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:
Since alcohol withdrawal can be rough on your body, it is best to have an idea of things to do to keep your heart rate and blood pressure down. Make a list before even going to alcohol detox or rehab, if you can.
What Types of Symptoms Often Accompany Alcohol Withdrawals?
While the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary greatly between individuals, there are some common effects that many people experience. Here are some of the more common effects that come with stopping the consumption of alcohol.
Headaches that range from mild to migraine-like
Anxiety that can range from a slight nuisance to all-encompassing
Struggles with getting to sleep or staying asleep
Stomach upset, which may also include diarrhea and/or vomiting
Hallucinations can happen in anyone, but typically happen with those who have consumed considerable amounts of alcohol in their lifetime
Sweating that does not seem to stop even when the person cools off
Mild shakes that can make sitting still difficult
Most symptoms of alcohol withdrawal begin by the time the person hits 24 hours without a drink. In most cases, these symptoms subside within 5-7 days. However, in some of the more serious instances, these effects can go on for much longer. Some patients have actually struggled with some of these symptoms for weeks after their last drink.
When cutting alcohol out of your life, it can lead to a wide array of symptoms. Your body becomes dependent on the alcohol over time. Taking that alcohol away means your body is going to have to readjust. Many people struggle with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. That is why going to an alcohol detox facility or rehabilitation facility to stop using or abusing alcohol is so important. If you want to get over an alcohol addiction, we are here to help. Here are some of the most important things to know about alcohol withdrawal.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal a person faces is going to be as unique as the person giving up alcohol. Each person’s journey through alcohol detox will depend on many different factors. These include:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.