them further into depression.
Aside from these, acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include those linked to the side effects of heavy drinking, such as liver failure. This is why it is highly recommended that alcohol addicts undergo a proper dry out program.
How to Deal with Alcohol Withdrawal
Dealing with alcohol withdrawal isn’t easy. The physical and mental side effects of drying out have the power to break people. This is why alcohol rehab is a must. Experienced physicians and trained nurses will provide assistance and medication to help alcoholics break their habits.
Family members should be just as involved. During this sensitive time, alcoholics’ loved ones can provide more support than any medical professional. So, if you have someone in rehab, connect with their doctors to find out what you should say or do to help your loved one recover.
There’s no doubt that alcohol withdrawal can take its toll on both the alcoholic and their loved ones, but it’s a necessary evil that can save more than one life.
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