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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms & Countermeasures

Alcohol is the #1 addictive drug in the world that can cause very complicated symptoms during withdrawal process

First and foremost, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be very distressing depending on how much alcohol one consumes on a daily basis.

When you have finally decided to quit drinking alcohol there are quite a few things that you need to take into consideration. While physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may last up to a week, psychological symptoms may last for many weeks if not taken care of by professionals.

How Much Alcohol Can Cause a Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be caused by an excessive alcohol consumption during an extended period of time. It is also worth of noting that intensity of symptoms can vary depending of number of factors like gender, duration of substance abuse, amount and intense is alcohol consumption.

Women are more vulnerable to alcohol withdrawal, if an average weight woman that consumed 6 drinks a day for 1 month can cause a minor withdrawal, consuming 15 drinks a day can cause a major withdrawal.

Men have higher tolerance towards alcohol withdrawal effects. An average male can expect minor withdrawal if had 8 drinks a month and a major withdrawal if had more than 18 drinks a day.

For both genders major alcohol withdrawal may result in a lethal outcome if not taken care by professionals. Even under care of professionals chances of lethal outcome are reduced but not eliminated completely.

Why Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Occur?

As someone drinks, levels of dopamine are elevated in the brain, resulting in a flood of pleasant feelings. Alcohol can elevate mood, increase self-confidence, and lower inhibitions. As alcohol leaves the bloodstream, these feelings and dopamine dissipate causing a variety of symptoms and side effects some of which can lead to a lethal outcome if not treated professionally.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms – Stage 1

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal on the first stage start after 7 to 8 hours since last drink and include but not limited to shakes throughout the body, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, mood swings, depression, stomach pains & vomiting.

After 12 to 24 hours of withdrawal process alcoholic hallucinosis takes place. Hallucinations mostly occur with long term chronic alcoholics, during most of the instances hallucinations are visual but can also be tactile and auditory. After 24 to 48 hours hallucinations end, and second stage of withdrawal starts.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms – Stage 2

Symptoms of the second stage of alcohol withdrawal are of greater severity and cause great discomfort. During the end of this stage symptoms peak and can cause lethal instances if not managed by professionals. Symptoms include: increase in blood pressure and body temperature, increased sweating and mood disturbances. During the end of stage 2 and beginning of stage 3 Delirium Tremens may appear and may cause lethal outcome.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms – Stage 3

Last and most severe withdrawal stage that last on average 6 days. During this stage 30% of people experience hallucinations, cardiac arrest and Delirium Tremens (DT)

Delirium Tremens – DTs is a form of mental or nervous system changes that occurs when a person stops drinking alcohol after drinking heavily.

Delirium Tremens symptoms include:

  • Continuous Nightmares
  • Major Confusion and Disturbance
  • Disorientation
  • Visual and/or auditory hallucinations
  • Tactile hallucinations
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Heavy sweating
  • Other signs of autonomic hyperactivity

DTs most often occurs in individuals who drank excessively for more than 10 years and stopped suddenly. DTs symptoms often manifest within 48 to 96 hours after the last drink, but they can occur up to seven to 10 days after the last drink, in some cases. Some people can experience DTs for 24 hours while other may experience them for up to 5 days, depending on the amount of time one has been consuming alcohol.

According to The New England Journal of Medicine even if DTs are managed by healthcare professionals they can result in up to 15% of mortality, although this rate can be greatly reduced if appropriate diagnosis is assigned on time.

After First Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Have Passed

After an average 7-day period of withdrawal physical symptoms tend to decline in intensity although psychological symptoms can last weeks without required treatment.

As you now may understand symptoms during withdrawal from alcohol may cause a lot of discomfort and complications as well as lethal instances.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres offers an intensive residential addiction treatment programming for alcohol addiction as well as for concurrent mental health disorders, medical detox and addiction intervention. Contact us with confidence. The primary goal of our admissions advisors is to provide all the information needed to make the best decision possible in treating you or a loved ones addiction problem.