Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal – Treatment, Causes, Timeline & Dangers

When you make the decision to stop drinking, either gradually or suddenly, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal. While the exact symptoms of withdrawal will be different depending on the severity and longevity of addiction, there are some commonalities for withdrawal. Understanding the symptoms of withdrawal can help you prepare for the journey ahead. Keep reading to learn more about alcohol withdrawals and what to expect during the process.

What causes alcohol withdrawal?

Prolonged use of alcohol or alcohol abuse alters the brain’s chemistry. When copious amounts of alcohol are present or alcohol is used in high volumes, the body has to adapt. The mind adjusts to a new “normal” state with alcohol present. Once alcohol is removed, the body has to readjust to a new state of normal.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): Symptoms, Treatment & Types

When most people think of drug and alcohol withdrawal, they probably picture the initial withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person stops using drugs or alcohol and undergoes the detox process. While these initial withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and intense, another form of withdrawal comes later. According to the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, a second form of withdrawal, called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), includes symptoms that occur for several weeks or even months after a person stops using drugs and alcohol. Other names for this condition include post-withdrawal syndrome, prolonged withdrawal syndrome, or protracted withdrawal syndrome, and it most often occurs with alcohol, benzodiazepine, and opiate abuse.

Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may vary based upon the substance from which a person is withdrawing. According to a report in CNS Drugs, post-acute withdrawal syndrome for alcohol typically involves the following symptoms:

Identifying Signs of Addiction in a Loved One

Has it ever seemed to you that something wasn’t quite right with your loved one? Were you unsure what the problem was? There are many possibilities in life when things are off with a person, but if you suspect addiction, the following can help you identify signs of addiction in a loved one so that help can be attained for them.

First, it’s essential to define what addiction is. People with addiction engage in compulsive behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, that can be harmful to them in many ways. Damage can come in all forms. Physical, emotional, mental, and financial. This lifestyle can cause their relationships to fall apart, even with the ones they care about the most. Addiction is a chronic state of desire for a substance or action that they must have, at the expense of all else in life. All people are susceptible; no one is exempt.

Alcohol Use Disorder (Alcoholism): Signs, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Prevalence, Consequences, Diagnosis & Treatment

Alcohol consumption is common in the United States. In fact, according to data reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 86.3 percent of adults in the United States have consumed alcohol during their lives, and just over half had consumed alcohol within the previous month, as of 2018.

While drinking a glass of wine with dinner or occasionally going out for a drink can be part of a healthy lifestyle, some people may drink excessively, which can become problematic. In 2018, 26.5 percent of American adults reported binge drinking within a given month, and nearly 7 percent admitted to drinking heavily, which experts define as five or more instances of binge drinking in a month.

Binging and drinking heavily may be socially acceptable in American culture, but they are concerning from a public health standpoint. People who continuously engage in heavy drinking are at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, which is the term professionals use to describe a diagnosable alcohol addiction. Such a condition can have significant consequences and requires professional intervention.

Symptoms & Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol detox can be just as frightening as alcoholism. For those who suffer from severe alcohol use disorders and alcohol dependency, getting sober can seem like an up-hill battle. Alcohol detox is an intense and often uncomfortable process, and withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. However, making the decision to stop drinking is a great first step towards recovery.

While alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, it is possible to safely detox from alcohol. The timeline and symptoms of alcohol detox vary by individual, but there are three common stages. Detoxing from alcohol in a medically-supervised environment can be a safe and effective way to get sober and avoid deadly withdrawal symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about the stages of alcohol detox and how to safely maneuver through alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Alcohol Tremors “The Shakes”: Fast Facts, Causes and Treatment

In moderation, alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Government guidelines define moderate alcohol consumption as one daily alcoholic beverage for women, and up to two drinks per day for men. Excessive alcohol use, on the other hand, can become problematic and lead to an alcohol addiction, which professionals call an alcohol use disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, (DSM-5) describes the signs of an alcohol use disorder. These include symptoms such as cravings for alcohol, difficulty cutting down on drinking, and continuing to drink, even when it causes problems with work or family. Another sign of an alcohol use disorder is experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when alcohol begins to leave the body. One such withdrawal symptom is tremors, or “the shakes.”

Here’s Why Alcohol Withdrawal Can Be Deadly

There is a lot of information circulating about alcohol detox and withdrawal symptoms. The jumble of details can be confusing for those dealing with an alcohol use disorder and their loved ones. Alcohol abuse is dangerous, damages the body, and impacts a person’s entire life. Detoxing from alcohol is a necessary first step towards recovery and sobriety. However, alcohol detox can also lead to withdrawal. For the most part, alcohol withdrawal is uncomfortable and difficult, but not deadly. There is no way for someone to know how their body will handle alcohol detox unless they consult a doctor, though. Some people with alcohol use disorders are at a higher risk for delirium tremens and potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms. With proper care and medically-supervised treatment, the effects of alcohol withdrawal can be minimized in a safe environment. Keep reading to learn why alcohol withdrawal can be deadly and how to safely detox from alcohol.

Alcoholism Fast Facts: What is it, Side Effects, Treatment Options & How to Help

Alcohol use disorders occur at varying levels of severity, and alcohol abuse can cause serious problems in a person’s daily life. Substance abuse can graduate to dependence when drinking habits become out of control, putting someone’s physical and mental health at risk even more. Alcohol use disorders can build up over many years or become severe in much shorter timeframes. No two people experience alcohol abuse and the effects of alcoholism the same.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism, it can be difficult to understand the impact substance abuse has on a person’s life. From defining alcoholism and dependence to learning the symptoms of withdrawal, alcoholism can be scary and dangerous for all involved. Keep reading to learn more about alcohol dependence, including treatment options.

5 Things That Make Alcohol Withdrawal Dangerous: What Happens?

Alcohol dependence occurs in one out of every 12 adults in America. As the most-used addictive substance in the United States, a dependence on alcohol can be very dangerous and affect a wide range of people. When someone is unable to control their drinking habits, they develop an alcohol use disorder.

As alcohol abuse progresses and a tolerance is built up, it takes larger quantities of alcohol to achieve a similar effect. Alcohol dependence occurs when someone experiences cravings for alcohol or withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. While alcohol detox is a necessary part of the recovery process for alcohol use disorders, alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous.

People attempting to detox from alcohol should not go through the process alone. Medical supervision can help protect patients as they experience withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening if handled without proper treatment. Keep reading to learn the top five reasons why alcohol withdrawal is dangerous.

Delirium Tremens (DTs): Symptoms, Causes, Duration, and Treatment

Alcohol use is common in the United States, with slightly over half of adults indicating they had consumed an alcoholic beverage during the past month as of 2018. What is less common, however, is alcohol addiction and its consequences, as roughly 6 percent of adults in the United States have a diagnosable addiction called an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Ongoing alcohol abuse and addiction can lead to significant consequences, such as health problems, serious injuries, and difficulty functioning in work or family life. Another consequence of alcohol abuse is dependence, meaning that the body does not function well without alcohol. When a person who develops an alcohol dependence stops drinking, he or she will typically experience withdrawal. One serious form of withdrawal, called delirium tremens, can be fatal; however, proper medical care can prevent complications from delirium tremens and allow those living with alcohol addictions to participate in ongoing treatment to achieve lasting sobriety.