Alcohol is used as a social lubricant. For many, it is a form of self-medication, and it is used for blocking pain and dealing with emotions.  However, what society and the media fail to tell you is there are many drawbacks associated with this so-called “acceptable” way to deal with life.  For one thing, alcohol addiction is a mental, physical, spiritual disease that may arise once an unhealthy connection to alcohol has been established.  Alcoholism wreaks havoc on your body and then later on, if you make the decision to heal from the disease and get sober, there will be another battle that you have to face.  After you have been addicted to alcohol for a long time, you might possibly have alcohol withdrawal symptoms once you quit.  Alcohol withdrawal is the response your body makes to eliminate alcohol, which is a toxic substance.  So what can you expect from the alcohol withdrawal process, and what can you do to manage it? Keep reading to find out what to do.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms    

The frequency and amount of alcohol that you drink will determine when and how your alcohol withdrawal will start. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will range in severity from slightly uncomfortable up to being medically unsafe.  If there are any other medical problems that are present as well, you could have more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  The National Institutes of Health reports that withdrawal symptoms may start to occur as soon as 8 hours after having your last drink, but they can also happen several days later.  The peak of alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur one to three days following the last drink but can continue for weeks after that.

The following is a list of many of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • Delirium tremens
  • Dehydration
  • Clammy skin
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Shakiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

How to deal with alcohol withdrawal

If you are considering quitting drink, then it is always a good idea to get assistance.  Addiction can be a very isolating disease that has many bumps in the road and insecurities along the way.  If there is one thing that I could change about my experience, I would have asked for help.  I wish I hadn’t tried doing it alone.  Also, detoxing from alcohol potentially can be very dangerous and a professional should monitor you.

Treatment might include monitoring hydration levels, blood levels, heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and even sedation if you are experiencing severe withdrawals.  Medications or fluids can be given by IV into the vein.  The aim of treatment is making you more comfortable and easing withdrawal symptoms.

After your body stops receiving alcohol, it might go into shock.  Whenever alcohol is stopped or reduced, what was contained previously inside of the glutamate system rebounds naturally and quickly, which causes adverse effects on the body and brain.  That is when withdrawal symptoms might begin.  Some withdrawal symptoms are the opposite effects that alcohol has on an individual when consuming it.  However, there isn’t one answer that fits everyone in terms of how severe alcohol withdrawal will be or how long it will last.

The following is a typical alcohol withdrawal timeline:

Six to 12 hours following the last drink:

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Low-level anxiety or stress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hand tremors

Twelve to 48 hours following the last drink:

  • Seizures
  • Physical, audio, or visual hallucinations

Forty-eight to 72 hours following the last drink:

  • Sweating
  • Increased temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate
  • Disorientation
  • Delirium tremens (depending on how severe the alcohol use was)

Alcohol withdrawal is spiritually, physically, and mentally exhausting.  That is why going to a certified addiction treatment center or other types of medical facilities such as a clinic or hospital is the best option.  It can be difficult to face alcohol withdrawal as the first step towards sobriety and your safety and health are critically important as part of this process.

The following are some of the practical steps that you can take to help you deal with alcohol withdrawal:

  • Reach out for kind words and advice from your support system
  • Keep in mind that the pain is only temporary and you will make it through
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Take cold showers
  • Find hobbies
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Drink plenty of fluids

Keep in mind that alcohol withdrawal is only one brief step on the road to recovery.  It is possible to have a complete recovery, but if you return to alcohol it could result in having a higher risk of damaging your nervous system, heart, and liver.  It is possible to get through the withdrawal process and it will result in the best time of your life.  It isn’t easy getting sober and is different and new. On some days it can be very uncomfortable.  It is courageous and brave to battle through your addiction and become sober.  Keep that in mind and continue fighting through your alcohol withdrawals so you can get to the other side.  There have thousands of people that have done this already and you can as well.


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