How to Deal with Alcohol Withdrawal

Getting rid of your alcohol addiction can be far more difficult than you think, especially once the withdrawal symptoms start appearing. For heavy alcohol drinkers, withdrawal symptoms appear when they avoid alcohol completely. These symptoms can occur after a few hours or some days, depending on your alcohol addiction level. For some people, these symptoms are limited and controllable while for others, they can prove to be fatal.

Therefore, withdrawal symptoms should be taken seriously when you decide to give up alcohol completely. Your decision, though made with the best intentions, can actually do you more harm than good if you don’t prepare yourself for these symptoms and do not take necessary measures to handle alcohol withdrawal in proper way. Since alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be critical, you should always consult a doctor first to know how you should proceed with giving up alcohol and handling withdrawal without causing serious damage to your health and wellbeing. This becomes even more important for those who are suffering from other health problems like cardiovascular conditions or diabetes.

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms fall under two categories: minor and major. The categories depend on the extent to which these symptoms impact the individuals. Minor withdrawal symptoms usually appear when regular alcoholics go without drinking for six to twelve hours even if they still have alcohol in their blood in an ample amount. The minor withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Lack of sleep or insomnia

For the first day or two, withdrawal symptoms may also include mild hallucinations but they should stop after 48 hours maximum for them to be considered as mild withdrawal symptoms. If the hallucinations persist, the individual may suffer from far more critical and dangerous major withdrawal symptoms. Patients who have a medical history of multiple detoxification processes or cardiovascular conditions are at a high risk of experiencing seizures, strokes and heart attack a few hours after they give up alcohol.

Another extremely serious withdrawal symptom is Delirium Tremens (DTs) which could also prove to be fatal. This condition occurs in serious alcoholics after two or more days of going without alcohol. The symptoms of this condition includes real-like delusions and hallucinations that the person can’t separate from reality, irregularly fast heartbeat, extreme sweating, tremors in the body, constant fever, severe anxiety and high blood pressure.

How to Handle These Symptoms?

For patients experiencing mild symptoms, outpatient detoxification treatment can suffice, especially if they have a strong and supportive social network to help them stay on track. However, in case they are pregnant or have some kind of medical history, they should also consider inpatient treatment for safety and support. For those who suffer major withdrawals symptoms, it is extremely crucial to go for inpatient treatment so that they can get the right care and prescription drugs to keep them out of danger.

Despite everything, the will of the person suffering from this agony is the only thing that can actually help them fight these symptoms. Getting treatment for withdrawal doesn’t mean that the person has given up the addiction completely. They still need to go through further addiction treatment programs. To keep up your will about giving up alcohol, you can always write a letter explaining why you wanted to quit your addiction and place it in your house in a place where it is visible. You need to remember that after the withdrawal process is over, you will end up with something good.

You should always have someone to keep you company and monitor you when you are giving up alcohol. When you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, they can keep a check on you to see if it is critical or not, and ensure that you don’t give in to temptations. If you don’t have a support network, it is best for you to consider a rehab instead of relying on yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that you can’t do it without proper medication no matter how strong-willed you are. The bodies of alcoholics are chemically attuned to alcohol and giving it up all of a sudden will definitely harm you. Proper medication is required to keep your body functions in order while you adapt to the change.

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