Because it is so deeply ingrained within many cultures all over the planet, alcohol use disorder is often ignored and brushed aside until the individuals affected by it find themselves struggling with severe alcohol dependence.
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol addiction isn't something that affects only a minor percentage of the population.
The signs of alcoholism can go unnoticed for years, until an individual's cycle of addiction and abuse has gone far enough to have a negative impact on their professional and personal life.
This is why it is so crucial to be able to identify alcohol withdrawal symptoms and self-destructive patterns of behavior early on, as alcoholism treatment is much easier before the patient starts experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
In this article, we will go over the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, as well as how long it takes for a person to completely rid themselves of their dependence on "the bottle."
Finally, we'll delve deeper into the alcohol detox process and outline the best possible conditions for an alcoholic to undergo alcohol detoxification.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism affect each individual differently. There is a wide variety of factors at play that determine the severity of one's symptoms, as well as the effectiveness of potential treatment methods.
First of all, it depends on how long a person has been dependent on the substance.
Secondly, there is also the matter of whether or not a person has been binge drinking with longer periods in-between binges, or was known to drink heavily on a daily basis.
Finally, the rough amount of alcohol consumed per each drinking session is also an important factor.
These behavior patterns help medical professionals determine the extent of a person's condition, allowing them to determine the best alcohol addiction treatment plan for said person.
Although alcohol withdrawal syndrome doesn't have the same impact on every individual, when you choose to stop drinking completely, you need to accept the fact that you will most likely experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Below, you can find the most common symptoms affecting many of those who undergo alcoholism treatment, as well as the highly severe ones, also known as delirium tremens, which typically affect people with a long history of substance abuse.
The Most Common Symptoms
Thankfully, due to humanity's long history of alcohol consumption and its legality in most parts of the world, this particular substance has been studied extensively for centuries, which is why the following list of common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is so comprehensive.
Once you cut alcohol out of your life, you'll begin to feel less energized and motivated throughout the day. Fatigue is a common withdrawal symptom for many other drugs, as well.
Similarly to caffeine withdrawal, headaches that come as a result of quitting alcohol can be very annoying, especially if you have to continue going to work as you attempt to break free from this addiction.
Increased anxiety and stress levels are typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms. You may find yourself worrying about things you haven't thought about in years, freak out about the tiniest of details, and even experience existential anxiety with increased frequency.
Severe confusion is definitely a debilitating alcohol withdrawal symptom. It could impair your work performance, or even prevent you from being able to focus on anything at all!
Your blood pressure levels will be heightened after you quit drinking, which is why you need to pay particular attention to keeping a healthy diet and remaining as active as possible in that difficult period, to keep these levels in check.
For some alcohol-dependent people, having a couple of drinks before bed was the only way they could count on getting a good night's sleep. If you were one of those people, you'll unsurprisingly experience bouts of insomnia as you begin your journey towards sobriety.
You're also likely to undergo periods of severely heightened heart rate, which can be scary at times. However, palpitations are a completely normal part of quitting drinking. Make sure to avoid any additional stress during the withdrawal period so that you don't strain your heart any further.
Your coworkers, friends, and loved ones will become particularly annoying once you quit drinking. Their behavior won't change, but your perception of it will. As your body starts yearning for the ethanol that has been taken away from it so abruptly, every little thing the people around you do or say can make you unusually angry.
It's important to stay aware of this so that you don't damage your relationships in the process of improving your physical health.
Quitting alcohol is also associated with intense nausea. You're also likely to vomit on more than one occasion as your organs get used to the lack of alcohol. Make sure to always keep a bottle of water or electrolyte-heavy sports drink at the ready, as frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration.
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms (Delirium Tremens)
Seeing as they can lead to death in the worst-case scenarios, and serious medical complications in the best, many of them require immediate medical attention and constant monitoring.
High fevers are one of the more severe withdrawal symptoms when it comes to alcohol addiction. Make sure you're stocked up on anti-fever medication and be able to reach out to medical professionals in case your condition worsens.
We already mentioned that people who recently quit drinking tend to get more irritable, but for those with delirium tremens, this irritability combined with fatigue can lead to the development of mental disorders and even violence in some cases.
Note: If you're taking care of a person undergoing alcohol withdrawal and start noticing signs of heavy emotional distress, make sure to get them the mental health services they need immediately.
Hallucinations are one of the strangest symptoms of suddenly cutting off your alcohol intake. They are mostly auditory, but visual hallucinations have also been reported in clinical and diagnostic research on alcohol withdrawal.
Individuals with delirium tremens are prone to being hypersensitive to touch, sound, and light, which makes them particularly difficult to interact with.
Withdrawal seizures are probably the most dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptom. If the person having a seizure is unattended, there is a high risk of death on the spot. The risk of seizures is one of the main reasons why professional medical care is recommended for individuals with delirium tremens.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
The first 12 hours of withdrawals are also when insomnia and tremors kick in.
The most difficult period to endure comes around the second and third days of quitting drinking.
You'll start to feel the already-present symptoms getting more intense, topped off with heightened blood pressure and heart palpitations.
Those suffering from delirium tremens are most likely to experience withdrawal seizures around that time, as well.
Physical symptoms of withdrawal will persist for about four more days, even more in the case of delirium tremens.
All in all, the typical alcohol withdrawal period lasts about one week. Many individuals, however, experience prolonged symptoms of psychological nature, such as insomnia, irritability, or increased stress levels.
Alcohol Detox Process
Heading to a recovery center also grants you access to licensed therapists and other staff, who can hear you out and understand your condition.
Expressing your thoughts and feelings throughout the detox process helps individuals understand their own behavioral patterns, and be more watchful of developing new addictions in the future.
Break Free from Addiction with Miracles Asia
We have created a picturesque, supportive environment that combines the qualities of a five-star vacation resort with those of a top-grade addiction recovery center, where you and a limited number of other addicts can overcome your disease and never look back.
At Miracles Asia, we've also developed relationships with the best private clinics in Phuket, allowing for the clinical management of particularly difficult cases.
Our inpatient care consists of regular individual and group therapy sessions, sports and wellness activities, as well as a comprehensive, 60-day aftercare program aimed at relapse prevention.
Aside from alcohol addiction, we also treat all sorts of other ones, including gambling addiction, drug abuse, and more.
If your loved one is struggling with a self destructive habit, don't hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team for a free assessment call that can get them the help they deserve!