After many years of heavy drinking, a person's body can become chemically dependent on the regular intake of alcohol. Unfortunately, this makes recovering from alcoholism especially difficult for long-time users. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, even life threatening. In order to successfully quit drinking, it is recommended that users consult with a medical professional to assist them with the process. |
Withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on a person's regular alcohol intake and the duration of time they have been dependent. Additionally, symptoms can be both psychological and physical.
When detoxifying, users may experience any or all of the following psychological symptoms: o Crankiness/irritability o Anxiety/nervousness o Insomnia o Disorientation o Difficulty concentrating o Depression o Hallucinations/delirium
In addition to psychological symptoms, users may experience the following physical symptoms concurrently: o Sweating o Headache o Nausea/vomiting o Sensitivity to light and sound o Tremors o Fever
These initial symptoms typically intensify and then diminish within the first 24 to 48 hours after a user's last intake of alcohol.
Delirium tremens, or DT, is the most severe condition that can result from alcohol withdrawal. Approximately 5% of patients undergoing withdrawal experience DT within 2 to 4 days after being "dry." Symptoms associated with this condition include: severe agitation, tremors, persistent hallucinations, and increases in heart rate, breathing rate, pulse, and blood pressure. Without treatment, DT may be life threatening.
In order to ensure a safe withdrawal, users should seek medical treatment. Alcohol withdrawal patients can be treated safely and effectively at a local hospital, a rehabilitation facility, or on an ambulatory basis. Depending on a patient's history, it may be necessary for them to check-in to an inpatient treatment facility.
If you or your loved one has attempted withdrawal several times, a history of severe withdrawals, recently consumed large quantities of alcohol, is pregnant, or does not have s strong support network, inpatient rehabilitation may be their best option.
Once in a treatment facility, pharmaceutical drugs are used to assist with the process of relieving withdrawal symptoms and promoting detoxification. Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms are related to the body's autonomic nervous system, the use of Benzodiazepines, a group of sedatives, is common to alleviate patients' psychological stress. Occasionally, antiseizure treatments are also used to prevent convulsions, which are one of the most dangerous side-effects of detoxification.
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