Anyone who has struggled with the idea of giving up alcohol, often says they struggled due to fear. What most people fear is not knowing what their alcohol withdrawal experience will be like. The truth is, each person going through alcohol withdrawal has a unique experience. It depends on how long they drank, how much they drank, and several other factors. Those who drank for a long time or drank a lot of alcohol regularly seem to have the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can sometimes include hallucinations.
Let us start by making sure that you know that alcohol withdrawal is something you do not want to go through alone. Ideally, everyone who gives up drinking alcohol after even a slight addiction should do so under medical supervision. Typically, the hallucinations that some people experience are part of the reason why this is so necessary.
Not everyone will go through hallucinations after stopping alcohol. However, the ones that had the greatest exposure to alcohol often go through more severe withdrawals than those who did not drink as much. In most cases, the hallucinations that come from alcohol withdrawals are similar to DTs, or delirium tremens. This is when the body struggles in the earliest stages of stopping drinking so much to correct itself from the negative effects of alcohol that it experiences hallucinations. While DTs typically don’t show up for a few days, alcohol-induced hallucinations typically begin in under 24 hours from the last drink and subside in most people prior to when DTs would even be an option. Each person goes through different types, with only a small percentage of people experiencing all three.
What makes alcohol hallucinations unique is that the person is fully conscious and cannot differentiate between the hallucination and real life. Plus, they can even happen to someone who is still actively drinking. These hallucinations are almost always negative and fearful for the person struggling with them. They often feel as though their hallucinations are commanding them to do something they describe as bad. Having someone around to help in this situation can make going through the experience far less traumatic.
This is when someone hears something that is not there. Think of it as the voice in your head, but in this case, the voice is not your own. It may tell you that you need another drink, or it may tell you that the sky is purple. Some people going through auditory hallucinations may also hear music or hear something that seems as though it is coming from another room. Each person will hear something different, but outsiders will not be able to hear anything.
In this case, the person going through alcohol withdrawals sees things that no one else can see. This may be seeing something benign like walking through a park, or something more terrifying like walking through a horror movie. Most people have frightening visual hallucinations
To many people, tactile hallucinations are the worst ones to go through. There is very little that can be done to make them stop in most instances, other than trying to prevent them in the first place. A tactile hallucination is when you feel something that is not actually happening. This could be an itch that simply will not go away, feeling like a body part is numb, or a burning feeling. Many have talked about feeling something under their skin that would not go away when having a tactile hallucination.
In most instances, if a person struggles with a severe case of alcohol withdrawal hallucinations, medication will be the best option. Most physicians, alcohol detox facilities, and rehabs will turn to the medication family known as benzodiazepines since they can help the person’s body calm down. Some of the most common medications prescribed to treat these hallucinations include:
There are quite a few things that could lead to alcohol withdrawal hallucinations. Typically, most people experience them when they suddenly stop drinking alcohol. Your body becomes so accustomed to the alcohol being there, when you take it away it can revolt to some degree. If your body was accustomed to a large quantity of alcohol, the revolt will be harsher in most instances. To suddenly take away something your body believes it requires to sustain life can lead your body to break down. This can show up in the form of hallucinations or even alcohol-induced psychosis.
Being sick or sustaining a head injury while going through alcohol withdrawals could also result in hallucinations. However, those are typically easier to manage and go away on their own more quickly. If you do not eat enough while removing alcohol from your regimen, it can also trigger hallucinations. Thankfully, by eating proper quantities of food, many of these risks decrease.
Here at Compass Detox, we understand the risks associated with giving up alcohol. We understand that you may be reluctant to do so because of the fears you have. Instead of letting fear dictate your future, call on us for help. We know how to help manage your symptoms and guide you through the process of giving up alcohol and successfully adapting to a sober lifestyle. You can make it through the process, as we are here with you, every step of the way.