Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Over Time

Alcohol abuse impacts millions of lives each year and can result in death from overconsumption or by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. If you or a loved one struggle with an alcohol abuse problem, understanding the most common withdrawal signs and symptoms is a must, whether you want to make positive changes to your current lifestyle or if you simply wish to understand how alcohol addiction works in the body and mind over time.

Not All Alcohol Addictions Are Equal

Not all addictions to alcohol manifest themselves in the same way among everyone who consumes alcohol. A substance abuse problem or addiction to alcohol can take months, years, or even decades to become extreme, often depending on the individual who is consuming the alcohol along with their genetic makeup and surrounding environmental factors. An alcohol substance abuse problem or addiction can be as simple as feeling the need to drink a few times a week to drinking each morning, noon, and night with total disregard to your consumption levels and how you are impacted by the consumption of alcohol. Some of the most common alcohol withdrawal signs and symptoms include:

6-12 Hours Post-Ingestion of Alcohol:

  • Anxiety/Increased Stress
  • Irritability/Agitation/
  • Unexplained Headaches
  • Tremors/Shakiness in the Hands/Extremities
  • Nausea/Vomiting (Often from overconsumption of alcohol or alcohol poisoning)

12-24 Hours Post Ingestion of Alcohol:

After consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, an individual is likely to experience the following 12-24 hours after initial consumption began:

  • Tremors/Shakiness in the arms/hands/extremities
  • Feelings of disorientation are extremely common after consuming a massive quantity of alcohol
  • Individuals with a severe addiction to alcohol are much more prone to experiencing seizures

48 Hours After the Ingestion of Alcohol

The body requires plenty of time to clean and detoxify itself from the consumption of alcohol(among other items and ingredients). As the liver and kidneys begin working overtime following an alcohol binge, individuals are still at risk for developing alcohol withdrawal signs and symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms that arise in individuals even 48 hours post-ingestion of alcohol include:

  • Seizures (Especially in binge drinking cases)
  • Comas (Due to overconsumption of alcohol or alcohol poisoning)
  • Extremely High Blood Pressure
  • Extreme Sweating (Unexplained bouts of sweating)
  • High Fever
  • Delirious Actions and Feelings of Being Delirious
  • Visual/Auditory Hallucinations are possible in extreme alcohol consumption cases

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms often present themselves in individuals who have severe and extreme addictions to drinking alcohol and are overconsuming alcohol each day (without breaks during the week). As substance abuse or addiction to alcohol develops and becomes more serious, individuals who consume alcohol not only become mentally and emotionally attached to alcohol, but they also begin to develop a physical dependency on the substance. Physical dependency on alcohol can quickly spiral out of control in the body and brain, leading to acute alcohol withdrawal when an individual chooses to quit drinking and consuming alcohol altogether “cold turkey” and without the help and assistance of professionals.

Individuals who have a serious addiction to alcohol should not quit consuming the substance immediately, even if they are feeling motivated and dedicated to living a life of sobriety. Those who have extreme addictions and dependencies with alcohol have a much greater risk of experiencing a loss of consciousness, delirium, seizures, coma, and even death upon quitting suddenly and without proper medical supervision.

PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

After the initial alcohol withdrawal symptoms have subsided, some people may experience prolonged side effects due to the buildup of alcohol in the body and brain. This is known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome involves withdrawal symptoms that occur after an acute withdrawal attack and can make post-treatment life challenging for some individuals. Depending on the severity of your alcohol abuse, PAWS can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year.

Overcoming a substance abuse problem or addiction is not a simplistic process. It requires the commitment and dedication of individuals who choose to live a life of sobriety. Treating a substance abuse problem or addiction of any kind simply never ends, it only changes based on the needs of the individual who is tempted to use and abuse substances. Understanding the long-term side effects of withdrawing from alcohol is essential whether you or a loved one you know wants to make a truly positive change for the future.

Common symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Increased Agitation/Irritability
  • Unexplained Emotional Outbursts/Inability to Maintain Emotions at All Times
  • Increased Insomnia/Oversleeping Issues
  • Extreme Fatigue That is Not Similar to Feeling Traditionally Tired
  • Dizziness/Loss of Balance/Nausea
  • Delayed Reflexes and Ability to Respond to Surroundings
  • Cognitive Impairment/Long/Short-Term Memory Issues
  • Increased Clumsiness/Accident Proneness
  • Anxiety and Depression

Seeking Help for Alcohol Addiction or Substance Abuse

Getting the help necessary to overcome an alcohol addiction or substance abuse problem is not always simplistic and straightforward. With inpatient, intensive outpatient, and outpatient rehabilitation programs to choose from, selecting the right location can ultimately play a major role in your recovery process. Understanding your own needs when it comes to selecting inpatient or outpatient care is imperative to avoid enrolling in a program that is simply not meeting your current needs and demands or is simply not relevant to the severity of your alcohol abuse problem. Consider attending individual therapy sessions and group meetings for alcoholics (AA/Alcoholics Anonymous) to learn more about resources available near you that are most fitting for your current way of life and the struggles you face with alcohol each day.

Understanding the potential severity of alcohol addiction and substance abuse is essential whether you are concerned for your own wellbeing or if you want to help a friend or loved one overcome their own substance abuse struggle. When you have a complete and thorough understanding of the destruction alcohol can cause, make positive choices for your life and the lives of close friends and loved ones to prevent them from experiencing withdrawal signs and symptoms that can quickly become exhausting and overwhelming. With the right perspective on alcohol abuse, avoid feeling defeated or incapable of turning your life around once you have made the decision to stop using and consuming alcohol altogether.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and need help, call St John’s Recovery Place today. Our facility offers a medical detox, along with inpatient residential care. Our admissions staff are available to give you guidance on the best options available for your path to recovery.

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